decorate without natural light

Decorating any home has its own set of obstacles, but decorating a rental comes with even more roadblocks.

While there are more-and-more renter friendly decor items on the market, some landlords or managers are more particular about what they will allow in their units, and some temporary options may not be worth the expense if you are planning for a move at the end of your lease term.

One of the biggest obstacles renters come across when trying to make the rental their own is a lack of lighting. The biggest problem with living in a small space, an apartment complex, or a smaller rental can be the lack of natural light. Thankfully, there are special decor tips to ensure that you can decorate to ensure that your space doesn’t look like a dungeon.


Give Your Windows a Boost:

A lack of windows and natural lighting is obviously the single largest reason for a space to appear dim and uninviting. While you, unfortunately, won’t have the option to add another window to your unit, you can give the bit of natural light you do have a bit of a helping hand. Instead of blinds, opt for large drapes that will add height and depth to your room. To ensure a hefty amount of light is brought indoors, look for a white or cream colored curtain duo–one outer layer with blackout backing for privacy and heat retention, and one that is sheer and will diffuse as much light as possible throughout your home.


Brightening Furniture:

Aside from your walls, your furniture serves as the biggest feature in your living areas and will be large contributors to the appearance of your space. Dark furniture may be moody and have a great aesthetic on the showroom floor, but they may not be ideal in a poorly lit rental. Dress your rental appropriately. Just as every clothing item on the mannequin will not work for every size, some furniture will not work well in every room. Instead of picking the large chocolate leather sofa, consider opting instead for a more sleek and lighter option. White can be intimidating, but remember that a fitted couch cover can be washed (and bleached) which can mean staining is actually easier to remove than another option. If you’re still not convinced, a light grey can also brighten an otherwise dull-looking room, making it an airy and modern option.

For items like end tables, entertainment centers, and coffee tables, white is key. Consider painting items you may already own, for a fresh new look, and if you’re seeking to purchase a new item, look for white woods or cooling metallics with glass tabletops. This will prevent a deep wood item from trapping the little light in the room, and will visually open up the space.


Modern Accessorizing:

When done well, a bright and modern-looking room is achievable in spite of traditional furniture. If you can’t purchase new furniture right now, or you loathe to alter the furniture you currently possess, decor accessories can be your saving grace. White or cream throw blankets and pillows can add texture and cheer to a dull space, while your dark furniture can serve to visually anchor the room.

To further reflect the light and make your space feel larger, cover your current flooring with an expansive area rug. Unless you feel confident about your space, steer clear of more traditional options. Ornate rugs have their place elsewhere; though they are lovely to look at in a formal dining room, their conventionally rich color pallet can further darken an already dim room–doing both your room and the rug a disservice. Opt for lush white fur rugs, cowhide or simple white patterned rugs for a modern and airy feel. Not only will the addition of an area rug serve to bring together your desired aesthetic, but it will protect the rental’s carpets from stains and excessive wear and tear, meaning you will be more likely to get your security deposit back at the end of the tenancy.


Go Beyond Paint on the Walls:

You may not be able to paint, but you can put art on the wall! Use a damage-free art display option to hang your favorite painting or photo in an appropriate color pallet. Images containing vibrant colors or pastels will embolden a room while reflecting light. With large enough artwork or a gallery display, you could take your beige or off-white wall to new heights–not only combating a dark room but also adding character in the process.


Keeping your rental bright and welcoming doesn’t have to break the bank or be complicated. It simply requires a bit of forethought and some decorating magic to bring a dark room to life.