Just over a quarter of Americans rent their homes. It’s an arrangement that offers welcome flexibility when you’re moving from city to city in your younger years, but the downside is living with restrictions on what you can do with your space. If you want to see your security deposit again, you can’t leave a permanent trace. That doesn’t mean you can’t decorate, however. Follow these affordable and easy steps, and you’ll be free to transform your living area for as long as it’s yours.
How to Hang your Favorite Pictures
Think hard before you bang any nails into your rented walls. They’ll all have to come out at the end of your lease and the area will need to be filled, sanded, and repainted. At best, you could try using a hard wall hook, but you’d be in much safer territory by using removable double-sided tape instead. Top tip: You can remove any residue and avoid tearing wallpaper by heating the tape first with a hair dryer. Use rubbing alcohol to take off any lasting gunk. It evaporates quickly and won’t stain.
Try hanging these with tape …
- A colorful wall tapestry can transform a bland wall space.
- Put up a fishing net for decorating with pictures and mementos, and adding texture.
- Using a collage picture frame means you’re getting as many pictures on show with minimum impact.
Keep it Natural with Plants
Wherever you go, your plants follow. That means there’s no danger of breaking into the security deposit when you decorate your room with plants. If you’re not the green-fingered type, stick to some small, exotic fake plants on a shelf or a low-maintenance set of self-watering plants. To bring a room to life (literally) and sustain a healthy environment, go for an aromatic flowering plant in a vase or try a hydroponic set for the table top or window ledge. If you just want to fill out some underwhelming corners with a burst of foliage, put up some silk tropical plant leaves for a rainforest vibe.
Lean What You Can’t Hang
Even transient decor offers its own powerful esthetic — think artistic lofts and shared college apartments. The secret is to be bold, with big mirrors and oversized pictures. These work especially well if you have hardwood or tile floors that evoke an artist’s studio. Lean or place a free-standing mirror in a prominent place as a focal point, and fill any large gaps with a 24” by 8” picture frame for panoramic prints, or a chunky solid wood picture frame.
Stick to Removable Wall Decals
Just as you can tape up your pictures, you can decorate your walls guilt-free by using sticker decals. These add color and character to walls or furniture, and peel off without leaving any trace or residue. There are many styles to choose from.
- Mirror decals for solving two problems with a single sticker
- Picture frames that go where no nail can go
- Tree designs that give depth and perspective to walls
Switch Up Your Lighting
It’s easy to overlook lighting, as ironic as that may seem. Take maximum advantage of this impact-free decorative resource that is great for setting mood or ambiance. Hook up some strings of LED lights or extend to a copper wire fairy garland to animate your gloomier corners. If you’ve opted for the fishing net decorative approach, riff on the theme with some illuminated hearts threaded in between the gaps. Finally, use spotlights to create contrast between areas of darkness and bright light.
The bonus feature is that all of these options are affordable and easy to find, allowing you to move in, set up, and feel at home in no time — and leave without a trace.
Shop the renter’s decoration ideas here:
- Hard wall hook
- Removable double-sided tape
- Hair dryer
- Colorful wall tapestry
- Fishing net
- Collage picture frame
- Fake plants
- Self-watering plants
- Hydroponic set
- Silk tropical plant
- Free-standing mirror
- 24” by 8” picture frame
- Solid wood picture frame
- Sticker decals
- Mirror decals
- Picture frame decals
- Tree designs
- Strings of LED lights
- Copper wire fairy garland
- Illuminated hearts
Prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.