10 Affordable Updates for your Rental Bedroom

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Does your rental bedroom look a little unloved? We’re heading to that most blissful of rooms with ten budget-friendly ways to dress it up…

Aztec Planter from Have You Met Miss Jones, available online at Zanui.

The rental lifestyle has its limitations, from finding a space big enough to swing a cat to schmoozing the leasing agent into surrending it to you, and, when you’re finally installed, trying to placate the crazy lady next door who believes you’re bashing on your shared wall with frozen goods in the wee hours. (Why?!?!?)

We feel your pain. But just because you’re renting doesn’t mean that you can’t decorate like you own it. Okay, you may have to make some concessions. But not these! We give you 10 budget-friendly ways you can transform your rental bedroom into your personal haven without raising your landlord’s wrath.

Love this look. Deep green foliage with organic timber textures and crisp white hues paired with hanging plants for chic industrial style. Images sourced L to R: bloglovin.com, remodelista.com, and rawdesignblog.blogspot.fi

Green goes with everything

Add natural elements to your night-time nook with some pot plants – create your own oasis. Think vertically. Trailing fronds work a treat. Opt for hanging planters like this divine Aztec Planter from Have You Met Miss Jones (above) or – the modern answer to the macramé hanger – these innovative twine-wrapped moss balls showcasing succulents, Devil’s Ivy, mini palms and more from Mister Moss.

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Mister Moss can be master of our domain anytime. We love these natural and high-voltage hues. Shop the collection online at Zanui.

Thumb too brown to achieve this look? Cheat with finely crafted artificial flowers and plants. Who’s to know? 🙂

Diversify your lighting for greater mood control 😉 Ahhh… Chandeliers never grow old! From L to R: howtodecorate.com and stylemepretty.com

Fine tune your lighting

Boudoirs beg subdued lighting. Craft a cosy ambience through a mix of table and standing lamps in addition to your overhead lighting. Add in candles, fairy lights, even a DIY Mason jar lantern if you will (instructions on how to make it found here).

DIY mason jar lighting – you know you want to. Click on the image to see our blog post on for the how-to.

Not sure how to marry different lighting sources? Read designer James Treble’s tips here.

Define your bedroom with a statement headboard… From L to R: brit.co and decoholic.

Give your room structure with a bed head

Add a little majesty to your mattress with a headboard. Opt for classic elegance with a plush upholstered style crafted from leather, linen or velvet for luxe textures. Instil rustic French provincial looks or work in Eastern influences with Moroccan design timberwork.

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Introduce the intricacy of Moroccan design with the Marrakesh White Bed Head, available online at Zanui. Or opt for your very own DIY timber headboard. Images sourced L ot R: Zanui and designsponge.com

Handy with a hammer and some 4x2s? Fashion your own from reclaimed timber like the one above here. Just don’t forget to treat it first. Sand, wax, stain, stencil… you’re done.

Transform a pair of crutches into intriguing shelving, co-opt concrete bricks to do your heavy work or rope in some sleek panels for picturesque shelving… Images sourced L to R: diyforlife.com, pinterest.com and brit.co

Install shelving for your books

We believe books are THE most beautiful décor accent. (Yep.) We love these DIY honeycomb shelves from A Beautiful Mess.

A DIY Honeycomb shelving system for those handy with tools and wood and a stylish screen for a little bit of privacy… Images sourced L to R: brit.co and luckyshops.com

Don’t want to destroy the walls with screw holes? Opt for a freestanding bookshelf. Or design your own with reclaimed timber + bricks + crates for an edgy industrial vibe.

Add a nightstand to suit your style. Images sourced L to R: bloglovin.com, stylemepretty.com and buzzfeed.com

Add in a nightstand

Whether you opt for enclosed storage or no, your bedside table is the nocturnal home for your paperback, specs, mobes, etc. Don’t go so low it’s dwarfed by your bed. Nor make it so you have to reach to switch off the light. Your bedside lamp should be at eye height for optimum viewing.

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From L to R: Classic Pot, Lilac by Pantone Universe by Serax, Paperbag Kiki Pot, XL from Serax, Classic Pot, Silver by Pantone Universe by Serax, Paperbag Kiki Pot, Small by Serax, and Classic Pot, Light Blue by Pantone Universe by Serax, available online at Zanui.

(NB Having a bedside lamp means you can get comfy in your duck-down quilt and slide straight into your zzzs without having to get out of bed to switch off the light. 40-60watts is ideal for reading.)

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The art of occasional seating… Images sourced from L to R: anangelatmytable.com, housebeautiful.co.uk and rosesandrustblogger.blogspot.com

Introduce occasional seating

A resting place for clothes you’ve recently shed, a sinking space so you can get your feet naked or just somewhere to sling your handbag(s), additional seating in your bedroom is a whole lot of win.

From L to R: Opal Armchair from JMH, Ripon Almond Armchair from Iniko, Spun Pink Occasional Chair by Soundslike HOME, Mossberg Grande Tub Armchair from Alliance Furniture, and Uta Walnut Armchair by Iniko available online at Zanui.

Opt for a slipper or armchair or even a mesh outdoor frame with a plush cushion if you’re not so spoilt for space. Grid-like designs that you can see through are space-enhancing.

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Banksy Girl Red Balloon Wall Decal by Campfire Graphics and Banksy Love Rat Wall Decal by Campfire Graphics, available online at Zanui.

Decorate your door jambs, fans, mirrors + under-shelving with decals

We’re fans of adding art for art’s sake and in unexpected, out-of-the-box spaces. There are an infinite number of designer decals out there that are ideal for renters. We love these Banksy ones because style.

Far left, Sphere Hanging Planter (Set of 6) by Rogue, available online at Zanui. Images sourced L to R: topinspired.com, luckyshops.com, and Zanui.

Alternatively create a casual gallery wall (no frames) with washi tape (see above). Or grab a polaroid camera and snap your besties + fam in candid moments. Peg them to twine or bunting for a personal touch!

The Palm Beach Collection, available online at Zanui.

Imbue it with fragrance

After all, every paradise deserves its own perfume. Grounding scents like lavender, sandalwood, camomile, jasmine and vanilla will smooth your journey to slumber. Sage smudging is also something to consider if you like the idea of cleansing your space of old energies.

Keep it clean

Bring in the big boys and steam your carpets. You don’t even want to know the history those bad boys contain. (Vom, right?) Got floorboards? Nicely done.

Landlord need not know… Images sourced L to R: blog.westelm.com and welovecatsandkittens.com

Install a pet

Because science isn’t always right. (Studies have proven that sharing your bed with your furry friends reduces your zz quality.) Or your very own human hot water bottle.

All that’s left is loads of cushions (pillow fight!) and throws. And that’s it. Tuck yourself in and you’re ready to…. zzzz…

Kay is a feature, blog and copywriter. She collects empty jam jars, academic degrees and tawdry dreams in the hopes of turning them into something useful someday. Her work has been published in ACP magazines, ABC fiction, Overland, Brittle Star, Seizure, trade publications and online forums. Her creative writing has won several awards.