Decorating when renting

Renters face a perennial decorating dilemma: Do you personalize your apartment decor, knowing that when you move out the landlord will likely require you to put everything back the way it was? Or do you live with bare white walls, neutral-toned carpets and homogeneous decor?

You may not be able to make major changes such as changing floor coverings or knocking down walls but you can personalize your rental space with some easy-to-reverse upgrades. While the effort to install, and later remove, these upgrades is small, their impact on your home’s decor can be very big, indeed.

Here are a few simple room “redos” that can add pizzazz to your apartment – without creating extra work when it’s time to move out:


Paint is an easy way to switch up the colour of a room, but if you paint the walls, be prepared to repaint them back to white before your lease ends. Peel and stick wall decor can be a better option for personalizing a space, while leaving the white walls intact – especially if you opt for high-quality peel and stick wall murals like those offered by

SmartStick peel and stick wall murals are backed with a patented adhesive that allows you to easily place the material on nearly any surface (walls, windows, even doors), pull it down, reposition it, even move it to a different wall – all without damaging the mural or the wall beneath it. Unlike wall decals or wall stickers, the mural does not rip or wrinkle and can be reused hundreds of times. Floors

Replacing apartment floor coverings is usually a big no-no and also expensive it’s better to simply cover up flooring you can’t stand.

Fortunately, it’s easy to find decorative throw rugs that will add colour and personalization to your space – and help protect carpets and tiles from wear, tear and staining, all of which you may be required to pay for when you move out. You can opt to arrange several smaller carpets in key areas of the room, such as placing a long runner in high-traffic hallways, or a large area rug to anchor furniture groupings in living areas. Or, you can even find a very large rug that covers almost the entire floor. When it’s time to move out, simply roll up your rugs and go, leaving the flooring beneath looking exactly the way it was when you moved in.


Often, apartments will have no window treatments beyond blinds when you move in. You could install your own curtain rods and drapery, but the landlord may require you to remove the rods, and repair all those little holes left by the hardware, before you move out. An easy way to get privacy, without having to install hardware, is to purchase removable window film. The frosted film affords privacy, but is easily removed, leaving the windows clear.

Or, you could minimize the amount of hardware needed by placing decorative holdbacks (usually used to hold a curtain away from a window at about the midpoint) at the top corners of a window and draping yards of fabric in your favourite colour or pattern over the holdbacks. The holdbacks leave just one hole each in the wall, so wall repair time is significantly less.


If you can not live with the colour or pattern of the sofas and chairs provided, buy some coloured sheets to use as throws use ties to hold in place add scatter cushions and the look of your furniture is completely changed.