6 Ways to Upgrade Your Bedroom: Renter-Friendly Edition

February 21, 2024

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Our bedroom changed a lot when we painted it and added trim, but not everyone can make big changes to their rooms. I wanted to put together a quick reference tool for when you’re in a busy season of life and want an easy update. Or perhaps your landlord isn’t keen on paint rollers! Here are six categories that I think can make the most difference in creating a bedroom with “wow” factor — whether you’re a renter or not.

Chris Loves Julia | 6 Ways to Upgrade Your Bedroom: Renter-Friendly Edition

Canopy Bed | Velvet Bench (similar) | Rug | Bedding | Shams | Faux Tree | Nightstands (similar)


Now is a great time to start collecting pieces that you love. You want your bedroom to feel like it’s a curation of your favorite pieces. If budget is a concern, then one way to save is to simply buy a headboard instead of an entire bed. Also, apartments often have lower ceilings, and a bed that is lower to the ground will make your room feel larger. So consider skipping the box spring in lieu of a slat rail. Or go with a platform bed. We lived in a house that had 8-foot ceilings for years, and as really tall people, I always struggled with my ceilings feeling so short. When we lowered our bed, I felt like we were at the spa. Sure, my bed was lower, but it made the room feel larger.

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Lamps are one of my biggest musts for bedrooms. Please don’t turn on your overhead lighting! Every room should have 2-3 sources of light. In a bedroom, you’re going to want a table lamp on your nightstands for that cozy, wind-down effect. Then if you have a little chair in your bedroom, you can put a floor lamp next to it as well. This bounces light throughout the room and makes it feel really welcoming.

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Area Rugs

I’m a big proponent of area rugs in any room — even over wall-to-wall carpet! They just add so much dimension to the room. In fact, I found a specific rug pad that is meant for area rugs over carpet that keeps it from bunching. Since many rugs and rooms are relatively standard sizes, you can easily take these to go with you if you ever move homes. This is also great in playrooms and children’s bedrooms, where a little extra padding helps cushion any falls by mini ninja warriors.

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You really don’t have to wait for your “forever home” to get nice bedding. There, I’ve given you my permission! Lovely bedding will make a difference in how the room feels and functions night to night. It’s also helpful to get an oversized duvet cover compared to your bed size. If you have a queen bed, go for a king-sized duvet and duvet insert. If you have a king bed, some retailers do make oversized king bedding, but it’s harder to find. So I usually look at the measurements—there’s quite a range out there for king bedding, and I’ve found that higher-end bedding retailers often have more generous sizes. We have had great luck with Boll & Branch: You are going to get what you pay for for bedding. And if you took the tip above to lower your bed, the oversized bedding will naturally drape lower as well, which helps the overall look.

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Chris Loves Julia | 6 Ways to Upgrade Your Bedroom: Renter-Friendly Edition

Bedframe | Canopy | Pillows | Nightstand | Bunny Lamp


If you are able to install brackets and hang things on the wall, I would go for dramatic drapes. While there is a time and place for light and airy white linen curtains, I personally love the look of velvet curtains in bedrooms. They come in every color under the sun and give an extra blackout layer for improved sleep conditions. If you can’t paint your walls, there is so much drama in rich color curtains. They add a lovely hotel-like effect.

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Large Art

It may seem counterintuitive, but small spaces benefit from larger pieces of art. Especially in apartments that can be more compact, we often think small. That makes everything feel more cluttered. One tip to combat the cluttered feeling is to think larger. Go for one larger piece of art instead of a bunch of tiny pieces. Your space is actually going to feel bigger.

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I hope this helps inspire you to make your bedroom a calming, beautiful space. There’s no need to wait for the “perfect” place — your home is what you make of it now!

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What do you think?

  1. KC says:

    Any tips for making rugs over wall-to-wall carpet really work? Love the idea but sometimes it looks as though something is just… off.

  2. Samantha Crnokrak says:

    Being as I’ve just moved out for the first time into an apartment, this blog was everything I needed. Been going back and forth battling what I should spend more on or focus on to get that wow factor and this was just the type of information I needed for my to take my foot off the breaks, finally! Thank you for taking the time to thing what would really help people in all types of living situations

  3. LKB says:

    And some of us live in our homes for many (7!) years and our bedrooms still look like the day we moved into our college apartment. Sigh. I’ve promised myself that I’ll get an actual bed from when my elderly dog dies. That’s a good excuse for keeping the mattress on the floor for now, right? (It does make the room feel bigger!)

  4. Abby says:

    This was lovely! Thanks!

  5. Jess says:

    Some people choose to live in apartments their whole lives! Or they live in a city where buying isn’t viable. “Forever homes” and “perfect houses” CAN be an apartment!

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