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How to Turn a Rental Property into a Home with Temporary Décor

How to Turn a Rental Property into a Home with Temporary Décor

Rental homes are a blank slate. It is best for landlords to offer broad appeal with neutral tones and minimal personal touches to appeals to the masses. However, for the tenant moving in, how can they add their style without risking damage or loss of their security deposit? Thanks to modern materials, a cozy home is possible with minimal to no effect on the surfaces of your rental property. Below we help you discover some quick, cost-effective, and most importantly, temporary decorating tips for your rental property.

The Best Temporary Design Ideas for Rental Properties

As we mentioned, landlords should air on the side of neutrals when it comes to rentals. To limit vacancy, your property must appeal to as many potential renters as possible. Paint colors should be in a calming color palette of tan, light grey, or soft green. Most lease agreements stipulate that the landlord should approve any changes to or painting of the unit with the stipulation to return it to its original state. Thankfully, several temporary décor options are perfectly acceptable for tenants to install themselves. These allow for both personal expression and easy removal, the best of both worlds!

  1. Go Bold with Adhesive Tiles
  2. Wallpaper Has Made a Comeback
  3. Light it Up
  4. Say Yes to Shelving
  5. Details Matter
  6. Not Stainless? No Problem
  7. Creative Contact Paper


Go Bold with Adhesive Tiles

Whether it is a quick backsplash to brighten a kitchen or an easy accent to make the bath more interesting, stick on tiles are a fantastic solution. These are applied directly to the clean surface of the existing tile and can easily peel off at lease end.

Wallpaper Has Made a Comeback 

Modern adhesive wallpaper, yes, no more glue and disastrous removal! Perfect for an accent wall or allover for a bold statement, it is easy to install and even easier to remove. Additionally, it comes in an endless variety of styles and patterns to suit any taste.

Light it Up 

Boring overhead lighting does not mean the room cannot be attractive. Do not underestimate the statement a great lamp, sculptural sconce, or added gallery lighting can make. Lamps immediately make a space feel cozy and offer a perfect way to showcase a personal style.

Creative Lighting Ideas

Say Yes to Shelving

Every apartment could benefit from added storage, and floating display shelves are a functional and welcome addition. While these do create small holes, they are easily repaired. Floating shelves come in a variety of finishes and are easy to install with simple household tools.

Details Matter 

Vast uninteresting walls are commonplace in apartments and rentals. Command strips are a preferred method of damage-free picture hanging but can do so much more. For a fun take on architectural detail, paint various picture frames the same color as the wall and create a collage of “molding” on the empty wall. This not only adds some interest, with the help of Command strips, but damage-free removal is also possible.

Not Stainless? No Problem

Appliances working great but showing their age? Thanks to metallic contact paper, that tired white appliance can now have the look of stainless steel! This is an excellent way to extend the life of appliances, help protect them from surface scratches, and update a kitchen’s design without the hefty financial commitment.

Creative Contact Paper

Contact paper has come a long way in recent years. Just like the metallic options we mentioned above, it also comes in a variety of wood-look finishes, colors, and bold patterns. Renters can use this on everything from cabinets to closets for a fresh and updated look that comes down with a little elbow grease.

Creative Contact Paper

Best Removable Adhesive Products for Rentals

More and more security deposit friendly products are popping up all the time. Thanks to these practical adhesive inventions, temporary décor does not have to sacrifice style. Check out this list of some of the best removable adhesive products currently available that are just perfect for a rental property.

  • Command Products – Easily, the unsung hero of removability, Command strips and wall hanger products are essential for any renter.
  • Window Film – This is the one-time static cling is your friend! Window film is a versatile alternative to traditional window treatments. It allows tons of light to still come through while adding much-needed privacy.
  • Carpet Tape – One way to brighten up space is to add an area rug. Double-sided carpet tape comes in handy and keeps your floor covering from moving.
  • Chalkboard Paper – Contact paper is so versatile! Removable chalkboard sheets add interest to any space. Highlight with a picture frame for extra polish!
  • Tile Tattoo – If committing to full-on temporary tiles is too much, consider tattoos for your tile. These are vinyl stickers that come in several sizes that can be added directly to the existing tile.

How to Prevent Decorating That Can Cause Damage

As previously mentioned, standard lease documents include clauses that relate to restrictions on decorating. However, do your tenants genuinely understand what is and is not allowed? Generally speaking, leases will outline that the property needs to return to its original condition. Otherwise, tenants could risk deductions from their security deposit or even additional charges. To save both you and your tenant’s aggravation, make these stipulations clear from the start and review them at lease signing. Examples of standard clauses relating to decorating or even temporary decor include:

Sample Lease Clauses Regarding Decorations

Sample Lease Clauses Regarding Decorations

  • Tenant(s) may not paint without prior written approval and must return walls to original color upon vacating.
  • Pictures and other hanging items may only be hung using preapproved methods.
  • Hangers that create a small nail or pinhole are permitted; however, the tenant(s) agrees to cover the cost of repairs or painting required as a result.
  • Accessories require the prior written consent of the Owner. Examples include towel bars, coat hooks, or shelving, etc.

At the end of the day, as a landlord, you must decide what level of decorating is acceptable to you. Just make sure it is communicated in the lease contract.

That said, every tenant, although only a temporary resident, wants their unit to feel like home. Decorating and adding a few personal touches is part of that feeling of home. As you discuss what is and isn’t allowed with your tenants, consider recommending some of the options above. Temporary décor is the perfect solution for renters and landlords alike.


Final Thoughts

Unsure how to address decorating and damage concerns with tenants? The trusted professionals at Bay Property Management Group can help! It all starts with a thorough and legally binding lease, which we walk your tenants through item by item. Coupled with detailed move in and move out inspections to document the unit condition, you can rest assured any tenant damage will be addressed and deducted from the security deposit as needed. Our goal is to bridge the gap between tenant satisfaction and protecting your investment. Contact our Washington D.C. property management company to learn more about our property management services throughout the DC metro area including Montgomery County and Prince George’s County.