16 easy and low-risk decorating hacks for renters

Get the Full StoryThe Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

Many renters struggle with personalization. Rather than risking their deposit or breaking their lease, they unconsciously settle to live around the things that vex or inconvenience them.

But even though a lease is by its nature temporary, you’re still living in the space, and it’s not nearly as satisfying to just inhabit a room that is half yours and half already somebody else’s.

When you think about it, the afternoon you’ll spend swapping light bulbs or painting is absolutely worth it for the sense of ownership and belonging you’ll get over the span of the next 12 months. Short term, what a pain. Long term, does it really make sense to be less happy for 12 months than you could be, because four hours is too much to ask?

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to personalize rented homes without breaking the rules. And most of them require less effort than changing the cabinet drawers in the kitchen and keeping the others stored somewhere not all of us have the space to make that DIY task appealing .

Things as simple as changing the lighting, upgrading the shower head, and bringing in your own curtains can make a big difference in how the space feels without requiring much effort or money from you. And you might want to take advantage of the time before you get a mortgage to invest flexible income into the furniture pieces that bring you joy and that you can afford now and you can also hold onto for the future.

Instead of focusing on knocking out walls to create an open floor plan, you can harness all that design energy and hurl it at easy-to-remove decorations, versatile and mobile storage spaces, inexpensive but impactful upgrades, and statement pieces.

Nobody likes to exist in a state of limbo or to feel like a temporary squatter in the home they’re likely paying quite a bit of their income to inhabit. If you want to set down some roots in a temporary space or a way to stop the renting cycle from feeling nomadic, check out the 16 tips below:Use removable wallpaper.

West Elm

Coating the walls in a wallpaper that will take lots of elbow grease and unpleasant hours of deconstruction is not every renter's dream, and most modern home stores know that and cater to those concerns. Installation takes a couple hours, and you might want some extra sheets so you don't have to pull out your hair when you don't align one section perfectly, but it's an easy way to personalize a place without permanent change. If doing the whole place seems out of the question, a statement wall could be a nice use for removable wallpaper.

Sepulveda Shiplap Mural Removable Wallpaper, Taupe, available at West Elm, 360

Try command hooks, strips, and tapes to avoid putting holes in the walls.


If you're afraid of drilling holes into rented walls, you may want to invest in packs of hanging strips. Displaying art and memorabilia is one of the easiest and best ways to make the space yours, and by opting for something less permanent than nails and a hammer, you can have all the customization without any of the concern.

Command Picture & Frame Hanging Strips Value Pack, Large, White, 12-Pairs, available at Amazon, 6.69

Paint the walls neutral colors you like.

Home Depot

Yes, even though it sounds like it wouldn't be, painting is normally okay to do in a rented apartment as long as the color isn't too polarizing. Your landlord might even be happy you're doing it, since it ups the value of the place without any effort on his her part.

You'll want to ask to be sure unless you plan on painting now, repainting covertly later , but it's an easy way to officially designate a spot as your own.

Ultra Pure White Semi-Gloss Zero VOC Interior Paint, 1 gallon, available at Home Depot, 27.48

See the rest of the story at Business Insider