Rental Property Decoration on a Budget: Tips for Landlords

Did you know that roughly 50% of renters choose their rental apartment based on its design and size?

That’s why decoration is an essential element of the preparatory stage before you show a rental property. You need to think through every detail to create a welcoming atmosphere and impress potential tenants to rent out your property faster.

How to do that effectively without emptying your pockets?

Giving your rental a refresh doesn’t necessarily mean you must shell out the big bucks. And these budget-friendly property decorating ideas for landlords prove that.

Grab them all below. After that, there’s one bonus hack. It will save you lots of time and money from the long-term rental perspective.

A Landlord’s Guide on How to Decorate a Rental Property on a Budget

Consider the following rental property makeover suggestions that won’t drain your wallet.

Take care of flooring

Flooring… It must cost a fortune!

That’s what you might be thinking.

And that’s a common misconception among landlords. In practice, you can find some cost-effective flooring options to renovate your rental property and give it a fresher look:

  • Sheet vinyl (average cost: $1–$2 per sq ft)
  • Laminate (average cost: $3–$4 per sq ft)
  • Cork (average cost: $1–$3 per sq ft)
  • Linoleum (average cost: $2.50–$3.50 per sq ft)

In addition to the above variants, there is another option recommended by Witold Stawarz, CEO of Foter. He says:

“Landlords can save money on flooring with carpets costing less than one dollar per square foot, on average. A carpet may become a great piece of rental property decoration. It can bring softness to any interior, create a more inviting and comfortable atmosphere, and make a rental feel like home.

However, there are a few things to consider here. Carpets with lighter colors make a room look brighter and larger but show stains and dirt. Carpets with darker colors make stains less noticeable but make a room look smaller and more enclosed. On the other hand, they add warmth and coziness to the place. So, it’s up to you to decide.”

No rush, give it a reasonable thought and remember: good flooring is the number one method to add value to your rental property and make it more appealing for prospective tenants.

Keep it simple with furnishing

Furnishing or re-furnishing a rental home completely can be quite costly for a landlord. That’s why a more low-cost solution would be to opt for partial or minimal furnishing. Renters typically expect at least a basic set of furniture:

  • Table
  • Chairs
  • Kitchen furniture
  • Sofa
  • Wardrobe
  • Bed

However, depending on your ideal renter persona, you may add or remove some items from your furnished rental. For example, the decoration of your rental property will differ when you try to rent it out to a family moving in with their furniture and to a single tenant who wants an already furnished apartment. Quite often, some renters may prefer a fully furnished bedroom with a bed, a mattress, and bedding like mattress toppers, duvets, and pillows.

So, fully furnished or partially furnished rental property?

Your choice will largely depend on your target renters. But a general rule of thumb is to keep furnishing as simple as possible.

Work with the light

A smart combination of natural and artificial lights can help you transform your rental property without spending a dime. If only you know how to use those wisely.

It’s high time to open the blackout curtains you used to keep your room cool and let the light in for renters to see the beauty of your place.

If you wish to experiment with different sources of light, you may use table/floor lamps or string lights, for instance. They are quite affordable on Amazon, IKEA, or Home Depot. Don’t be afraid to mix various lamp sizes and pick light-colored lampshades to make your rental stylish and livable.

Now to the best part:

Use budget décor hacks for landlords such as adding gloss to furniture surfaces and installing mirrors to reflect more light and brighten the space up.

install mirrors to reflect more light


Make sure to avoid moody or dark furnishings and design colors. Speaking about the latter – move on to the next tactic.

Refresh the colors (whenever necessary)

Look around your rental property.

What about a fresh coat of paint?

Repainting is a rather cheap solution for landlords to improve the appeal of rental properties. You might need to repaint some or all of your rooms to attract more tenants and maximize your occupancy rates. For that, it’s better to stick to a neutral-looking color palette and avoid personalizing it per your specific tastes.

The top five neutral colors well-suited to rental properties are:

  • White
  • Beige
  • Gray
  • Ivory
  • Cream

Alternatively, you might want to peer into this list of the best paint colors for every room. It’s also worth knowing that a lighter color can make a room seem larger.

Add more greenery

Adding greenery is one of the inexpensive decorating tips for landlords. It can help you make your rental apartment cozy and cultivate a pleasant atmosphere for potential tenants.

Plants will breathe life into your rooms –  

  • For the corridor or entrance: potted plants by the doors
  • For the living room: shelf styling and wall plants
  • For the bedroom: purifying plants
  • For the kitchen: plants as centerpieces for dining tables
  • For the bathroom: air plants or planters with a drainage system
  • For the balcony: a small balcony garden with sun-loving plants or planters attached to the balcony railing

Where do you find cheap plants for your rental apartment?

You can spot inexpensive or sometimes even free plants at farmers’ markets or flea markets. On top of that, Freecycle and Craigslist are the two best sources to look for free plants.

Go with DIY decor

Despite being mentioned last, DIY decoration is by far the cheapest way to beautify your property for rent.

Got a couple of old or damaged hardcover books? Why not grow tiny gardens inside?

grow garden inside book


This way, you kill two birds with one stone: recycle your hardback books in your DIY project and decorate your rental property affordably.

Aside from that, you can make DIY clocks or other rental house decorations out of scrap materials. Check these examples of zero-dollar DIY décor made from old newspapers, scrap wood, leftover paint, rocks, discarded DVDs or CDs, etc.

repurposed cd wall art


Note: don’t go too far with your DIYs. Instead, try to keep a neutral style in everything. Neutrality in design allows renters to visualize themselves inside an apartment or house.

Bonus Tip for Landlords: Repair, Renovate, and Redecorate (Regularly!)

These are three obligatory Rs for any landlord to do on a regular basis. 

If you want to turn your place into a long-term rental property, you should make minimal investments in repairs, remodeling, and redecoration. That’s why it is also necessary to allot a budget for that beforehand when managing your rental property finances.

According to recent home repair cost statistics, 78% of homeowners are surprised at how expensive home repairs are.

But, the respondents also estimate that social media hacks helped them save as much as $1,190 on costly repairs. Likewise, you can turn to such social platforms as TikTok and YouTube to cut your rental repair costs with simplistic yet effective tips from users.

It’s also crucial to keep your property safe from hidden dangers and adhere to a consistent maintenance schedule. At this rate, you’ll be able to eliminate big problems that can break your bank in the future.

Affordable Rental Property Decoration: Summing Up

Congrats, you’re almost rent ready!

Transforming your property into a beautiful place to rent doesn’t have to be that expensive. You’ve got six cost-effective landlord tips for decorating a rental property:

  • Flooring
  • Furnishing
  • Lighting
  • Colors
  • Greenery
  • DIY décor

Don’t forget to do repairs and renovations systematically to maintain the excellent condition of your property. Try RentRedi, an online property management tool that can help you prioritize maintenance and repair requests and stay in close contact with your tenants.

Get started now to streamline your business and reduce your monthly management expenses.

Reader interactions

One Reply to “Rental Property Decoration on a Budget: Tips for Landlords”

  1. I certainly appreciate the value in your tips for furnishing and refurnishing rental units. However, all of mine are long-term and the occupants have their own furniture. I like plants the plants require upkeep. I would be afraid to put plants in a rental and require the tenants to care for them. Number one it would probably die and never to the tenant might not appreciate it and number three they can’t cause damage. So I don’t think that’s really a good idea for the interior. I would’ve liked to seen more outside landscaping ideas or cost saving utility ideas, non-expensive, safety, suggestions, and some additional comforts for the tenant without breaking the bank. Thank you very much for what you have provided.

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