Decorating for Renters

Rental decorating is no easy task… you want to showcase your style just like everyone else, you just don’t happen to own the digs you are doing up! Depending on your rental agreement, you may not even be allowed to hang wall art with nails! Every decor item in a rental home needs to leave no trace, and that can make it tough to keep up with the decorating trends, or even to just fill your rooms with your personality stamp. No worries, we have some great solutions for you. From easy tips to full DIY projects, decorating for renters is not only possible, it can be really creative and satisfying! Remember, the  mother of invention is necessity!

Decorating for Renters



Walls –

Let’s face it, not being able to paint the walls is a renter’s biggest gripe. There are two ways to address this problem.

  • One – make your furnishings, accents and window coverings the star of the show. Pretend the walls are white on purpose. Yes, you can do it. Remember I said pretend!
  • Two – Use one of these great DIY rental wall ideas and make it work!

Washi tape for walls… you’ve seen this idea before on our site, but I wanted to include it here because it’s an easy and inexpensive temporary wall solution. ‘Design Sponge’ has these DIY washi tape picture frames, which work well for renters who can’t have holes in the walls. Just use double sided tape or poster putty to attach the photos within the “frames”.



‘While They Snooze’ added so much color, AND the ever trendy stripes to her girls’ room with this washi tape wall… You don’t even miss the painted wall!



Another great idea… DIY removable wallpaper! This DIY faux wallpaper project by ‘Chic California’ is fabric, and liquid starch! It is totally removable when you move out, and you really need to check out the site and see the before and after photos. Here’s another project from ‘Day to Day Wondements’…same idea, but her removable wallpaper was created using stenciled fabric that she “made” herself! Also check out the Pinterest pin for that project, because there are some great tips from readers in the comments about how to use a flour and water mixture instead of starch.


Decorating for Renters


Kitchen decorating for renters –

It’s tough when your cabinets are out of date, there is no backsplash (or worse, the backsplash is ugly), and the appliances are from the Depression era. Are there solutions? You bet! Check out these creative ideas…

Use chalkboard contact paper to cover cabinet front and backsplash, like in this Design Sponge kitchen makeover.




From Aunt Peaches, use removable wallpaper or contact paper and wallpaper the frig! Cool, huh?



Or go the easy route, and update your appliance with magnetic or peel and stick stainless steel appliance covers from Appliance Art. Pretty affordable, a dishwasher cover is less than $30…



‘Four Generations, One Roof’ shows you how to install a glass tile backsplash that is removable, and temporary!

Jessica Bruno, 191 Putnam Hill Road, Sutton, MA


Design Sponge shows us it’s easy to cover ugly or boring cabinet doors… Just use decorative paper or fabric, then wrap the front of the door. You could also cover a piece of cardboard cut to fit, then attach that to the front of the door with tape or velcro.


Last words of advice…

  • Remember, velcro and poster putty are your friend.
  • Color doesn’t have to be on the walls to be effective. Paint furniture, add colorful fabric, use wall art to add color!
  • If you can’t change it, you can usually disguise it.
  • Change out light fixtures (be sure to save the old ones so you can put them back when you move out!), it makes a huge difference in an outdated home.
  • In the case of an impossible disguise, have fun with it! Pink tile in the bathroom? Retro design!
Image Credits: Design Sponge, the wall sticker company., Design Sponge, While They Snooze, Chic California, modern parents messy kids, Aunt Peaches, Appliance Art, Four Generations, One Roof, Design Sponge

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure for more info.

Kathy Bates

Kathy Bates & Steve Bates (co-owners) – Woodard Bates Media LLC consisting of three blogs:, and

Kathy Bates’ previous writing credits include:

Former home decorating expert for Lifetime TV, Galtime and Country Woman Magazine.

Her book spent time at #1 on Amazon’s Home & Garden Topseller List in 2002.

Published or featured in numerous national publications, including:

Country Sampler’s Decorating Ideas magazine, Woman’s Day magazine, HGTV, The Wall Street Journal, CBS Marketwatch, Decorating Solutions magazine, Decorating Ideas magazine, The Seattle Times, Chicago Tribune, Kansas City News, The Oklahoman, Akron Beacon Journal, Pensacola News Journal and The Telegraph.


  1. Patricia
    September 2, 2014 / 11:51 am

    Where can I purchase washi tape?

    • Kathy Woodard
      September 23, 2014 / 8:23 am

      Craft stores or online…even Amazon has a good selection!

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