10 bedroom ideas for renters - how to make a rented bedroom look pretty without losing your deposit

Add flair and personality that is completely reversible

Green pattern lamp in white bedroom
(Image credit: Future PLC / Katie Lee)

Bedroom ideas for renters are my speciality as an interiors writer. After 10 years as a renter there aren't many hacks for decorating a rental property I don't know about. However, bedroom ideas are where I thrive as seven of my renter years were spent in house shares where my bedroom was the only part of the house I had total control over.

If you've moved into a flat with friend or found your home via Spare room you will know what I mean. Why you can make your style choices felt in other rooms in the house, your bedroom is where you get free rein to express yourself. But then you have that small obstacle of not losing your deposit...

However, over the years I've learnt that bedrooms are one of the easiest spaces to personalise as a renter. Along with advice from some interior experts, I've rounded up the best ways I've found to bring your bedroom ideas to life in a rental that are completely reversible.

Bedroom ideas for renters

As a renter one of the main things that annoys me in articles like this one if 1. overlooking that most city rentals come furnished, 2. paint is a no-go and 3. your budget is likely tight if you're saving for your first-home.

I've lived in fully furnished blank boxes and part furnished properties with rogue statement walls I've had to learn to love. So I've taken all these possibilities into account to curate a list of ideas that will make the biggest difference on a budget.

1. Add a headboard

Blue scalloped headboard on bed

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Headboard ideas are a game-changer in any bedroom, but especially in a rented bedroom. If your landlord doesn't let you hang anything on the walls there are several beautiful free-standing options to invest in. I picked up a freestanding cane headboard on eBay for just over £100, but I'd also recommend keeping an eye on the La Redoute or Dunelm sales for them.

Alternatively, you can try out some DIY headboard ideas, this might be essential if the bed that came with the flat already has a headboard. If it's fabric see if you can drape a blanket, tapestry or similar over it, you can do this too if it is a wooden headboard. But another easy DIY project idea is to tie a bench cushion to it to mimic a fancier headboard.

2. Embrace a valance

Colbalt blue valance

(Image credit: The Secret Linen Store)

One thing I've come to embrace as a renter is the art of digging into the interior design archives to unearth smart hacks for updating unsightly furniture. A valance is one of those things I found handy to resurrect from the 90s to make a bed in a rental look that bit chicer.

Molly Freshwater, co-founder and creative director at Secret Linen Store is in agreement that this piece of bedding is worth a revival. 'Whether you’ve inherited a divan bed frame (which is not the prettiest of bedroom furniture items) or simply need to disguise the storage boxes under your bed: never fear, we have valances here.

'Either colour drench your bed by choosing a valance that matches your bed linen or why not make a stripey statement that shouts style? I love love love the contrast of the different size stripes on our new Cobalt Cora Stripe Bed Linen. The bright blue is absolutely beautiful, while the stripes create interest.'

3. Be bold with bedding

Neutral bedroom with plastered walls and bed dressed in layers of textured bedding

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

If you ask very nicely your landlord might, might let you paint the walls. However, with the unpredictability of rising rents I completely understand why the idea of loosing a day to painting somewhere you might not be in 12 months is off putting, but that is where bedding comes in as you can guarantee it will be coming with you.

Forget trying to make your room look like a hotel with white bedding, especially if the rest of the room is painted in neutral shades. Choose colour and texture, then layer up the blankets and cushions.

My favourite bedding trend at the moment is for mismatched bedding, particularly striped bedding. If you're not ready to take the plunge with colour, a natural stripe or muted blush can be enough to add warmth and personality to your bedroom ideas for a rental.

4. Swap out the curtains

White and pink stripe curtains

(Image credit: Hilarys)

Another easy swap is bedroom curtains, you will need storage space to put the existing curtains, but bedroom curtain ideas can make a huge difference in adding colour and pattern to a room.

'If you have neutral walls and carpets in your home, adding pops of colour and pattern with your window dressings is such an easy way liven up a space,' explains Yvonne Keal, Trend and Interiors Expert at Hillarys.

Plus if your household insulation or soundproofing isn't the best, this is the perfect opportunity to sort that out too. I swapped the curtains in my bedroom to the Luna Brushed Blackout Blinds, from £28 at Dunelm, and they transformed the look of the room.

If you only have a blind you can still add the softness of curtains with the aid of a tension rod like this no-drill rod for £25 at Dunelm.

5. Layer rugs

Blue rug in white bedroom with blue bedding

(Image credit: Ruggable)

If you have been blessed with hard wood floors in your rental, I'm jealous, and pairing them with a rug should be a no-brainer for you bedroom floor ideas. However good news is rugs are also amazing at covering hideous carpets too!

If your rental property carpet is plain, or not to your taste, rugs are a great way to introduce patterns and colours that you love to your bedroom, ' agrees Cassie Leisz, Creative Director at Ruggable.

'Placing a rug over carpet works best on a lower pile carpet, like a loop texture. If you have a higher pile carpet in your home, we recommend using a rug pad or carpet tape to ensure the rug securely stays in place.'

