Your landlord doesn't care whether your place looks cute – only that you don't cause permanent damage. Renters have a lot of restrictions that can make decorating a challenge, but you don't have to fill your walls with holes or paint over an ugly shade of beige in order to make your space feel like home. These renter-friendly hacks will help you upgrade every room in your place without sacrificing your security deposit.
1. Use Removable Wallpaper
Peel-and-stick wallpaper might be the greatest home design invention of the last 50 years. It's sticky enough to stay put, but the adhesive shouldn't damage the walls when you peel it off. Cover an entire accent wall with removable wallpaper or buy individual strips and create your own stripe pattern.
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2. Decorate With Bookcases and Ladders
When you're renting, you want to put as few holes in the walls as possible. Instead of hanging art, use large pieces like bookcases and decorative ladders to fill empty wall space and display small objects. Another way to create visual interest without making any holes is to arrange a metal garment rack against a wall and use S hooks to suspend hanging plants from the rod.
3. Cover Ugly Plastic Blinds
Nothing says "this place is a rental" like plastic horizontal or vertical blinds. Adding window coverings is one of the smallest things you can do to make a big impact. Use heavy-duty adhesive hooks to install a curtain rod without drilling into the wall or use a tension curtain rod within the window frame if possible. Create no-sew curtains using fabric tape if you don't want to buy conventional curtains.
4. Install Removable Backsplash
Just as peel-and-stick wallpaper can upgrade your walls, a removable backsplash can upgrade your kitchen in seconds. Cover the entire wall between your cabinets and countertops or use a smaller square decal just above your cooktop. Removable backsplash decals are available in a wide range of colors and patterns to match your style.
5. Cover Appliances With Stainless Steel Decals
Are you noticing a theme? Peel-and-stick decals can modernize more than just your walls. If you're stuck with outdated white or black kitchen appliances, you can try disguising them with removable decals that mimic stainless steel. They can be difficult to use, but this project is worth attempting if you're patient and really bothered by your ugly fridge.
6. Hang Pictures From a Rail
You'd love to have a gallery of framed photos or artwork, but that would create a lot of holes in your (rented) walls. Hanging a central picture rail lets you display multiple pieces with minimal damage. Depending on what picture rail kit you choose, you may hang frames from a wooden bar or a sturdy wire. Using this system protects your walls and makes it easy to switch out your art whenever you want a change.
7. Swap Out Hardware
Door pulls, knobs and handles are little things that make a big impression. You don't have to live with the cheap or outdated hardware that came installed on your cabinets and doors. If you have a screwdriver and a few minutes, you can easily change out the existing hardware for pieces that better suit your style. Store all the old pieces in individually labeled bags so you can reinstall them when you move out.
8. Use Area Rugs to Demarcate Spaces
So, your landlord cut corners by installing ugly carpet in every room. Millions of your fellow renters can sympathize. There's no rule against putting area rugs on top of carpet. In fact, throw rugs can help you create distinct areas within your home and introduce much-needed color and pattern into a room with neutral walls.
9. Set Up Decorative Folding Screens
Like rugs, standing screens create visual interest and disguise a multitude of sins. Do you hate the look of that old radiator or the way your neighbor can see through that window? Set up a decorative folding screen. You may even be able to find a folding screen with small built-in shelves or holes that you can use to hang small plants or decorative items.
10. Load Up on Lamps
Interior decorators swear by two secrets for livening up a dull space: Add more throw pillows and add more lamps. You may be surprised by how homey and cozy a room becomes once you introduce multiple light sources. If any rooms lack a central overhead light, you may even be able to install hanging swag lights without damaging the walls or ceiling.