10 Ways to Decorate Your Rented Home (Without Losing Your Deposit)

If you live in a rented home, it can feel quite restricted when it comes to redecorating to your taste and making it feel like home. Obviously, some landlords are more flexible than others, so if they will let you paint, then go for it!!

If not, then here are a few tips on how you can easily add colour and personality to your rented home without having to paint everything white again before you leave or losing your security deposit…

1. Hang some beautiful art!

You can buy original art, but this can be expensive… If you are on a budget, you could buy some prints (try society6.com for affordable prints), and if you are on a really teeny budget, you could always frame a calendar like Cyndy from The Creativity Exchange– See the full post HERE. If you can’t drill holes in the walls, then you can use velcro strips or these Command picture hanging strips.

2. Removable wallpaper.

This is a brilliant option- particularly for children’s rooms, as it is easy to apply, and it’s easily removed without damaging the walls. You can also use it to jazz up wardrobes, cupboards, and furniture! Dunelm have some great designs, as well as designs by featured artists.

3. Paint doors/ picture frames to add colour.

If the thought of re-painting the walls back to the original colour before you leave the property is a little too much, then painting picture frames, mirrors or doors is a great way to add colour to a room. With the doors, you will still have to paint them back to their original colour before you leave, but as it’s such a small area, it will be something you can easily do in an afternoon. I painted the bedroom door in this room makeover and it really brightened up the room when the walls had to stay a neutral colour.

4. Cushions and Throws.

Cushions can make a huge improvement to any bed or sofa. If your rented home is furnished and you can’t change the sofa, then a throw and some gorgeous cushions can go a long way! I normally shop at Homesense for cushions, as they are really high quality, and affordable. I prefer feather cushions as they are nicer to sink into on the sofa, but each to their own. The cushions below are some of my favourite designs from Society 6. I love the bright, playful designs! These cushions are great for jazzing up boring armchairs and sofas, and can be mixed with plain cushions in similar shades.

5. Curtains

Don’t like the curtains in your furnished flat?? Bag them up, and either hide them away or give them back to the landlord. If you have to keep the walls in a neutral colour, you can be a bit more adventurous with the curtains! It’s definitely worth buying new curtains that you love, and when you move, you can either take them with you or pop them on eBay.
I love these curtains from Urban Outfitters – they let in a lot of light even when they are drawn while still allowing privacy. If you need complete darkness in your bedroom, you can always pop a blackout blind behind the curtain for at night.

6. Wall Decals

These are another really cheap and easy way to decorate a child’s room. They are so easy to stick on and come off cleanly without damaging the paint on the walls. The best ones I have seen are these amazing Bee stickers in a nursery tour over on Apartment Therapy which you are available (here) on Etsy.

7. Wall Hangings

Wall hangings are a really cute way to hide something ugly, bohemian style! If you have a hideous thermostat or a stain on the wall, just cover it up. A large wall hanging can also look amazing over a bed! You can easily make your own- here is the tutorial for the one below from A Beautiful Mess

8. Paint Furniture.

Obviously, this one will only work if you have your own furniture; otherwise, your landlord might be a bit upset… Anyway, this is another really cheap and easy way to add colour to a space without actually painting the walls. The easiest paint to use (in my opinion) is Frenchic Paint. You don’t need to use a primer; you can just paint it straight onto any surface!! The lovely coral dresser below is from the sweetest Mexico-inspired nursery over at layercakelets.com

9. Rugs

Ok, so this is a pretty obvious one, but not enough people use rugs! Soft sheepskin rugs next to the bed are sooo nice, and you can use larger rugs in your living area to define the spaces (sitting, dining etc.)

10. Lighting

Another obvious one, but so many people don’t seem to bother with lighting other than ceiling pendant lights! Make the most of table lamps and floor lamps- as you can take these with you when you move. The simple gold lamp below (Image from Stephanie Sterjovski) works so perfectly with the white bedding and walls, it looks so clean and bright!

I think regardless of how long you are planning to stay somewhere, you should always make your home feel like your own little sanctuary 🙂

If you have any other tips, please share them in the comments below!

Have a lovely weekend!

Emily Brookes
Emily Brookes

Emily Brookes is an Interior Designer based in the UK. Since graduating from the National Design Academy with a Bachelors Degree in Interior Design, Emily started her successful blog, Emily May Designs, which shares ideas and inspiration on how to create a beautiful home.


    • January 18, 2015 / 8:57 pm

      Thanks, Danielle! I love the art too, can't believe that was a calendar!
      Emily xx

  1. January 21, 2015 / 4:17 pm

    Some fantastic ideas, love the calendar-framing idea and the temporary wallpaper! I think some colourful candles also brighten up any room and make it feel instantly more homey 🙂


    • January 21, 2015 / 6:38 pm

      Ooh I love candles too! They make any space feel cosy and homely hehe 🙂
      Thanks for reading hun!
      Emily xx

  2. January 25, 2015 / 10:25 am

    Thanks, Bee! I'm so glad you found this post useful 🙂 Good luck redecorating- I'd love to see pictures when you're all done!
    Thanks so much for reading!
    Emily xx

  3. January 25, 2015 / 1:03 pm

    I'm glad you like the post! I know, landlords can be a pain the the a**!! if you want to hang pictures I would definitely recommend the command hanging strips as they won't damage your walls at all!
    Emily xx

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