Whether you just moved in or feel inspired to re-decorate, decorating an apartment, condo, or any rental space can be lots of fun but also tricky. Luckily, there are many renter-friendly wall decor, damage-free hanging options, and decor tools to turn your pad into a cozy crib!
Even though you don’t technically own the space – you’ll still want to make your place feel as homey as possible. While you might not be able to make drastic or permanent changes to your living quarters, we have a few decor tricks up our sleeves to give the appearance of permanence! (Decor wizardry, yes it’s totally a thing! 🧙♂️)
🔥 Hot Tip: Before we get into our decor guide, be sure to check with your landlord first about what you are allowed to do as far as painting, wallpaper, and holes in the wall. You may want to check your leasing paperwork as well as many communities list decor and remodeling details! Risking your security deposit isn’t worth it!
While decorating, there are a few key points to keep in mind, all of which we will go over, but the most important thing is to have fun! If there is something that you like, we say go for it! Designing and decorating is all about what you want — you’re the one living there after all!!
🔨 Damage Free Hanging: Hammer & Nail Alternatives
For renters who can’t make nail or anchor holes in their walls, we’ve compiled a short list of landlord-approved alternatives:
Command strips, hooks, and nails are a godsend for those “no nail hole” moments! You can stick them to any surface, no matter if it’s wood, steel, or drywall. Just be sure to let the adhesive fully cement to your wall for a full 24 hours before putting any weight on it. When it comes to removing them, just pull the exposed tab and it comes right off. A damage free hanging miracle!
🔥 Hot Tip: If there is some residue, take a cloth and rubbing alcohol and apply gently to the wall, this will dry the sticky remnants up and it will flake off!
Velcro strips work great for heftier items and other objects you may want to remove for a time. If you consistently rearrange your furniture and wall art, velcro may be the best option for you! Just peel and stick your frames to re-position your gallery wall!
Wall Putty (AKA Sticky-Tack)
While putty may not hold up a frame, it’s great for other decor items. Sticky-tack can bear glow-in-the-dark stars and LED light strips. It’s also great for training those pesky house-plant vines to grow in the right direction!
Glue Dots & Hot Glue
If you’re not keen on the appearance of putty or don’t have any on-hand glue dots or even hot glue (depending on your surfaces) can hold up paper art and can attach some fabrics to walls.
🔥 Hot Tip: If using Hot Glue, remember to place “dots” of glue as it’s easier to peel and remove than traditional “strings” of glue. Always check if your materials are flammable before you hot glue.
While this is still technically a hole, it’s not as deep or as “damaging” to the wall as a nail! You may not be able to hang heavy picture frames, but you can display some lighter options! If possible choose clear or less noticeable pin designs and cover them when you can, this will ensure your space looks well put together!
🔥 Hot Tip: Tiny push pin holes in your wall? Don’t freak out, we’ve got you! Try the bar soap trick. Just rub a regular bar of soap over the hole and viola! Problem solved!
✨Tips For Creating The Perfect (Hole-Free) Space!
Having a stylish rental space doesn’t have to be as hard as some people make it out to be. It’s most definitely easier now than it was 20 years ago, thanks to the popularity of command products and other innovative home improvement tools as well as decorating ideas!
Removable Wallpaper & Backsplashes
A removable backsplash is an ideal solution to spicing up your kitchen without making any permanent changes. You can go back and remove it with no damage left behind. Find a style that will work with the color theme of your kitchen.
There are many different backsplash styles such as marble, subway, square, etc. Removable backsplashes are easy to apply and easy to remove, meaning you can switch them up as often as you like, which will give your space a fresh feel.
Bringing color into your apartment is a great way to brighten things up, especially because apartments aren’t always equipped with the best lighting or wall colors! That’s why there is removable wallpaper! There are so many unique designs that will instantly transform your space and change the vibe and feel of your space.
The best part about removable wallpaper is that it will peel right off without leaving behind any marks or damage. This means you can change it as often as you want or remove it when you move out! Whether you want to do a small section of your wall and create an accent wall or do the entire thing, peel & stick wallpaper is great for your rental and will make decorating much more carefree and fun!
