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Damage-Free Decorating Tips for Washington, D.C., Rental Properties

updating your rental property in dcMany renters fall into stylistic ruts when they move into their new Washington DC apartments because they feel stifled creatively and do not think they can make their houses a home. Thanks to innovations in home decorating, it is now easier than ever to display your creativity for your Washington, D.C. apartment, so you feel more comfortable in your space while displaying your style.

If you want to personalize your space without violating your renter’s agreement or your lease, look no further; we have helpful tips on how to decorate your D.C. rental property, damage-free.

1. Go Nail Free

Artwork, photographs, clocks, decorative signs, and other wall decor are all great ways to display your unique personality in your apartment. However, most of the time, renters find that they must pay a fee after they have used nails to hang up their beloved memories and artwork. Nails create divots in walls and can sometimes chip off large portions of drywall, meaning the landlord or property manager must cover said hole/damage and repaint the wall.

Instead of hammering, why not try an alternative option? Thanks to new developments in wall-hanging technology, you can easily hang anything you want with Command Strips from the 3M company. Not only are you able to hang a multitude of different decorations using a removable adhesive, but your walls also won’t end up damaged.

Another fun option is to use your social media photos and convert them into removable picture tiles that are ready to hang. One such company, Mixtiles, is simple and affordable, and the tiles can make a fun collage effect. This particular brand allows for multiple hangings on one adhesive strip, so you can switch pictures around as you see fit.

Be sure to follow the package instructions carefully for installation and removal, as well as take note of weight restrictions, so your decorations and personal items don’t fall unexpectedly. If your paintings or framed photos are too heavy to hang, propping the piece on top of a mantle will suffice. If a mantle is not available, an easel (as simple or ornate as you would like) can be a more modern-looking way to display artwork.

2. Add Some Flair to the Walls

Painting a wall might seem like an impossibility in an apartment, but some rental properties allow personal touches such as custom paint. Some property owners will permit their renters to paint a color of their choosing, just so long as it is repainted with the original color when the occupancy ends. Sometimes a property owner will be so happy with the paint color change, they will allow it to stay without penalty. The best course of action is to ask first rather than ask for forgiveness (and pay a fee!) later. Whatever you and your landlord agree upon, make sure it is in writing, so both parties understand their rights and responsibilities.

If your property owner isn’t letting you paint the walls, never fear! Temporary wallpaper is available in many stores and can cover up an undesirable wall color. Another option is peel-and-stick removable decals. You can use large decals to create a mural effect, and smaller ones can give a custom wallpaper look.

3. Do Something with Those Boring Old Floors

While full-scale carpet and hardwood floor removal might not be an option in your Washington, D.C. apartment building, there are ways around this. Whether it is an old, worn carpet or scuffed hardwood floors, you do not have to settle for or look at them for your whole tenancy.

Removable tile floors can cover pre-existing laminate or tile floors, giving you a great way to give your floors your own personal style. Another benefit of removable tile is to further protect the existing flooring from damage, ensuring you keep your security deposit when you leave.

It is important that before you use this decorating tip for your D.C. apartment, you first test the materials on a small piece of floor to see if damage occurs. It is possible some floor materials will not be ideal for removable flooring options. You can also consult with the salesperson while purchasing to see what they suggest for your particular floor.

Modern rugs are also a fun way to spruce up your space and cover unsightly floors and are what many consider a must. You can easily cover existing stains from previous tenants with rugs in bold, colorful patterns while protecting the flooring from further wear and tear.

4. Update Those Old Light Fixtures and Hardware

Landlords value the safety and overall maintenance of a building more than anything else, which means they likely do not have the time or capital to invest in costly decorations when more durable, long-lasting (and less expensive) options exist. If you are unhappy with lighting fixtures or hardware such as cabinet handles and window blinds, there are temporary options to satisfy even those with the most discerning taste.

As always, make sure to ask your landlord’s permission to install new fixtures or hardware and make sure to save the original pieces so you can replace them when your tenancy in your Washington, D.C. apartment ends without incurring a fee or damaging the property.

It is possible, in some cases, that your landlord is pleased with your design change and gives you a rental credit for helping to update their property, which saves you money while you are upgrading your rental property in D.C.

Understand Parameters and Talk with the Property Owner

Washington, D.C. apartment living does not have to be a soulless, dull affair with bare, neutral-colored walls; you can have your personality and style throughout your new home without compromising your security deposit or lease agreement. Make sure to review your leasing agreement and contract to make sure you know exactly what parameters you need to work within, as well as start a dialogue with your landlord about intended changes. As a good rule, make sure you and the property owner agree about everything in writing for proof should a miscommunication or misunderstanding arise.

What are you waiting for? Start decorating your Washington, D.C., apartment space today! Contact our Washington D.C. property management company today to find your luxury D.C. apartment!