Yes, you can redecorate your rental without risking your security deposit.

By Caylin Harris
Updated September 03, 2019
Reversible Rental Design Ideas
Credit: A Beautiful Mess/ Emma Chapman

Just because you don’t own your home or apartment doesn’t mean you have to live with a design you don’t love. It’s easier (and cheaper) than you think to update your rental apartment. These low-commitment projects can be installed in an afternoon and are no problem to remove when move-out day rolls around. Investing a little time and money in your home (even if you know it's only a temporary place) will help you love where you live and makes your home feel like you. Here are some of our favorite rental decor ideas that are easy to remove or replace when you're ready for a change.

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Reversible rental upgrades, stick-on tiles
Credit: Jenni Radosevich of I Spy DIY

1 Install Adhesive Tiles

No wet saw, no problem! These smart tiles that Jenni Radosevich of I Spy DIY used to create a custom backsplash are insanely easy to apply. No messy grout or specialty tools are needed. They’re a clever solution in a rental where you’re planning on staying long term—plus they can be applied right over any clean, flat surface.

Rental Upgrades, Stick-on Wallpaper in play room
Credit: Julia Dags for Lemon Stripes

2 Stick on Wall Decals

If even removable wallpaper feels like too much, take a cue from blogger and busy mom, Julia Dzafic of Lemon Stripes. She used peel-and-stick Paperless Wallpaper from Kerri Rosenthal, small decals that can simply be stuck to your walls to give the look of wallpaper without the installation time. Apply it in a grid pattern or just stick them wherever they look good. In shapes like painted dots, hearts, or palm trees, there’s something for every taste.

RELATED: 24 Modern Wallpaper Designs Guaranteed to Transform Your Space

Reversible Rental Upgrades, Open Shelving in kitchen
Credit: Craig Mackay for

3 Add Open Shelving

Take advantage of that extra vertical space while displaying some of your prettiest housewares. Floating shelves are a cinch to install if you have the right hardware. Blogger Jess Kirby of used leftover butcher block to make these beauties. If your landlord makes you take them down before you move, you can patch the small holes easily, too.

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Reversible Rental Upgrades, Emily Henderson beautiful living room
Credit: Emily Henderson/Sara Ligorria Tramp

4 Install Ambient Lighting

If you’re stuck with harsh overhead lighting, don’t let it cramp your style. A sculptural sconce that doesn’t need to be hardwired can add an interesting architectural detail to the living room. Placed above the couch and incorporated into a gallery wall, like blogger and interior designer Emily Henderson did here, it creates the coziest spot to curl up and read a book.

Rental Upgrades, Bathroom new hardware on cabinets
Credit: Anne Sage

5 Swap in New Hardware

Repeat after us: There’s no reason you have to live with that sad standard faucet that came with your apartment. Not only is it easy to replace (you only need a few basic tools), but a different finish, like a warm metallic, can change the look of your entire bathroom. Practicing what she preaches, interior designer and author Anne Sage, updated all the hardware in her rental bathroom with spectacular results.

Rental upgrades, green wall with molding
Credit: A Beautiful Mess/ Emma Chapman

6 Add Architectural Details

No renter would take the time to apply expensive molding that they’d have to pay to install. This clever idea from Emma Chapman of A Beautiful Mess is a workaround that adds instant visual interest. Simply paint frames the same color as the wall and hang them up—it will look like decorative molding, but without the impossible install.

Living room with removable wallpaper
Credit: Kevin O’Gara

7 Try Removable Wallpaper

Easier to install and ideal if you can’t make up your mind, a playfully patterned removable wallpaper, like this island print that designer and blogger Kevin O’Gara of Thou Swell used in his living room adds a custom feel to your space. If you outgrow it, simply peel it off and stick up something new. It allows you to be as daring as you want sans permanence.