If wallpaper isn’t your thing, there’s plenty you can do with neutral wall colors when it comes to decorating. You can choose to stay neutral with any of our frame styles, and even add a white or colored matboard, or you can choose to add a pop of color with our Hanover frame in either Red, Green, or Blue, or even dare to be bold and use our Ashford frame in Hot Pink. Either way, your frames will pop off the walls!
Ribbons, Garland, & Washi Tape
Ribbons and garlands are perfect for adding that extra something to a bookcase or shelving unit! They’re inexpensive and easy to change out for different holidays and occasions. You can even create a pattern on an accent wall with ribbon, just attach your pattern to the wall with glue dots or a staple gun and simply pull it down when it’s time to change it up!
Washi tape is a great way to install any geometrical or line-type patterns on your walls! It’s easily removable and leaves no residue. Washi tape comes in many different colors and patterns, consider mixing and matching if you decide on creating your own “flannel” style accent wall!
Wall Decals & Contact Paper
Easy to peel and stick on wherever you see fit, it’s like a mural but at a fraction of the cost! They are great for highlighting specific features in a room and drawing the eye in. Even though they tend to be smaller than rolls of wallpaper you can still spread out decals to fill up large spaces. You can even turn your own artwork into decals!
Contact paper, like wallpaper but on a much smaller scale can be used to transform an old piece of furniture or an ugly and dented fridge! If you have drab counter space and dream of marble, grab a roll of patterned contact paper and DIY it! Have wall space in the kitchen? Grab a few squares of peel-and-stick chalkboard paper and create your own menu board!
Rugs (not just for the floor!)
Whether your apartment has wood flooring or carpet, adding a fun and decorative rug is an easy way to jazz up your space. Consider adding a large rug under your coffee table and sectional or placing one at the side of your bed (to make waking up and touching the cold ground a little more bearable). On the plus side, it also can protect your floors from getting scratched or damaged, which will help you avoid getting charged in the end!
Rugs and fabric aren’t just for the floor, however! If you have a funky piece of fabric or a hand-woven rug, consider hanging it! Tapestries and macrame are stylish fabric elements that look great in any boho-style room!
Look To The Sky!
When it comes to strict rental agreements, don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Just because you can’t hang decor from your wall doesn’t mean you can’t from your ceiling! Use command hooks to hang macrame plant holders by a window, string up some twinkling fairy lights around your bedroom, or hang paper lanterns in your living room.
Rope shelves can also be hung from the ceiling and make great storage space, just make sure you can use sturdy hook screws to keep them secure! Kick it old school and make a starry night sky by sticking glow-in-the-dark stars to your ceiling for some nostalgic vibes.
Window Film, Clings, & Treatments
Another DIY that is easy to apply and remove! Peel and stick window film not only gives you extra privacy in your space but can add a great decorative touch as well. Again, you have tons of options such as blackout, solar, one-way, or decorative.
This is a personal preference for what you are looking for. If you have a front door with some glass, consider putting some window film over it to give you some privacy and create a beautiful design when the light shines through! The same applies to any bathroom windows, or if you have a windowed or glass shower door this is the perfect option for a bit more privacy!
Decorative window treatments can instantly uplift your home design. Whether you want to add patterned curtains to your dining room or blackout shades for your bedroom, get something that you will like and find beneficial to your space. Decorative window treatments can add a simple touch without taking up any room or breaking the bank!
One way to spice up your rental kitchen or bathroom decor without breaking the bank is switching out the hardware. A ton of rental spaces come with basic knob hardware, hit up your local hardware store and find something more your style! You can also change out the hardware on your dresser or nightstand to keep the same style flowing throughout the house! Don’t forget about light switch covers and outlet covers too!
🔥 Hot Tip: Is New Hardware not in your budget? Grab a can of spray paint or sponge on some acrylic gold paint to your old hardware, giving them new life!
Floor Lamps, Tents, & Canopies
Lighting is one of the most important additions to a home. If you have large doors or windows in your room, you already have a major advantage. If not, there are plenty of other ways to bring light into your space. Light, whether natural or artificial, is going to make your space feel more open and airy, so it’s a necessity when decorating your home.
Your lighting should also compliment the overall feel of your room, so look for lamps that will fit your interior design style. Ceiling lights, table lamps, or floor lamps will all work if you are not satisfied with the natural light you have throughout your space.
