Humans have a special way of making the place they live, regardless of the circumstances, into a home. However, renters often struggle with finding the balance between personalizing their space and getting their security deposit back.
As a renter, there are certain limitations to what you can do in your home. Here are some strategies and tips for decorating your rental house without losing a deposit.
Read Your Lease
Before you do anything else, read through your lease with a fine-tooth comb. The majority of the lease document will be boilerplate about your terms and agreements, a copy of your previous landlord reference letter, and contact information for your new landlord. However, there may be a section that tells you what you can and cannot do to your rental property.
If the lease doesn’t clearly state what is and isn’t allowed, reach out to your landlord and ask. Many landlords allow for simple changes, like a fresh coat of paint, so long as you return the rental to its original state. Be sure to get all conversations in writing to protect your interests when your lease ends.
Negotiate Improvement Terms with Landlord
Some landlords have aspirations to purchase a rental property, improve it over time, and sell it for a return down the road. This goal could be an opportunity for you to make cosmetic improvements and upgrades to the rental space on their behalf.
For example, you might be granted a budget with which to install ready-to-assemble cabinets (try here for a complete selection) or replace dated fixtures. The landlord may choose to collect receipts and take the changes off your rent.
Not all landlords will be open to this idea. However, if you’re someone with handy skills, it’s worth a shot to ask. Again, make sure you get everything in writing and clarify what is and is not allowed regarding changes and budget.
Create Eye-Catching Wall Displays
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to personalize and decorate your home without making any significant changes. One of the best ways to decorate your rental house is to create eye-catching wall displays.
Find photos and pieces of art that showcase your unique personality and style. You can use these pieces in each area to set the tone for the room. Get creative with your arrangements, opting for gallery walls, single statement pieces, leaned photos, etc.
Instead of relying on the typical prints and paintings, you can also create wall displays with things like mirrors, hats, books, etc. Remember to review your lease and clarify the rules surrounding fixtures. Many leases allow for finishing nails. If yours does not, invest in some high-quality adhesive wall hooks.
Interior design isn’t just about how the room looks; it’s about how it feels. Textiles are a great way to add dimension to the room and bring color into the decor without making changes to the rental. The key focal points should be pillows, curtains, throw blankets, and rugs. You can also look into tapestries as an alternative to prints and photos for your art decor.
Swap out the cheap plastic blinds with printed roman blinds or lush curtains. Add a comfortable throw rug and coordinating pillows to your living room or bedroom to add a sense of comfort and warmth.
Interior designers love to mix different textiles and patterns together for an artfully mismatched look and feel that brings any room to life. Fortunately, high-quality curtains and rugs are easy to carry over into your next home if you choose not to continue your lease.
Try Removable Wallpaper
Removable wallpaper is a fantastic option for renters who aren’t allowed to paint. You can use these decals to create a stunning accent wall or backsplash. These wallpaper options come in a variety of colors and patterns, including photorealistic bricks and marble.
It’s essential that you do plenty of research and read lots of online reviews before purchasing removable wallpaper. The cheaper brands might not be as removable as the name indicates.
If the full wall of removable wallpaper isn’t worth the risk, you can create simple geometric designs and patterns on an accent wall using washi tape.
Incorporate Plant Life
One of the best ways to decorate any home is with live plants. These beautiful pieces look great while adding a literal breath of fresh air to your rental. This is an ideal strategy if you have a rental with south-facing windows.
If you have a proverbial “black thumb,” look for low-maintenance plants, like snake plants and aloe, as they’re hard to kill. There are also plenty of apps to help remind you when to water your plants and to teach you the secrets you need to keep them alive.
If you have pets, take some time to research which plants are toxic to them before buying anything. There are many plants that are non-harmful to humans but can cause a severe reaction in dogs and cats.
Focus on Lighting Quality
The lighting quality in a room can transform the space into something beautiful. While having plenty of natural light is ideal, access will ultimately depend on the structure of your rental house.
One of the best ways to bring more natural light inside without losing your deposit is to hang mirrors. Well-placed mirrors and reflective surfaces reflect the light throughout your home, making it appear brighter and more spacious.
You can also add a variety of lamps and bulb wattage options to alter the room to suit your mood. For example, the bedroom might have a plain, contractor’s light overhead, but you can make it feel warmer and more welcoming with small lamps on your bedside table.
Make Temporary Changes
Finally, consider what other changes you can make that you can change back later. Things like light fixtures, faucets, and hardware can be swapped out temporarily and put back to normal before you leave. Keep in mind that making these changes does run some risks, so consider this option carefully before proceeding.
With these simple decorating tips, you can make your rental house feel like home without losing your deposit.