Can You Decorate Your Rental Without Landlord Permission?

Sure, there’s rules and regulations when you’re renting. But just because you live in a rental home doesn’t mean you have to settle for living in a home designed for someone else’s style. As long as you’re working within the boundaries set by your landlord, you can get quite creative so that your living space looks super stylish and a little more “you”.  

Obviously, making any major modifications or structural alterations aren’t possible. But you can focus on decorative changes to things like window treatments, adding rugs, or hanging pictures. Even little things like a potted plant or new light fixture can have a maximum impact on the design without breaking rental rules and won’t cost much in money or time. And, the best part about these top decorating hacks is that the entire list ensures that you’ll get your security deposit back whenever you decide to move up and out!

Before You Start

Even though these decoration ideas won’t cause any irreversible damage to the property, it’s still a good idea to discuss these plans with your real estate or landlord. Not only will it show that you care about their property, but it also shines a light on anything that’s outdated or looking drab. You never know, they may even be willing to give you a helping hand or even pay for them.

Some owners may be comfortable with all of the changes you’re suggesting but want everything back to normal before you move out. If that’s the case, everything that you disassemble or remove will need to be clearly labeled and then carefully stored somewhere that’s free from damp or dust, whether they’re curtains, door locks, or light fittings.

Green Spaces

Indoor green spaces have been trending on the interior decoration scene recently because not only do plants purify the air, but they can make any space instantly feel more homely. Indoor plants add a touch of nature with beautiful color, warmth, and an added sense of calm and serenity.

Bring in some oversized planter baskets with some lush and tropical foliage for a real eye-catching statement inside. A few potted plants will bring life to your living area, plus they’re an excellent idea if you live in a unit or apartment without a backyard. Go wild, because they can be easily packed up and taken with you whenever you decide to move again.

Another excellent non-permanent idea to bring life into your rental home is the addition of a potted veggie garden outside. Or a fantastic way to add some color to your kitchen is with an indoor herb garden in your kitchen. These are both smart ways to bring your space to life with the added benefits of saving money on groceries and healthy eating!

Smart Storage

Because you obviously can’t remove walls to install cupboards or custom cabinets in a rental property, look to furniture to create some additional storage space. A cheap flatpack cube unit may be suitable, with some pretty and practical baskets and some photo frames, keepsakes, or knick-knacks to make it feel a little more homely.

Use any pokey corners or tucked-away areas for customized freestanding storage that may suit your needs. In the living room, sofas and footstools often also offer some extra built-in storage, whereas bench carts, trolleys, and shelves in the kitchen give added style and increased space for functional storage.

Ultimately, if you do have lots of old junk lying around, consider cleaning them out and putting the remainder inside storage space. So much can be reused or repurposed these days too, which means they will never go to waste.


With any luck, your rental will have a few hooks or nails in the wall which you can take advantage of. If not, you can avoid putting holes in walls by getting some removable command hooks or tape. If there’s simply no space for art, you can place it on the top of bookshelves, or if it’s a large piece of art, you can even put it on the floor leaning against the wall.

Sometimes all it takes to transform a dreary looking rental into a charming home without breaking the bank is by simply hanging a little art on the walls. Pair a few quirky items from the Sunday markets with a vintage advertising print from a garage sale on a tray to create a cohesive little vignette.

Otherwise, you can save up and spend a little money on a statement piece of art. Choose a work with a broad color palette so it can move with you, and then base the rest of your art aesthetics on this. This is one of the best ways to inject your personality into your home without a disorganized or cluttered feel.


Lighting is the best way to set the mood of your home. Lighting really dictates how each space feels, especially in rental places which often don’t have enough natural light coming in. Remember that you don’t need permission to remove the lightbulbs that were fitted when you signed the lease, so feel free to replace any bulbs that are too dim. Once you’ve upgraded your bulbs, some simple lighting changes to your bathroom can give your bathroom a timeless look.

If you’re stuck with horrible fluorescents in some rooms, get yourself some floor lamps and clamp lights and place them strategically throughout. Floor lights in corners help create a nice ambience, whereas clamp lights create little pockets of functional light for activities like reading. These lamps usually cast a much softer light with a more flattering glow than ceiling lights, and they also double as pieces of art that can easily be attached and removed before you move out without a trace.

Window Dressing

To hide ugly walls or blinds, or just to soften the look of any room, simply hang some new cordless blinds or Venetians, some beautiful sheer drapes, or some textured blackout curtains. If you don’t want to or aren’t allowed to screw hooks into walls, just get yourself a spring-loaded curtain rod from the local hardware.

If you really have your heart set on some new shutters, talk to your landlord or real estate agent if they’d be prepared to go halves in the cost of them. It really would be a win/win situation because you’d enjoy them while you lived there, and they’d get to keep the shutters when you eventually decide to leave.


Flooring usually provides the largest area of color in any room, and most rental carpets are almost exclusively bland and drab. Any change to flooring will make a huge overall difference to the look and the feel of your home. Simply by investing in a large, good quality, and beautiful plush rug, you can instantly glam up a room in your current rental and move with you to everyone in the future.

Remember to use some non-slip underlay underneath to prevent the rug from sliding around at all, even if it’s going onto the carpet. The added bonus with a quality rug is that the carpet is also protected from wear and tear, which you and your wallet may be very grateful for when the lease is up, and it’s time for getting your bond back.

While structural changes and large-scale renovations are typically off-limits, there’s plenty of changes that you can make with and without approval from your landlord. Even better, most alterations won’t cost a lot of cash or time. This is just a taste of the many superficial ways you can reinvent your rental home. All it takes is just a little dash of creativity.