Renting: Decorating Do’s and Don’ts

decoratingYou have just dragged the very last cardboard box across the creaking hardwood floorboards. Congratulations! You have officially moved into your new home – rented, that is. After all, there’s not a chance you’re going to stay in this quaint apartment with peeling wallpaper forever.

But just because you’re staying here temporarily, does not mean you should give up on decorating! It’s always a good idea to add a few personal touches to make your home feel warmer and cosier.

And when it comes to decorating a rented place, there are a few things you should be aware of. Here are 14 do’s and don’ts of decorating a rented place:

 1. DO decorate your rented home

Not only will an apartment devoid of decor give house guests the impression that you’re about to flee the country, the last thing you want is to come home and be greeted by four bare walls.
Hang some family photographs, pictures of places you’ve visited or of things you to bring your house to life. A home should make you feel warm– no matter how temporary that home may be!


This is what your home could look like. Heaps better than an empty room, eh? Photo by tommerton2010 / CC BY


2. DON’T install permanent features

You are after all, renting.

What if your landlord is extremely mean and decides to take advantage of your new kitchen installation? Now that you’ve done him the massive favour of revamping the kitchen, he may just decide that it’s time to increase the rent! And while we’re on the topic, just know that even nice landlords may increase their rent periodically – seasoned renters should know this!


3. DO read over your rental agreement before making permanent changes

The hole you’re about to drill may be the size of a push pin, but do me a favour and quickly double check your rental agreement.

Usually, the document you signed requires the house to be returned in the same good condition you received it in. Of course no one will ever notice these tiny holes especially if you cover it with an artistic canvas. But if your landlord finds out….uh oh!

It is a lot less fun having to work within limits, but hey, it will definitely challenge you to become more creative!


4. DON’T make outrageous changes to the exterior

As much as you want to paint the house red like your dream house, your landlord will not appreciate it. You also don’t want the old lady next door to get a heart attack every time she sees your shockingly bright red paint job!

insurance form

Insurance may seem expensive and unnecessary, but if anything happens, you’ll be glad to have it!


5. DO take out Renter’s Insurance

Why? Because your landlord’s insurance does not cover your personal belongings!

So if (god forbid!) fires or natural disasters attack your home, you won’t be able to claim compensation unless you have taken out insurance.

Trust me, it’s worth it in the long run.


6. DON’T put up new wallpaper

That floral printed wallpaper may be the perfect complement to the new couch you’ve bought, but really, don’t bother.  Chances are you’ll need to strip everything down when you move out to restore everything back to its original boring pale wallpaper state.

If you are desperate to cover up the boring wallpaper, go for wall decals – they’re easy to use and can be ripped off and stuck on as many times as you want!


7. DO bargain shop

When you eventually move out, there will be possessions that you would have grown to love but would be unable to take.

Always look around for great deals. That way your wallet won’t be crying over the $9000 state-of-the-art purple leather sofa you’re forced to leave behind because your spouse does not want that “monstrosity” in your new house.


8. DON’T pick up furniture from off the streets

It’s a FREE couch, who wouldn’t want it!?

For starters, you have absolutely no idea where it once lived! That smell of chocolate chip cookies may remind you of your nanna, but it may be also be the scent of a smelly man who never showered and only ate plate after plate of chocolate chip cookies.
Besides the couch may have been disposed because of more sinister reasons like lice, bugs, termites and other icky infestations that you certainly do not want to introduce into your rented home.

free furniture

It may be free, and it may look clean….but please, just resist the temptation


9. DO work out who keeps what furniture

If you’re renting with another person, it’s best to work out now who gets to keep what. You can always leave this discussion till when you actually move out but be warned, broken tables and smashed dishes may ensue if you’re both fighting over who keeps the new 110-inch flat screen TV.


10. DON’T drill too many holes into the wall

The last thing you want is to have to fill in the fifty billion holes with cement just to be able to return the house to a condition that your landlord deems acceptable. A good way to bypass hole-drilling is to use hooks (which can be easy to remove depending on the brand you use) or blu-tacks!


11. DO set a budget

How much can you afford? And how much are you willing to spend? Remember, this isn’t permanent so it may not be wise to take out a 10 year loan to make a swimming pool, only to have to return the house at the end of the year.

living room

Rugs and bright colours can easily lighten up you a room! Photo: Sonja Lovas


12. DON’T replace the floor tiles

Again, it’s something that you cannot take with you. If you do want to brighten up your floor, opt for rugs and carpets.

The best part? You can change these as often as you want in accordance with your mood!


13. DO check out the current condition of the apartment

Signs of decay alert you of underlying problems that need to be fixed. For example, mouldy furniture or large air bubble bumps lurking beneath the wallpaper may be signs of leaks in the house.

Rotting wood on the dining table may indicate a termite infestation.Does the wooden floorboard in the corner look a bit damp and dewy? Sadly, it’s not an artistic touch the last tenant added intentionally.

If you do notice any problems, either ask your landlord to fix the problem or get it fixed before decorating over it. Just because you cover it up, out of sight does not mean out of mind.

These hidden troubles WILL come back to haunt you!


14. DO have fun

Decorating is fun. It’s a way to express yourself and it should not be something that makes you want to pull your hair out!

So those are all the things that you should and should not do when it comes to decorating your rented place. While you are strongly encouraged to exercise creativity, you are also strongly recommended not to do anything that might make your landlord too angry.

Happy decorating!


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