Looking for a more low-light experience? Set up a tent or small canopy with string lights for a more relaxed and “sleepy” atmosphere. Major plus if you have kids or pets, they’ll love this little sanctuary to take naps or play in! (We won’t judge you if you curl up for a mid-day nap too! 😴)
🔥 Hot Tip: Don’t forget your book nook! If this is somewhere you read at night, make sure your light source will give you enough light to see!
Those Green Leafy Things
Adding plants to your decor is a simple way to take your space from meh to WOW! Not only are plants decorative, but they also have many benefits as well such as reducing pollutants and dust, keeping your room cool, and reducing carbon dioxide. Whether it’s a large floor plant or a tiny succulent on your windowsill, adding a plant to your decor is a fast and simple way to create something special.
Here are some great easy-to-care-for indoor plant options:
- 🪴 Snake Plant
- 🪴 ZZ Plant
- 🪴 Aloe Vera
- 🪴 Spider Plant
- 🪴 Peperomia
- 🪴 Monstera
Mirrors can not only make a space look bigger, but can emphasize the natural light coming through the room. A large wall mirror can open up a small space and make it appear brighter and more spacious.
🔥 Hot Tip: When placing mirrors, keep in mind your light source and try to place it opposite of the light to reflect across the room.
Shelving & Bookcases
Not only are shelving and bookcases great for decor, but they add extra storage space, a win-win in our book! Consider adding a few bookcases to your bedroom to hold extra blankets, candles, clothes, hats, shoes, and of course, books!
Floating shelves are also a great addition to kitchens or living rooms to optimize space, more storage is never a bad thing! Plus, shelves are great for switching decor up easily. Want to change your picture frames and other trinkets based on the season, holiday, or even just the weather? Shelves give you the perfect opportunity to do just that!
Frames! Of course!
Nothing makes a place feel more like home than some picture frames! If you’ve been to our Learning Center before, you know that we have tons of inspiration for what to frame. Family photos, wedding photos, and photos of your pet! Hanging pictures of what’s important to you will bring a smile every time you pass by them. Plus we make framing super easy!
Art is another great option for framing, whether you found a beautiful piece at a local art show, are supporting a small business from Etsy, or plan on showcasing an art project by your kids. As apartment walls usually don’t come standard with the most exciting wall colors, think about adding some vibrant art pieces to bring some color to your world! 🌈
🏠 Rooms & Spaces
There will be things in your rental that you can’t control, like flooring, the layout, bad lighting, etc. Don’t go crazy trying to change things around, instead work with what you have! Your wall decor is one thing you can control! If you are decorating your living room, take a look at your tv stand, coffee table, and your lighting. For example, if you have dark wash wood, take a look at our Dayton frame style in Cocoa, this way everything works together.
Now that we have given you some damage-free decor element ideas, let’s see how we can incorporate them into each room of your apartment, townhouse, condo, or whatever you may be renting.
An entryway is important because it is the first thing that people will see when they walk into your home! (Remember that old saying? ” First impressions are everything!”) If it is warm and inviting, your guests will be more inclined to kick off their shoes and stay awhile!
If your entryway is messy and unorganized, they may hesitate to stay. To keep things clutter-free, consider adding a bench, table, or shoe rack to store shoes or bags. Keeping your entryway organized and clutter-free is key!
Adding a light fixture to brighten up your space is a good practice. You don’t want to come home to a spooky 👻 dark space. If you have high ceilings, consider adding a drop-down chandelier. You could also add a floor lamp or table lamp.
Remember, your entryway is your first impression to guests, so we recommend getting a light fixture that is slightly bolder than the rest of your decor, while still staying true to the overall design style of your home.
Add a rug to protect your floor, since this is a high-traffic area. Look for a rug with a fun design or color that is inviting to guests, also consider a hardy one! Adding a rug can make your home look cozier and will “warm” your home up a bit. If you don’t have a hallway that leads from your entryway to the rest of your home, a runner can create a faux hallway and will make your space feel bigger and longer.
Don’t forget to add some decor pieces to your entryway! Wall art, a mirror, and some greenery will look great. Remember, you don’t want to overdo it because that will outshine the rest of your decor, but you want to create a warm and inviting entrance to your home for your guest to feel welcome!
