Figuring out how to decorate a rental home or an apartment can be tricky. After all, just about every decorating element you incorporate needs to be removable if you want to get your full security deposit back.
But if the thought of living for a year or more in a plain, impersonal space makes your heart hurt, opting for removable decorating ideas and products can help transform your temporary living quarters into a home-y space you love.
These 25 removable DIY decorating ideas for your apartment or rental will give your space a more personalized touch—that’ll be easy to remove when your lease is up.
1. Freshen up your rental home with plants.
“Living or faux, plants can add color and life to any space, as can their planters and pots! You can even play up the botanical trend in other elements of your décor—including woven storage baskets, artwork, earthy, textured wallpaper or jute throw pillows,” Zulily’s lead editorial stylist, Ashley Bowen, suggests.
2. Spice it up.
“The best thing I have come across is removable, non-adhesive backed wallpaper, such as PANYL,” says HGTV star and host of The Work Around, J. Pickens. “It’s great as a removable wallpaper for let’s say a college dorm, but also for sprucing up furniture, lining drawers and themed party décor—basically anything. It also sticks to everything and comes in hundreds of colors and patterns.”
3. Improve a room’s look with removable wallpaper.
“Often times rental apartments aren’t keen on painting walls,” Alessandra Wood, VP of Style at Modsy says, which is why, “Removable wallpaper is my favorite (and affordable!) way to upgrade the aura of a room. This can add a pop of color and showcase your personal style in a bold way!” She recommends a pretty print from Chasing Paper, called Agate, pictured above.
4. Create an accent wall that serves as a focal point.
“Spruce up your space with an accent wall—choose a bold color, create your own gallery wall, or experiment with fun, removable wallpaper that speaks to you,” Bowen recommends. “The best part? You can easily switch it up later.”
5. Update your cabinet hardware.
“One of the easiest ways to make your kitchen or bathroom a bit more personalized is with cool new hardware on your drawer pulls,” Wood says. “Stash the original knobs in the back of a drawer and replace them before you move out.” She recommends these Link Knobs from CB2 for a quick rental home upgrade.
6. Install a removable wall mural.
For an artsy take on an accent wall, a removable wall mural from Minted is the way to go. Not only are they available in dozens of looks—from picturesque landscapes to watercolor designs to prints that look like modern art—and numerous sizes, they’re surprisingly easy to install and a total breeze to remove once you’re ready to move.
7. Add a personal touch—affordably!
“Adding a few personal yet functional items from home can make your rental space feel more personal,” Emilie Baltorinic-Navarro, interior designer at Living Spaces, says. An easy, polished way to do this without breaking the bank? “Display books or journals with designs or color themes that match your style, as they double as both trendy and functional décor pieces.” The same goes for pretty barware or dishes. She recommends hanging a few modern wall shelves, like these, and styling them with your favorite—and most practical—pieces.
8. Layer your rugs.
“While it might feel odd to add a rug on top of a rug, it helps to personalize your space with pattern and color,” Woods explains. If your space is already carpeted, “Place a rug over your wall-to-wall carpets to create a design that feels more custom to you.” This pretty Distressed Nadine Rug from West Elm is a good choice.
9. Update your throws and accent pillows seasonally.
“For a cost effective seasonal or holiday update, switch up your throws and accent pillows with on-trend prints and textures!” Bowen says. “From pom-pom or tassel accents to cozy knits, throws can add color, texture and function to spaces of all sizes.”
10. Add your own window treatments.
“Window treatments, such as shades and drapes, are little luxuries that make mornings more serene. Since rentals are a temporary home, you may not want to over-invest in window treatments but there are still options,” Woods says. “Drapes are a great way to add a bit of softness and can easily be taken down and moved to your next place.” She recommends a pair of these pretty Velvet Twill Curtain panels from Pottery Barn.
