Top 9 Ways to Decorate as a Renter

Ah, home sweet home! You’ve moved into your new rental and can’t wait to start adding personal touches – but when it comes time to move out, you don’t want to be left scrambling to repaint, spackle, and repair an entire unit to get your security deposit back. So what can you do? These nine renter-friendly decorating ideas are the perfect way to personalize your new home and still leave without a trace when it’s time for your next adventure.

Personalize Your Space, Damage-Free


1. Add color to your space with peel & stick wallpaper.


This is one of the most popular renter-friendly ideas and for good reason! With peel-and-stick wallpaper, you can fully transform your space without causing any damage to the walls or needing to repaint before the move-out day. Cover an entire room, use peel and sticks decals to add pops of color, or go wild with entire peel-and-stick murals… the options are truly endless! 


Pro Tip: Before you get started, be sure to double-check your lease terms! You may be responsible for removing your DIYs and restoring your space back to its original condition — or on the hook financially for any damages. 


2. Use Command Strips to hang wall art and mirrors without damage.


No nails? No problem. These renter-friendly adhesive strips can be used to hang photos, art, mirrors, and anything else you can think of without any damage to your walls. Some strips can even hold up to 20 pounds! Don’t let drab, blank walls suck the life out of your room. Stock up on Command Strips and get hanging. Be sure to follow the instructions for removal when swapping out your pieces or getting ready for move-out day to avoid wall dinks and damages. 


Artwork too large or heavy for damage-free hanging strips? Get creative! Prop up pieces and create beautiful vignette displays. Display framed artwork or decorative mirrors on console tables, on top of bookshelves, or on sideboards for an on-trend alternative to hanging. 


3. Give your kitchen and bathrooms a makeover with peel & stick tile.


The peel-and-stick gurus have truly thought of everything. Not happy with the unsightly tile floor in the bathroom or the chipped backsplash in the kitchen that is rapidly showing its age? Cover it all up with peel-and-stick tiles that are designed for this very purpose. There are waterproof and heat-resistant options that are ideal for these spaces.


Like with peel-and-stick wallpaper, be sure to double check your lease prior to getting to work on peel and stick tile. Your individual lease terms may mean you have to clean up completely afterwards, could get stuck with a damages bill when you move out  — or may explicitly prevent you from tackling this DIY update overall. 


4. Embrace any and every opportunity to add personality.


The fact of the matter is that you may not be able to make over your rented space as much as you’d like to… but that just means you shouldn’t pass up any renter-friendly opportunity to express your creativity. Infuse your personality even into the necessities, from your shower curtain to your bedside lamp. When you’re renting, it can be all in the details: accent pillows, colorful storage baskets, dish towels, bath mats – you get the point!


5. Dress up furniture and walls using washi tape.


Similar to peel-and-stick wallpaper, washi tape is a non-damaging way to get creative with the blank space in your home. Create washi “confetti” on your wall, use strips of tape to create visual frames around wall art, add colorful stripes to built-in shelves,and create geometric designs across your walls – it can be used for just about anything. When in doubt, you’ll have no trouble getting inspiration from washi enthusiasts online!


Of course, it’s important to check your apartment or furniture rental agreement before going wild with washi – if you aren’t able to clean off any accidental residue, you might get stuck paying a fee.


6. Cozy up your floors with plush, decorative rugs.


Ugly, old, or otherwise unappealing flooring can be a hard factor to work around, but massive area rugs can do the trick. Take careful measurements of your space and have fun with rugs covering as much flooring as possible while adding warmth and character. Better yet: adding rugs will reduce the noise within your apartment – like footsteps and music – so you’ll have happy neighbors!


7. Make it feel like home with furniture rental.


When you know your living situation is temporary, it may not seem realistic or feasible to purchase high-quality furniture that fits your style and personality. With CORT, you can curate a furniture package that checks all your boxes without the long-term commitment of purchasing. Plus, CORT will take care of delivery, set-up, and, eventually, pick-up – so all you’ll need to worry about on move-out day is peeling off all that washi tape.


Furniture rental is a great alternative to furnished rentals — you’ll have the freedom to select comfortable, stylish furnishings that look and feel like you. Not to mention, removing the roadblock of furniture allows you to expand your rental home or apartment search. Furniture rental allows you to choose whichever rental space you’d like instead of being constricted by “furnished-only” searches, allowing you to prioritize what matters to you: location, walkability, amenities, comfort, and beyond. 


Found the perfect place and it’s unfurnished? Your apartment community may be a CORT partner. Inquire with your apartment community, or work directly with our team to create a space that suits your needs and your style. 


8. Update any hardware, like knobs and pulls.


While you can’t exactly replace the cabinetry in the kitchen, you can give it an easy makeover by swapping out the cabinet knobs and pulls. You can typically find budget-friendly options online that fit any style, including quirky shapes like animals and food. Replacing the current hardware is an easy task for even the most DIY-phobic renters and simply requires a screwdriver. Whatever you do, just don’t forget where you put the original hardware! Stow it away in a safe place in a labeled bag or container to ensure you get your deposit back at a later date.


If the current kitchen cabinets can’t be saved with new knobs, look into vinyl cabinet wrap. Similar peel and stick wallpaper, these vinyl wraps have non-damaging adhesive backs so you can transform your cabinet doors without any permanent measures.


9. Add some open shelving with nail-free wall ledges.


Floating shelves are a great way to decorate your walls and add a bit of storage to your space, and fortunately, there are plenty of renter friendly, adhesive options on the market. Use your open shelving to add more functional space in your kitchen or bathroom, create a bedside “table” that doesn’t require any floor space, or to simply display more decor


Make sure you aren’t loading those shelves down with heavy objects, though. Adhesives can’t support as much weight as a nailed or bolted shelf, and if they fall, could cause damage to the wall.


Turn Your Rental Into a Home with CORT


When you’re renting, it can be difficult to decorate your home. Making a rental feel like your own space comes with the constant feeling of impermanence and fear of leaving damage that may result in not getting your security deposit back. It’s important to settle into your space so that you have a comfortable space to call home, no matter how temporary.

Renting doesn’t mean that you can’t have great furniture, though! Find high-quality pieces that match your personal style at CORT and turn any space into your home. Furnishing your new home with CORT is simple: build your package online or in-store, set a delivery date, and relax! Once it comes time for you to move out, we’ll pick the furniture up. The best part? It’ll be like you never lived there. Visit your local CORT showroom today to start building your furniture package.

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