Does living in a rented space mean you’re stuck with drab floors, the same blah neutral paint in every room, and no pictures on your walls? Not necessarily. If you cooperate with your landlord, you may be surprised how much freedom you have to make your rental your own. Communication is key. Here are our tips for decorating your rental.
Getting permission to decorate your rental
Before taking steps to decorate your rental, study your lease. See what it says about whether and how much you can decorate, including painting, wallpapering, improving flooring, and hanging pictures and window treatments. Even if limitations are spelled out, you may be able to persuade the landlord to allow for some temporary improvements, such as removable wallpaper or flooring.
If your lease is full of restrictions, develop a decorating plan, coordinating your desired wall, window treatment and flooring colors with your furniture and accessories. Then approach your landlord with what you would like to do. Emphasize that your proposed changes will be positive improvements, and you just might win your cause. Or the landlord may agree on the provision that you return things to the previous state before you move out. (Consider the work involved before agreeing to that.)
Change now, restore later
Here are some temporary ways to transform the look of your space that can later be reversed.
- Painting: If you paint all the walls, but the landlord insists you restore the original color before moving out, you’ll end up doing two big paint jobs. Instead, choose one main wall to paint as an accent wall and leave the rest in the original neutral shade.
- Wallpaper: The owner may prohibit traditional wallpaper, since removing it is difficult and can damage walls. Instead, offer to use peel-and-stick wallpaper, which goes up and comes down easily. It is available in a multitude of colors and patterns starting at about $35 for a roll of 28 square feet. Again, consider doing one accent wall rather than multiple walls.
- Kitchen walls: Use peel-and-stick backsplash tiles to add an easy-up, easy-down accent to the kitchen.
- New flooring: Changing the look of floors doesn’t have to be permanent. Carpet tiles and certain cork tiles require no adhesive; placed edge to edge, the tiles hold the whole floor into place.
- Faux fronts: Want a new look for cabinet fronts, or want to transform appliances from white to stainless? Use peel-and-stick Con-Tact paper or a similar product. Choose from a whole palette of colors and patterns, including wood grain and stainless steel.
- Wall hangings and window treatments: For wall art, use Command™ strips to avoid nail holes in the walls. For window treatments and heavier artwork, you may have to use nails and will have to spackle and apply touch-up paint to any holes you make.
- Use your time renting to accumulate furniture you can use in future homes. Think beyond temporary apartment furnishings. Develop a long-term vision.
- Make good use of area rugs, accent color pillows, and accessories. Strategically place indoor plants to bring life to your rooms.
- Changing kitchen and bath faucets can give an up-to-date look. You may need to keep the old ones and restore them before you move out. The same applies to changing cabinet door handles throughout the space.
Related – Is Renting a Home Right for You?