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Rental Property Decorating: How to Personalize Your Space Within Lease Limits

Couple paints house walls

Blue Bird from Pexels

While renting is convenient for lots of people, it does put some limitations on what you’re able to do design-wise. Lease agreements, whether oral agreements, written copies, or online forms, may have stipulations in them regarding what you can and cannot change. If they don’t, we always recommend not making any changes until your landlord has agreed to it.

In the event that your landlord won’t allow any changes, then you’re going to have to decorate in ways that aren’t permanent and can be removed before you move out of the rental property. Below, we have come up with a few ideas for ways to decorate a rental property. Take a look to get inspired now.

What Decorating Can I Do in a Rented Property?

Unfortunately, there are no hard and fast rules for what can and can’t be changed in rental properties. Each landlord is different, and while some don’t mind you making the place your own, others may want to keep it as it is. Our best recommendation is to check with your landlord about changes you want to make, particularly if they’re permanent, like recarpeting or painting the walls.

Tenant rights and regulations differ per state. To ensure that you’re within your rights when making certain changes, it is always a good idea to take a look at local laws.

 Sofa with cushions

7 Ideas for Decorating Without Making Permanent Changes

So, you’ve got a great rental property, but your landlord doesn’t want you to make any permanent changes? Have no fear; we can help you make the place unique and inviting with a few tweaks that won’t make your landlord angry at you! See below for more information.

1. Houseplants

Houseplants are all the rage in interior design at the moment. From cacti to cheese plants, you’ll see them all over Instagram and Pinterest, and for a good reason. Houseplants can really liven up a space, make it feel brighter, and add a cozy and homey feel to the space.

We recommend a trip to the local florists to find some fantastic options for your space. You can also grab unique and trendy plant pots to ensure they fit in with your color scheme.

2. Rugs in lieu of new carpets

Whether the floor is old and dated or you just hate the color of the carpet in your rental property, rugs are a great way to make the place a little more personal. You can find tons of options in thrift stores, at markets, and in online marketplaces. 

An advantage of rugs is also that they can keep your place a little warmer, which is great if you’ve got lots of wooden floors and live in a cold state!

3. Add mirrors

You may need to get permission from your landlord if you want to hang mirrors on the walls, and if they don’t allow it, then opt for standing mirrors instead. Look out for mirrors with statement frames and add them strategically to make the place feel bigger and brighter.

4. Statement lamps

Another way to make your apartment feel brighter is to add statement lamps! Whether table lamps or free-standing lamps, they can add color and make the apartment feel cozier. We recommend running to your local thrift store to find unique and interesting additions to your lighting situation.

Additionally, if your landlord allows it, you might be allowed to change the light shades on the ceiling lights. This gives you more chances to match colors and themes with your lamp additions.

5. Transform your walls

If you’ve got a nice landlord who doesn’t mind you painting your walls, there is a lot you can do to personalize your rented property. You could add full-color walls or just accents like arches and circles. You may also consider wallpaper, though this is harder to remove and more expensive.

If you’re not allowed to paint your walls, consider hanging wall art. You may need to invest in a way to hang decorations that doesn’t damage your walls or check with your landlord about using nails instead. 

Creating a gallery wall of fun and unique prints is a really easy way to add color to a wall if you’re not allowed to paint it. Additionally, you can support local artists and small businesses in the process!

6. Update your soft furnishings

If it’s color you want to add, then there’s no easier way to do so than to update your soft furnishings. You could reupholster your couch and chairs, buy new cushions, or make new pillowcases out of eccentric fabrics.

If you’ve got curtain rails available, you could also consider adding bright curtains that match the theme of the room to create your own unique decor in the space.

7. Get inventive with your furniture

If you’re planning a full makeover, then why not update your furniture too? We’ve already mentioned reupholstering, but you can also paint, sand, or add vinyl to shelves, cupboards, and more to give them a refresh.

You might also consider repurposing old furniture, like creating a loveseat from an old dresser or using reclaimed wood for shelving.

Lastly, if you’re looking for totally new furniture, don’t go straight to big box stores and instead consider thrifting new pieces. Markets, online marketplaces, and thrift stores tend to have unique pieces that you wouldn’t be able to find in regular stores, and it can help you to create a trendy and stylish space more easily.

Final Thoughts

We all want a cozy home to return to, and it’s entirely possible, even in a rental space. Consider some of our suggestions for making a place your own, but always be sure to check with your landlord first!