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A famous quote reads, "home is where the heart is," and it is a true statement. Wherever you live and wherever you are, make it your own.

Many believe rentals are just a stepping stone to more extraordinary things. Whether a college dorm, a shared apartment, or a rental home, you should always organize, care for, and decorate the space. 

Decorating rental spaces can be tricky, and you will encounter gray areas, but fear not; we've got you covered. This blog will discuss the Do's and Don'ts of rental decoration and teach you how to upgrade your living space. 

In the next section, we'll explain why you should decorate your rental space.

Why you should decorate

The landlord might own the property, but you are responsible for transforming it into a home. 

Although some rentals are temporary, claiming the space and making it your own can give you a sense of security. 

Your rental will be where you sleep at night, where you cook, where you eat, and where you shower; after a long day, it will be waiting for you, so you should enjoy being there. 

Every moment in your home should be treasured. Whether you plan to stay for one year or ten, it will always serve the same purpose. 

Decorating your rental will also serve as experience when you have a home. Since the changes are less permanent, you can play around with different ideas and develop your own interior design style to display in your future home.

If upgrading your rental space scares you, you are not alone; below, we will discuss common fears and how to overcome them. 

Common fears

You should not be scared of making reversible changes to your rental home; however, many fears and hesitations surround the following:

  • Breach of rental agreement 
  • Legal repercussions
  • The "this is not permanent" mentality 

Let's dive right into these common fears and hesitations. 

Breach of rental agreement

Many tenants are scared of decorating their rental spaces in fear of breaching the contract and losing their deposits. Although completely understandable, you will not breach the contract if you directly abide by the rental agreement's rules and regulations. 

Always have a copy of your rental agreement and read it thoroughly… I know what you're thinking, "now I have to read this long legal document?" Although difficult to read, understanding your rental agreement is crucial when renting any property. You must know everyone's responsibilities to avoid misunderstandings. 

Once you're aware of specific rules, you're all set to start decorating your space. 

Legal repercussions

The main reason tenants fear rental home decoration is because of legal repercussions. However, as long as you abide by the rental agreement and return everything to its starting conditions, you have the right to make the place your home. 

The "this is not permanent" mentality 

For some, rental homes are just a small stepping stone to buying property, but this is not a reason to shy away from decorating. 

The average lease term is one year, meaning that this will be your home for a minimum of 365 days; so, will you choose to make it the most uncomfortable year of your life? 

Now that we've discussed the common fears in decorating a rental home, let's jump right into the Do's and Don'ts of decorating your rental home. 

Do's of decorating  

If you need clarification on decorations you can add to your rental home, use the below list of Do's to channel your inner interior designer. 

Do: Read your lease agreement carefully

The most crucial step in this process is to read your rental agreement to the best of your ability. As previously stated, you want to be fully versed in your responsibilities under the contract.

The more acquainted you become with the rental agreement, the more comfortable you will feel decorating your home. 

Do: save everything you remove 

Although you have the right to make removable changes, always ensure that everything you remove is stored and not thrown away. 

For example, let's say you decide to replace the vertical blinds with different curtains. After removing the blinds, you should keep them. Have a designated space for these items, and once your lease is over, reinstall or return them to your landlord. 

Do: leave everything the way it came

Whatever change you make, ensure it is returned to its original condition. For example, suppose you paint an accent wall or add stick wallpaper. In that case, you should return it to its original color before vacating the apartment.

Do: consult with your landlord in gray areas 

If you have any questions, contact your landlord before making the change. It is always better to be safe than sorry. A great example of this is painting. Every landlord has different rules, so before painting your rental home, ensure that your landlord agrees. 

Although decorating your rental home is a great idea, you should always be wary of making specific changes that can put you at risk for liability. Below we will be highlighting some of these don'ts so that you can steer clear of them. 

Don'ts of decorating

Some additions are not worth adding to your rental home. Often, these changes will cause more harm than good and can put you at risk for financial liability. Ensure to avoid the following: 

  • Don't: make permanent or hard-to-remove changes 
  • Don't: throw away valuable pieces you removed  
  • Don't: integrate old wood 

Now, let's review these common mistakes in detail so you can better avoid them. 

Don't: make permanent or hard-to-remove changes 

You should not be making any permanent changes to your rental home. However, some changes are not black and white. 

Installing wallpaper is an excellent example of one of these changes. Some peel and stick wallpaper or temporary wallpaper are advertised as completely removable, but this is only sometimes the case. Sometimes the wallpaper can stick to the wall and cause severe damage; for this reason, you should stay diligent and weigh your pros and cons. 

Don't: throw away valuable pieces you removed

As previously mentioned, you should always save the pieces you remove from the rental home. 

Throwing away working features installed by the landlord can put you at financial risk, so it's better to keep them in a box and hand them to your landlord when you move out. 

Don't: integrate old wood

Saving fantastic thrift store finds might be a great idea, but not when it comes to furniture in your rental home. 

Old wooden furniture can have many problems, such as termites and other invasive insects. A termite infestation can cause detrimental problems to the infrastructure of the home, which will heavily affect your pockets. Opt for new items if you want to add wooden pieces to your rental home. 

Now that we have reviewed the Do's and Don'ts of rental home decorating, the next section will highlight some of our top pics.

Do's and Don'ts of Decorating Your Rental Home

Decorating Tips

Adding personality to your rental apartment or home can be a great way to unleash your creative side.

Most rental homes come with white walls, which make it easier to decorate and add personality.

Here are some recommendations that you should consider:

  1. Hanging curtains
  2. Table lamps
  3. Light fixtures
  4. Window treatments
  5. Statement rug
  6. Modular sofas
  7. Versatile pieces of decor (can be used year round)
  8. Hang art
  9. Add plenty of storage to hide clutter
  10. Soft furnishings (like pillows and throw blankets)

After adding these decorative items, you can also get creative in installing new things; let's look at some DIY tips you should consider using.

Recommended Decor Items

DIY tips

Aside from decor pieces, you can install a new shower head and faucet in your bathroom to make the space feel contemporary. Remember to keep the existing parts and reinstall them before vacating the rented property.

You should also invest most of your money in your living area, as it will be the place for both entertaining and lounging.

Another tip is to "break up the space,", especially in smaller rooms. As mentioned above, you should use statement rugs to make the space pop. However, you should also use plain rugs to break up the room. A great example is adding a rug under the sofa to break up the floor space between the living room and the kitchen.

Focusing on lighting is also very important. For example, a dark room looks more gloomy and small, so always consider lighting optimization.

A great bathroom renovation tip is to use tile stickers to upgrade the floor; this works for some better than others, so if it sounds right for you, go for it.

Final words

In conclusion, decorating rental properties will help you feel more comfortable in the space. These homes (although sometimes temporary) do not need to look uninhabited; your current home should be cherished and decorated to create your perfect atmosphere.

Ilia is a Content Creator and Copywriter at DoorLoop with a background in Real Estate and Law. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Florida International University with Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and International Relations.

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