At Home Spa
A night in with a good book and bubble bath sounds amazing, right? With the right towels, lighting, and decor, you can transform your bathroom and make it the most relaxing space in your home.
Candles give the ultimate spa feeling. The smell is important, so be sure to find just the perfect scent that will be soothing and refreshing in the atmosphere. Wax melts and incense are also perfect “no-flame” aroma alternatives.
Plants are a great addition to bathroom decor. Whether you choose to add a large potted plant next to your bathtub or small succulents on a shelf above your toilet, a plant is never a bad idea! Adding Eucalyptus to your bathroom also has many benefits.
We recommend hanging it behind your shower head to infuse your warm showers with a soothing scent. Eucalyptus can help with stress reduction, pain relief, respiratory health, and your sinuses, so consider heading to your local market and picking some up!
Mood lighting is also a necessity. So consider adding a dimmer to your light switch so you are in full control of how bright the lights are!
Adding artwork can be an inexpensive way to rejuvenate the heart of the home! Let’s face it, for some reason we all tend to congregate in the kitchen. So why not add some artwork that reflects your style?
Of course, a kitchen has some built-in complications when it comes to adding artwork. There’s often limited wall space due to cabinets and appliances. Naturally along with the cooking (and cleaning) that comes with a kitchen comes water, steam, and changing temperatures, so artwork needs to be protected and safely cleaned. And since we tend to gather in the kitchen, we want to be sure that our artwork is secure and safe from accidental damage.
Rental kitchens tend to be small, so adding small decor pieces will work best. Think about adding decorative dish towels to your oven handle, small plants near your sink or window sill, or a bowl of fresh fruit to your countertop. These small changes can make a big statement!
Your bedroom should be the most serene and sacred place in your home. Even though you might not be able to change everything exactly to your liking with a rental, there are still tons of ways to get your bedroom looking 100%!
While you might not be able to change your bedroom flooring, we recommend throwing down a cushy area rug in your color and style of choice! The first thing your feet will touch in the morning – is a soft and luxurious rug. Not too bad, eh?
Another easy fix is adding blackout window treatments, most apartments feature unappealing mini blinds but decorative curtains can easily hide these by installing them right over the existing treatment. An easy solution that is stylish and provides privacy!
Keep great memories and loved ones close with framed photos by your nightstand or on your walls. If you have the wall space consider creating a family photo wall gallery. Pet photos, wedding photos, and newborn photos are also great options that warm the heart and are perfect for a comforting bedroom!
If you want to draw the eyes in with a focal point, we recommend framing a large piece of art and hanging it right over your headboard or bed. Can’t hang wall art? Try installing a plush or fancy bedframe!
Whew, you made it! We hope you have a few ideas of how to decorate and style your rental, we have just 3 basic rules to keep in mind as you dive into your remodeling:
Make It Personal
You may not own the space, but it’s still your home for the time being! Making your living space cozy and personalized to your tastes is so important. If it makes you feel good or brings a smile to your face – do it! There is no right or wrong when it comes to your style!
Hide Unsightly Fixtures
Do you have a bulky furnace or an ugly AC unit, how about a window shaker? Hide them! Try creating a distraction around it. Add some wall decor, a comfy chair, or a bookshelf. This will help the fixture to blend in more with the surroundings.
Another way you can hide these fixtures is a curtain or folding shoji screen. Find a color that matches your decor or a funky pattern that you like, and simply hang it in front! Make sure you give plenty of clearance so your fixtures aren’t blocked or overheating!
Most Importantly: Have Fun!
When it comes to decorating your space, remember to always have fun with it! Mix and match styles and colors, stick to one theme throughout your place, or have a different theme in each room. There are no rules when it comes to custom framing. Whatever makes you happy will look great in the end!
When it comes to renting a place, you want to still be able to make it your own without risking your security deposit. With these tips, you can do just that, without doing any permanent damage to the place. Your landlord will thank you!
If you are looking to update your apartment or condo, we hope that you find these damage free hanging and decor tips useful. Be sure to share photos with us on social media so we can see what you did with your space! Feel free to tag us @frameiteasy or use the hashtag #frameiteasy.
This post first appeared as Damage Free Hanging: The Ultimate Renter Decor Guide! on Frame It Easy - Learning Center for Custom Picture Framing.