'When choosing the right rug size for your bedroom, start with the size of your bed, and then evaluate the size of your room. Placing a large area rug under the bed is the most common layout, creating a focal point of the room. We recommend placing the rug about a quarter of the way past the headboard. This way, your nightstands don’t sit on the rug, but your feet will easily land there when getting out of bed.'

6. Add a leaning mirror

Ribbed Wavy Full Length Leaner Mirror

(Image credit: Dunelm)

Bedroom mirror ideas are your biggest friend as a renter. The number of available leaning mirrors you can buy seems to be getting bigger by the da. Whether you adore the Instagram wavy mirror trend or would like to add a little architectural interest to your room with an arch mirror take this as your sign to invest.

You don't need to stick to a standard mirror placement by a wardrobe either. Positioned behind bedroom plant ideas or a bedside table they can transform the look of a room by bouncing light around and making a small bedroom look bigger.

7. Upcycle a lampshade

Green pattern lamp in white bedroom

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Bedroom lighting ideas should be next on your hit list of things that are easy to switch up in a rented bedroom. M&S has a gorgeous collection of table and floor lamps to add a little splash of colour to a room.

However, if you're working on a tighter budget you can add a dash of pattern by recovering an old lampshade with a wallpaper sample. Chelsea Clark, Head of Brand at Lust Home used some of the brand's leftover wallpaper to do this.

'Consider the style of lampshade you are aiming for, and how much light you want to come through, for example, a darker paper won’t let as much light through, whereas a lighter print will reflect more light,' she recommends.

'Consider the size of the lampshade when choosing a design. A larger lampshade may work better with a larger print, whereas a smaller lampshade may look better with a smaller-scale pattern.

'Before committing to a design, test out a small piece on the lampshade to see how it looks with the theme of the room, and when it’s turned on.'

8. Install wall art with command strips

White painted bedroom with wall art above bed and grey bedding

(Image credit: Future PLC / David Cleveland)

This is a go-to if your looking for an easy way to decorate walls in a rental. Command strips aren't cheap and work best with small, light frames so do bear this in mind when deciding what you want to hang.

Make sure you follow the instructions to ensure they work properly. In my experience I've had the most success hanging a larger canvas or framed posters with either the command universal stick nail, or command picture hanger. You can pick up a command fixing kit assortment for £13.49 on Amazon, which should have everything you need to bring your bedroom wall art ideas to life in a rental.

9. Update furniture with removable wallpaper

A patterned green chest of drawers in a white-painted room

(Image credit: Future PLC/Joanna Henderson)

Removable wallpaper or contact paper can be used to jazz up basic landlord supplied furniture as well as walls. If you've been left a plain white IKEA chest of drawers or a built-in dreary wardrobe then sticky back vinyl is ideal for perking it up.

The cost of self-adhesive paper or vinyl can get steep considering, you will just be peeling it off and binning it at the end of tenancy. This is why I'd recommend keeping it to a small area that will make the biggest impact, and to carefully cost up how much you'll need first before committing to recovering anything.

10. Fake wall panelling

Bedroom with wall panelling, artwork, armchair and wall light

(Image credit: Future PLC / Chris Snook/ @design_at_nineteen)

If you're desperate to add some bedroom wall panelling ideas to your space the good news is they're surprisingly easy to add to a rental property. You can take the simple approach and invest in some thin wooden batons and use command strips to attach them to the wall.

Alternatively, you can achieve a bolder design by mounting the wall panelling to a thin piece of MDF first that you can then paint. The plus side of this is that if you are allowed to lightly tack things to your walls there will be less holes to fill in at the end of your tenancy, and you can even take it away to your next home.


How can I make my rented bedroom look nice?

The key to making a rented bedroom look nice is personalising it to you. My immediate quick fixes would be to invest in pretty bedding, lean wall art against the wall on any surface, switch out the curtains and add in some greenery through houseplants and flowers.

If you are in an unfurnished flat you can add plenty of flair through your furniture choices. Consider trying out some IKEA hacks to get a high-end bespoke look on a budget. However, if you are in a furnished property your best solution is to look into ways to cover unsightly furniture with tablecloths or removable vinyl wraps.

How do I make my rental bedroom cosy?

If you're looking for instant cosy bedroom ideas then you need to look to your lighting and bedding. Adding in eye-level lighting through table and floor lights will instantly make a space feel cosier. The next step is to layer up texture on the bedding through cushions and throws. If you're lucky enough to have space for a bedroom chair, then layer that up to with blankets and such ready to snuggle into with a book.

Rebecca Knight
Deputy Editor, Digital

Rebecca Knight has been the Deputy Editor on the Ideal Home Website since 2022. She graduated with a Masters degree in magazine journalism from City, University of London in 2018, before starting her journalism career as a staff writer on women's weekly magazines. She fell into the world of homes and interiors after joining the Ideal Home website team in 2019 as a Digital Writer. In 2020 she moved into position of Homes News Editor working across Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, Gardeningetc and Ideal Home covering everything from the latest viral cleaning hack to the next big interior trend.