baby stands in a crib looking at the wall decor in her nursery

Easy Ways to Decorate a Nursery in a Rental

I’ve been there! You’re expecting a new arrival soon but you live in a rental. You don’t want to go through all the hassle of painting walls or drilling big holes (quite possibly it goes against your rental agreement anyways). 

But your nesting instincts are kicking in full force. The need to prepare the perfect nursery before the baby arrives is bursting out of you – even more than your belly!

Take a deep breath. There are a number of simple ways to create a lovely cosy nursery without making room altering changes or renovations.

How to Decorate a Nursery While Renting

When considering how to decorate a nursery in a rental, there are a few essential tips to know before you start:

  • Find items that are easy to put up AND take down, as needed.
  • Choose a colour or theme that you won’t get tired of after the first month, 6 months, or year. You want something that will last your little one past the infancy stage. 
  • Choose safe items over stylish items. And make sure you properly install them so that they do not become a risk once your little one starts reaching, moving, walking, etc.
  • Don’t stress out about a perfectly decorated nursery. The room does not need to be Pinterest-perfect. Believe me, your baby will not be judging you based on the nursery you’ve designed for them. 
  • Find a few items that will create a cohesive, beautiful space and be content with that. Soon the room will be filled with toys, books, and other baby/toddler items anyways! 

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Of course, before getting too carried away with decorations you’ll want to make sure you have all the newborn essentials (the items that the baby actually needs). That’s most important. 

Once that part is taken care of, it’s very exciting to design the room that will be your baby’s. There are actually several easy ways to decorate a nursery in a rental (that can even be budget-friendly!). 

How to Decorate a Baby Room Without Painting Walls

Wall Stickers

In a previous apartment rental, we had limitations on which colours we were allowed to paint our walls. If we did change from the standard white-ish, we had to make sure we put them back to the original colour before moving out or else pay a fee – both of which we wanted to avoid at all costs! 

Wall stickers are a fantastic option to bring some life to those drab walls or even pull together the theme of the room. There are plenty of different sizes, designs, colours, and even textures to choose from. 

A simple matte night sky can add a sweet neutral touch to the room, creating a relaxing ambience for your sweet baby’s space. 

If you’re looking for something a little more fun, a forest full of animals will do the trick.

Or perhaps a meaningful quote is something you’d rather see each day. 

Alphabets, vehicles, world map, or maybe just simple triangles, there’s surely something out there that will tickle your fancy. 

The best part about choosing stickers rather than paint on the walls is that they are SO EASY to remove when you need or want to. 

My only recommendation is to measure before you buy so that you can really visualize how much space it will take up.

Paintings or Simple Letters

We were given some lovely wooden letters of our daughters’ names for each of their rooms which adds such a sweet yet simple personalized touch to the walls without having to drill huge holes and put anchors into drywall. 

You can find the individual letters to put names together yourself on Amazon or visit a site like Etsy to request your baby’s name in the font and size you want. Most of the wooden options I’ve seen are quite easy to hang with a small nail.

Another alternative is to display some paintings in the nursery. This option usually only requires small holes in the wall as well (and super easy installation!). 

There is a limitless selection of wall art available out there, so don’t go crazy over finding the perfect images. Canvases can be a great lightweight option to hang, or you can order an unframed painting or prints online to fit into a frame you already have. 

You should always double-check the measurements when ordering wall art online so that you’re not disappointed or needing heavy-duty tools when it arrives.

Simple Nursery Decorations to Give a Cosy Touch

Soft Rug or Playmat

Even if you have carpet, a small rug can go nicely with the decor of your choice. They are the perfect way to add instant cosiness to the baby’s room without having to commit to a large perfectly spaced rug as you’d probably find in other areas of the house.

Think of what kind of material you want to go for and the size. After that, you’ll just need to choose the shape, colour, and whether or not you want one with a motif.

For example, there are lots of different colours available for this super soft rug. Or plenty of designs available in something circular such as this one

If you prefer something more suitable for playing on when the baby gets older, foam playmats can be used instead of a rug. 

In my opinion, playmats have recently had a serious upgrade in the pattern and colour options available. 

A few years back it was hard to find much more than brightly coloured alphabet tiles (perhaps the perfect style for some). But now I’ve seen so many neutral colours and designs that can really add a subtly playful touch to the nursery without clashing with the rest of the house. 

My favourite thing about mats is that they are so easy to clean! You just vacuum or sweep as you normally would clean a floor, but can also easily wash or wipe anything that’s a little “messier”! 

I’m all about a functional, practical space for the little ones. 

Another bonus is that you can pull the tiles apart and store them anywhere when the playmat is no longer wanted in that space.

Decorative Curtains

Browse around and find some curtains that are nicer than the standard rental white ones that are often provided. You’ll likely find some that fit whatever theme or colour scheme you want in your baby’s room. 

Whether it’s an out-of-this-world design you’re looking for or just a prettier colour, many curtain styles can add to the theme of the nursery.

Think about whether you’ll want blackout curtains, lightweight, or merely a pop of colour.

Nursery Furniture (Perfect for Smaller Rooms)

Book Displays and Baskets

Book displays or unique bookshelves are a great option for baby’s rooms as you can switch around which books are shown as room decor. 

Floating book displays can be an excellent option to showcase some of your favourite books while adding some colour to the nursery. Depending on your rental agreement and the type of walls, mounting may be an issue for some. 

If that’s the case, and you don’t want to go to the hassle of installing a shelf into the wall, see if you can find a book display that goes on the floor or one that can be safely placed on top of a dresser.

Pretty baskets are another way to display (and hold) some beautiful baby items such as stuffed animals, folded blankies, or even toys. 

Whether you like wicker or fabric, there are a ton of different sizes and designs available. Even the dollar store often carries a pretty decent selection!

With these 5 easy ways to decorate a nursery in a rental, your baby’s room will be the perfect spot to receive your little one, without breaking your rental agreement. 

Now you’ll just need to make sure you know how to hold a baby and of course, change their diaper!