If you’re one of the millions of renters in the U.S., then you likely live with strict rules from your landlord. Many renters aren’t allowed to transform their space exactly how they want. This can include painting, updating old built-ins, drilling holes in the wall and more. Luckily, there are things you can do to innovate your space and keep your landlord happy.
Simple do-it-yourself projects and decor products can instantly bring some of your aesthetic into your home. With some patience and tools, you could soon be living in a rented unit that feels more like your own.
Here are five renter-friendly design tips.
1. Use Peel And Stick Wallpaper
Many tenants are told by landlords that only certain paint colors are allowed, or painting is not permitted at all. One way around that is by using peel and stick wallpaper instead. This is different from traditional wallpaper that doesn’t require messy pastes.
Peel and stick wallpaper is a self-adhesive that easily grips to the wall, kind of like a big sticker. You can find tons of patterns online that meet your personal aesthetic and really change up your rental unit. When the time comes and you’re ready to move out, the wallpaper can simply be peeled off and restored back to the original walls without any damage.
Peel and stick wallpapers can be used on other surfaces in your home as well. You can find products designed for kitchen counters, backsplashes, bathroom sinks, tabletops and more that are just as easy to use.
Design Tip: Use a neutral wallpaper color on all of the walls in a room, except one. Pick a different pattern that pops out from the neutral color to create an accent wall.
2. Swap Out Some Details
When you’re designing a space, it’s all in the details. You can make a serious change in your home or apartment simply by replacing some basic elements with more stylish options.
One of the things that can make or break your space is curtains. Whether they’re old, run down or just plain hideous, detach the current one from the curtain rod and replace it with one that suits your preference.
Feel free to replace these items with modern updates as well:
- Drawer and cupboard knobs
- Hanging lights or chandeliers
Just make sure to keep the old knobs, curtains and other items so you can reinstall them once your lease is done.
Design Tip: Make your ceilings look taller by hanging curtain rods four to six inches higher than the actual window.
3. Hang Up Some Artwork
One of the easiest ways to personalize your home is by adding artwork. Some landlords don’t allow tenants to drill holes or hang things up, but there are a couple ways to get around that.
You can hang artwork up with self-adhesive solutions that don’t require drilling holes and hammering nails in the wall. Just buy an adhesive from a home or hardware store, stick the adhesive to the back of the artwork, and place it on the wall.
To completely avoid the need for adhesives or nails, another option is to lean artwork against the wall. This is becoming an increasingly popular design trend. Pick a spot on the side table, dresser, or even the floor if the piece is big enough and fashionably lean it against the wall. This will add some sophistication to your space and gives you more freedom to move things around as you wish.
Design Tip: Experiment with artwork in your home by choosing different sizes, styles and colors to display. This can help it stand out and give your home a unique touch.
4. Buy Plants
Plants are a classic go-to for home design. They’re pretty, affordable and don’t take much effort to maintain. Some low maintenance indoor plants you can easily take care of include ficuses, phalaenopsis orchids and cacti.
Don’t be afraid to let your plants grow a little wild. For example, you could buy a tradescantia and let it grow out in all directions. Place it on a dresser or table and let the leaves fall down, giving the room some whimsical and earthy vibes. There are even planters you can buy or DIY that you can hang from the ceiling and add some dimension to your home.
If you’re worried about killing plants, you can always buy fake ones. Wayfair, Amazon, Ikea and other home goods stores sell quality artificial greenery that will look great and give you the option of not placing it near a window.
Design Tip: Add more of your personality to plants by purchasing pots with fun and unique designs.
5. Soft Furnishings
Soft furnishings are the little things throughout the home that play into your desired aesthetic. This is a way for people with little to no control over their rental to play with the space through fabrics, colors and textures.
These are simple things that can be bought and added to current pieces of furniture. Some soft furnishing pieces include:
- Throw pillows and blankets
- Rugs (big or small)
- Shower curtains and towels
- Picture frames
Try and pick a theme when it comes to picking your soft furnishings. This can help your space to not only be more cohesive, but designate your home with your desired image. It’s also a cheaper alternative to play-up your current furniture instead of replacing what you currently own.
Design Tip: Look for fun patterns that can elevate your home, especially if the walls and furniture are mostly neutral.
Online Shop For All Your Home Decor Needs
Just because your landlord has strict rules about living in your rental unit doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to transform it. Simple things can make all the difference in a rented space and give you the chance to let your personality stand out.
You can buy everything you need online to decorate your home and stay within budget. Search anything from knobs, to curtains, to plants and more to find hundreds of options at a range of price points. Many retailers might offer free shipping or discounts if you buy a certain amount of goods from its website.