How to Decorate Your Rental
and Not Risk Your Deposit

See also: Project Planning

When renting a home, you don’t have to feel unable to spruce the place up or put your own mark on the place. At the end of the day, you’re paying someone a significant amount of money every month, so unless you’re wanting to physically and permanently alter the house in some way, you’re not obliged to maintain the overall look and theme of the property.

Things that can be seen as damage to a property, like putting nails in walls for pictures, should be avoided as a landlord is well within their rights to take money out of your deposit to repair the wall after you move out. There are plenty of workarounds for decorating though that will ensure your home looks and feels like an extension of your own personality.

Read our top tips and ideas below for decorating your rental without risking the loss of your deposit.

Discuss Your Plans

Firstly, you need to clarify which changes you can and can’t make to the property. A conversation with your landlord is ideal here. No two landlords are the same, but a majority won’t be happy with you making permanent changes. However, some may be more lenient and give you permission to paint the walls within certain guidelines, for example.

Whatever it is you wish to do, remember not to spend a fortune on it, as there’s not a whole lot of point if you’re living there temporarily. However, when renting a home like apartments near San Francisco, you don’t have to feel unable to spruce the place up or put your own mark on your home.

Change The Walls

If you’re spoken to your landlord and they’re happy with you to do so, you could go ahead and paint the walls. The chances are your landlord will want to either decide on a colour themselves or give you a few options to pick from that they’re happy with. Even if you’re painting over the place in the same colour, that will still freshen the place up and get rid of any marks or discolouration. If you were after a more exciting wall transformation, but have ultimately been denied the chance, there are some ideas to consider. Removable wallpaper is a great way to revamp a room or add a feature wall, whilst also being easy to take down with minimal risk of damage. At most, you could see some blemishes on the wall but a new coat of paint after you remove it will rectify that problem.

Lighting Fixtures

Having good quality lighting around your home is so important not only for the look and feel of your property, but for positive mental health and wellbeing. Dark and gloomy homes can contribute to negative mood and poorly lit properties can exacerbate debilitating headache disorders such as migraines.

Lamps placed in darker areas are a great idea of livening up a place and getting light bulbs that steer clear of the generic fluorescent or halogen bulbs should be high on your list. Vintage Edison filament bulbs can add a whole heap of character to your home, especially if you’re going for a retro look. Choose smart bulbs, especially coloured ones, to have some more direct control over the appearance of rooms. Smart bulbs can be dimmed or changed colour completely to suit any mood and theme.

Rugs And Tapestries

Something you’re very unlikely to change, and something that’s regularly lacking in appeal, is your rental’s flooring. Old carpets are one of the main things that make a home look run-down. While you may not be able to rip up carpets or have some rustic wooden flooring installed, you can find a way to cover your floors and draw the eye away from them.

Get yourself a large rug that makes a big statement with some quirky patterns and vibrant colours. Just make sure it doesn’t contrast with the overall theme of your room. Try to match it or choose a complementary colour to your furniture. Similarly with floors, walls can be covered with large, wholesome tapestry designs. If you’re not going to be painting the wall, covering marks and blemishes with a mandala tapestry for example, can be a great way to change the entire vibe of a room.

Picture Frames and Prints

Another idea to spruce up your walls is by creating a photo gallery or adding some lone prints to them. To add a really personal touch to your space, why not create your own canvas prints using your own photos or artwork? Using Photobox you can create custom canvases using personal designs and photographs quickly and easily which will then be printed and shipped straight to you. You may be wondering how to do this without damaging the walls though. You no longer need to hammer nails into your wall to hang up a frame or canvas. Now, you can use command strips or hooks, which are adhesive strips that utilise a Velcro-like material that can be easily removed without leaving a mark before you move to your next home.

Bring in the Plants

A common remedy for a dull home is houseplants. Plants are an important addition to any home and the good thing is, you can bring them with you when you move. Liven up some bland corners or shelves with some hardy, green gems. For shelves you’ll want to look into quirky and eye-catching plants such as Spider Plants, String of Pearls, and Devil’s Ivy. These will hang down over your shelves forming beautiful trails of greenery. For the larger, floor plants, consider tropical icons such as the Monstera Deliciosa or the Parlor Palm, as well as exotic succulents like the African Candelabra. Not only will this addition of nature improve the look of your living space, but it’s said that plants can boost our mood and help improve air quality, increasing your overall mental and physical wellness.

Storage with Style

Instead of shoving items away in drawers and cabinets, or leaving clutter around the place, make some good use of fun and interesting storage options. Baskets are a trendy alternative for keeping larger items in, especially when they’re used regularly. Placing your living room blankets in these or using them to cover up unsightly plant pots are common uses for belly baskets. Hardier wicker baskets can be used in the kitchen to sort and store different types of foods, freeing up drawer space. There are lots of attractive storage ideas for your kitchen—consider getting some smaller, clear storage containers for dry foods and other long-lasting goods such as pasta, rice, and dry herbs and spices. Complete the organisation of your kitchen with a label maker to specify which jars are for which products. You can even do this method with bathroom products like shower gels and hand soaps too.

Balconies and Yards

Many rentals come with some form of outdoor space, be it a balcony in an apartment or a small garden area in a terraced home. Whichever it is that you have, do your best to transform it into a pleasant and calming space to relax in the good weather. If you have the space, add some weather-resistant tables and chairs and other furnishings. Potted outdoor plants dotted around the place can add plenty of character too. Consider how to use verticality such as wall planters and shelving to really save some space.

About the Author

Zoe writes articles for a wide variety of career websites, blogs and magazines, has a strong understanding of current business trends, and a passion for entrepreneurism.