5 Ways to Personalize Your Apartment, According to Longtime Renters

stylish and chic apartment decor

Amy Leferink at Interior Impressions

Everyone wants to put their stamp on their living space, decorating to reflect their personal style. That’s easy enough when you own your home or condo, but how can you pull this off when you are living in a rental? These longtime renters have simple tips on how to personalize your place, so it feels like your own.

  • 01 of 05

    Add Removable Wallpaper

    leopard wallpaper

    Studio Peake

    In the past, putting up wallpaper in a rental would almost certainly cost you the deposit once you move—it was a lot of work as well. Now you can not only add a splash of color or funky pattern, but you can switch it out when you want something new. 

    With removable wallpaper, you don’t even need to limit your upgrades to the walls. Stefan Bucur, the founder and owner of Rhythm of the Home and a longtime renter, touts removable wallpaper for cabinets and backsplashes as well. “There is a newer option called thick peel-and-stick tile,” he says. “Some of these tiles have been specifically designed for backsplashes so they will outlive and outlast most removable and traditional wallpapers while still offering the same flexibility.”

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  • 02 of 05

    Hang Personal Items Safely

    art gallery wall in bedroom

    Studio Peake

    Nothing showcases what you like and who matters most in your life like photos and posters. Unfortunately, you will also be showcasing a bunch of nail holes to your landlord, right? Annie Morris, Editor-in-Chief of a Canadian site that includes home design content, has some tips on how to display your favorite things safely.

    “First of all, be careful when hanging things on the wall, even if they're intended for decoration and not for holding up the weight of objects. Wallpaper or paint can easily be damaged by the weight of decorations, especially if you hang them over pieces of furniture like bookcases or cabinets,” says Morris. “If you're planning on hanging things from your ceiling, make sure that you have enough clearance from lights and other fixtures so that nothing will touch them when you move around in the room.”

    For pictures, posters, or lighter items you want to put on the wall, many home designers call on Command products. You can find them in a variety of sizes, each able to handle different weights. Be sure you get a hook or other support that will be appropriate for what you are hanging. This helps avoid damage to the wall as well as potential damage to the frame or canvas you are installing. 

    Bucur recommends using drywall anchors to reserve the wall and minimize the damage. "In most lease contracts small holes are not even considered damage to the property but normal wear and tear," he says. Be sure to check your lease agreement or speak to your landlord if you aren’t sure what is okay and what will cost you later.

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  • 03 of 05

    Change the View


    Forbes + Masters

    Many rentals, especially apartments, mean you might have less privacy than you would like. And if you like to take advantage of natural light during the day or your home doesn’t get a lot of it, covering up the windows won’t make sense, either. 

    Musician Sage Suede, who has rented apartments for about 10 years, has a couple of tips for you to try. “My current apartment has an unsightly view (directly into the neighbor's next-door windows), so I put up window film on both of my windows,” he says. “It enables me to open the blinds without them staring at me and my cats.”

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  • 04 of 05

    Dress in Layers

    curtain with a small white kitchen

    Studio Peake

    Suede says his apartment tends to be dark, so another way that he brings in some light is by adding layers of curtains over the window film. “I can tie them back, leave them sheer, or block out most light," he says. “I don't tie them during the day. I just throw them over the curtain rod to get the most light—I need them for privacy when it’s later in the day.”

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  • 05 of 05

    Add Color Where You Can

    green room with colorful decor

    Mary Patton Design

    When you live in a home that you don’t own, you probably aren’t going to be allowed to paint the walls, or you'll have to return them to their previous bland shade of white or beige before you move out.

    Choosing furniture in a color you love can add a little character and fun to your home. Suede went with gold and yellow to add a little sunshine to his dark space. “I wouldn't normally think to get a yellow chair but it is great for a darker area, so I got two and my cats love them.”

    Best of all, you can take these favorite pieces with you when you find your next place.

Making your home reflect your lifestyle and is a comfortable space to relax is important. With some creativity, you can make it your own no matter who owns that space.