Damage-Free Ways to Decorate Your Apartment

Updating your rental property is a delicate balance—you want the place to feel like home, but might not be keen on investing a whole lot of time and money into a place that’s not yours to keep. Plus, there’s the matter of preserving your deposit and staying in your landlord’s good graces. 

While these are responsible things to consider, you deserve to live somewhere that doesn’t feel temporary! As we weather the most indoor winter of them all, it’s important your place feels like home. Here are some damage-free, simple, and cost-effective ways to get started. 

A women painting the walls in her studio apartment

Update your paint job

A fresh coat of paint is great for morale, making your space look cleaner and brighter. Send your landlord a quick email before embarking on this one, as they may expect you to return the apartment to its original colour when you move out. If so, you may want to avoid dark colours or use them sparingly (like on an accent wall, maybe?) to avoid hassle when you repaint. Your landlord may also thank you for saving them the trouble of having to repaint themselves!

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Try a removable mural

Temporary wall treatments have been gaining popularity in recent years, meaning there’s a tremendous variety of textures and patterns to choose from. It’s easier to install and to remove than traditional wallpaper, making it a kind choice for when “future you” moves out. Temporary murals can be an excellent option for kid bedrooms too, as they can be replaced with your child’s changing interests. 

A wall of artwork

Display your artwork

Does reluctance to put holes in your walls have you putting off assembling a gallery wall?  Command strips are a great alternative to more permanent methods. Be sure to wipe your frame and the wall with alcohol before hanging, so the strip can easily adhere. You’ll also want to use a level to make sure your image is hanging straight the first time, as removing and replacing the strip onto the wall will make it less sticky each time. 

Make the most of your space

Does your rental’s layout have some quirks you could do without? A little creativity can help optimize the space you have to work for you. 

  • The addition of a butcher table to your kitchen can make a big difference for counter space, especially one with additional storage beneath. 
  • Partitioning your space with room-dividing screens can help make purposeful pockets in an open-concept space. This is especially handy for those of us working from home in terms of video conferencing. Sometimes freeing up a physical space for reading or meditation can help free up mental space too.
  • Over-the-toilet storage like this one and no-drill hooks like these can help free up counter space in your bathroom. 

A modern floor lamp

Let there be light

Lighting in a rental unit can be sparse, or just ill-suited to how you use your space. Personalizing your lighting scheme can help you see your space in a new light (pun absolutely intended). 

  • Floor lamps are an easy way to achieve both ambient and task-oriented lighting, without taking up precious space on your surfaces. 
  • An edison pendant light is a vintage-inspired option to provide overhead lighting without rewiring or changing your fixtures. 
  • Though popularized by Gen Z on TikTok, LED light strips and bulbs make it easy to change the vibe on a whim, while still looking modern and grown up. Plus, they set the mood for all your best impromptu home dance parties. 

While the apartment may not be yours for keeps, there are ways you can add your own flair and make the space feel like home. 


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