Decorating Rented House: Do’s and Dont’s

  • By: Peter Parker
  • Time to read: 7 min.

We all want to live in a house that reflects our personality and taste.

  • Hang a picture, 
  • Paint the walls,
  • Change the wallpaper
  • Fix a shelf. 

While we can do it without any worry in our own homes, decorating a rental home is a challenge. 

Living in a home with a lackluster interior, cheap flooring and bad furniture can be difficult, especially if you plan to stay for a long term.

Personalizing the space with some interesting decor that reflects your taste will make you feel at home and comfortable. 

Most landlords do not allow tenants to make changes to the property without their consent. Tenants must follow certain rules and regulations while decorating a rental house.

If you do not follow the rules set by the landlord while decorating the house, it may be considered as causing property damage. 

The regulations about decorating the house are mentioned in the lease document.

Apart from these rules, some landlords also make it necessary to take their permission before you start making any changes to the property. 

Here are some dos and don’ts of decorating a rented house. Follow these rules and you are all set to decorate the house without breaking the lease or upsetting your landlord. 

Things to consider before you start decorating the rented house

1. Refer to the rental lease agreement 

The first thing to do is to refer to the lease agreement. See what is allowed and what is not. This will enable you to have a fair idea of how to go about the decoration.

Most of the leases mandate that you take the landlord’s written permission before making any changes. 

The law states that the landlord must not unreasonably withhold permission.

For example, while it is unreasonable to ask for permission to alter the structure of the property,  asking for permission to put up some cabinets, or to install a wall-mount television is a reasonable request and the landlord cannot say No.

However, you have to remove the cabinets, pictures, or TV and fill up the holes before you move out. 

2. Communicate with the landlord 

Clear communication with the landlord will help you to explain your concerns and the need to decorate the home. Sometimes, you can get more than you ask for when you talk directly to the landlord.

 If you can convince the landlord that the improvements can add value to the property, you can easily get their consent.

It is important to get written permission to protect your deposit and avoid legal troubles when you vacate the property. 

Tips to decorate a rented house: what you can do to decorate the rented house 

Invest in modular furniture:

Modular furniture can be easily rearranged to suit the space and your needs. Invest in modular sofas, chairs, storage units, etc. which are budget-friendly and easy to move when you shift houses. 

Use accessories:

The landlords do not permit tenants to make permanent changes, however, you can make small changes to improve the aesthetics of the home.

For example, you can buy accessories like area rugs, fancy light fixtures and small knick knacks to revamp the interiors. 

Buy fresh linens:

Changing linens can instantly lift the look of a room. A new set of bed linens can alter the visuals of the bedroom and give it a luxurious feel.

Choose the prints and designs to match your personality. In the same way, a pretty tablecloth can brighten the dining room as well as protect the table from wear and tear. 

Decals and removable wallpapers:

Decals are a great way to cover stained tiles or brighten faded walls. You can brighten the rooms, bring in some color, or add personality to the walls by using removable wallpapers or decals.

Remove wallpapers come in a variety of designs and colors. They are easy to install and can be removed without any damage to the wall. 

Add greenery:

House plants are the best bet to beautify your home without damaging the property. They not only beautify the interior but also purify the air and reduce your carbon footprint.

Place beautiful plants, succulents, flowers, etc. strategically all over the room to make it fresh and bright. You can also grow a window sill herb garden in the kitchen to spruce up the kitchen and grow organic herbs. 

Things to avoid while decorating a rented house: Dont’s

Don’t paint the walls:

You have to take written consent from the landlord if you want to paint the walls. The majority of the landlords will not allow tenants to change the wall paint. Painting the walls without consent will be counted as property damage and you may lose the security deposit. 

Even when the landlord allows you to paint the walls, always stick to neutral colors and discuss the options with the landlord before you start painting. 

No major renovations:

Tenants cannot alter the structure and exterior of the rental property. If any changes are required, discuss the issues with the landlord and request him to make the necessary changes or take written consent for major renovations.

However, undertake major renovations only when you are sure of renting the house for a long duration.  

Avoid heavy furniture and permanent fixtures:

Heavy furniture is not only expensive, but it may also damage the property and is difficult to move around.

In the same way, installing permanent fixtures can be a risky proposition if the landlord wants you to remove them when you leave the property. 

There is a higher risk of damaging the house as well as your furniture when uninstalling and transporting. Postpone investing in heavy furniture until you move into your own house. 

Do not hang frames using strong adhesives:

Hanging photo frames or art on the walls helps to elevate the aesthetics of the room. However, using adhesives such as velcro, tape, or blue tack can damage the walls and pose a risk of losing your security deposit.

If you want to display art or photo frames, lean them on the wall, or use innovative solutions such as hanging strips or damage-free tape to hang them. 

Decorating a rented house is not as challenging as it seems to be when you are clear with the dos and don’ts.

Clear communication with the landlord is the first step in the process as it will help you to know what you are allowed to do and what you are not.

Small accessories such as area rugs, throws, and pillows, houseplants, light fixtures, etc. can instantly spruce up the look of any room. 


1. Can you put things on the wall in a rental?

Most landlords allow their tenants to hang pictures on the walls. However, you must fill the holes to return the wall to its original condition when you leave the property. It is advisable to speak to your landlord and get written consent before you put things like photo frames or artwork on the wall. 

2. What are the rules for decorating walls?

The rules for decorating the walls in your rented home are mentioned in the lease document. You have to closely read the document before you start decorating the walls. 

Most landlords allow tenants to do minor changes that do not alter the structure of the home. However, it is essential to get the landlord’s written permission before you do any decoration on the walls. 

  • You can drill holes to hang pictures or artwork
  • Use removable wallpaper or decals to improve the aesthetic appeal
  • Hang mirrors and shelves 
  • Use removable or vinyl backsplash on the kitchen tiles

3. How do you hang things on a wall?

There is no need to fret if your landlord does not allow drilling holes in the walls. There are many renter-friendly ways to hang things on a wall. 

  • Use adhesive-backed tapes such as washi tapes, picture-hanging strips, or adhesive hangers
  • Use monkey hooks 
  • Use tall furniture as a base to lean frames or artwork against the wall
  • Use tension rods to hang lighter articles
  • Use the leaning technique to display picture frames or artwork
  • Use freestanding easels to display artwork 

4. Can I drill holes in the wall in a rental home?

You cannot drill holes in the wall unless the landlord permits you to do so. If you drill holes without permission, the landlord can deem them as property damage and use your security deposit to repair the wall.

Generally, landlords allow tenants to drill small holes to hang picture frames and artwork. However, you have to fill up the holes before vacating the property. 

5. How much can the landlord charge for holes in the wall?

The amount the landlord can charge for holes in the wall depends on the extent of the damage.

How big are the holes, the expenses incurred to repair the wall, the type of holes, the cost of repainting the wall, and the time taken to complete the job?

It can be anywhere between a few hundred to thousand dollars.