11. Don’t over-invest.
When it comes to decorating your rental, don’t spend too much on decor items that can only be used in your current space—like window shades that have been cut-to-size. “My favorite budget friendly shades are the cut to measure Levolor cellular shades from Lowe’s,” Woods says. “Just measure your windows, show up with dimensions, and they’ll cut them live to fit. They’re easy to install and you can get them in sheer or blackout.”
12. Create faux built-ins.
“When your rental feels like it’s lacking architectural detail, floor to ceiling bookshelves will do the trick!” Woods explains. “You can mimic the look of built-ins and add a ton of storage. This is where IKEA is king—the Billy bookshelves come in an extra tall height with the option of adding glass doors for a look that feels super custom.” She also recommends items from IKEA’s Pax System, like this wardrobe, if you need extra concealed storage space in your rental.
13. Install removable peel-n-stick tiles over your existing flooring.
If your rental’s kitchen flooring is abominable, you can give it a budget-friendly makeover on a budget using Floorpops Peel & Stick Floor Tiles from Joann. Simply peel the backing off of these chic vinyl floor tiles and press them in place for high-quality, water-proof floor coverage.
14. Add some texture to your walls for visual interest.
Adding some 3D interest to your walls is another way to amp up your rental home’s wow-factor–even if only temporarily. Wallpops NuWallpaper Peel & Stick Wallpaper from Joann (it’s currently available in cream and navy) is a trendy option that helps cover bumpy, uneven walls or holes beautifully.
15. DIY your own removable decals using a Circuit.
16. Hang faux flowers on your wall.
A striking DIY faux flower wall, as seen on @joann_stores‘s crafty feed, is an easy way to personalize your rental space and transform it into your own secret garden-esque escape. Small strips of removable wash tape keep each faux flower stem in place.
17. Disguise ugly closet doors.
An easy way to disguise dated closet doors is by covering them with sheets of removable wallpaper. This pretty print from NuWallpaper makes these basic renter-grade closet doors an eye-catching statement, rather than an eyesore.
18. Turn your accessories into wall decor.
Mount a few heavy-duty Command hooks, like these for hanging coats and hats, and display your “it girl” hat collection with pride by making it part of your room decor.
19. Decorate your rental with plug-in lighting options.
Mount a pair of stylish plug-in wall sconces on either side of your bed to make your rental feel like home. Sure, you’ll have a few small holes to patch when you remove them later, but if you’re renting your home for two years or more, it’s probably worth it.
20. Create a gallery wall.
Make a statement with a massive gallery wall. Before you shy away from the idea because you’re thinking of all the nail holes you’ll have to patch when you move out, think again. You can get this look with the help of removable photo hanging Command strips, so your walls won’t get harmed in the process.
21. Cover old countertops with pretty contact paper.
If the laminate bathroom countertops in your rental home have seen better days, give them a makeover. An easy, affordable way to do this is by covering them with removable marbleized contact paper made from vinyl or PVC, so it’s sure to be waterproof.
22. Get the look of a modern backsplash using peel-n-stick removable tiles.
Removable tile stickers (yes, you read that right) in a modern black mosaic design will instantly elevate the look of your rental. Just peel off the backing and press them onto your bare bathroom or backsplash for the ultimate temporary decor upgrade.
23. Decorate your stairs will wallpaper.
Give your staircase some personality! Make it pop by accenting each step with removable wallpaper. Or, if you want to DIY the look using supplies you already have on hand, leftover wrapping paper scraps and double-sided tape is a fun short-term solution—though it won’t hold up to wear-and-tear nearly as well.
Related: 8 Reasons to Rent a Home vs. Own One
24. Create a cork wall.
Covering a small wall near your desk in cork tiles will give your mini office space extra functionality. Just stick them up using strips of removable foam mounting tape.
25. Hang a tapestry in lieu of a headboard.
A pretty, oversized tapestry from Society6 is a quick-and-easy headboard solution for your rental home. Plus, when you hang it using a couple of clear thumbtacks, it will cause a very minimal amount of damage to the walls.