No Paint Allowed? Here’s 9 Ways to Add Color to Your Rental Home without Painting Walls

By on January 15, 2015
9 Ways to Add Color to Your Rental Home

If you’re renting your home or apartment, you know all too well the limitations to decorating that come with living in someone else’s home. If you’re lucky you may be able to ask your landlord if you can paint the walls (I’ve lucked out with that in two rentals so far) but if wall painting isn’t an option, don’t fret.

Adding color to your rooms in a rental is easy if you get creative and think outside the walls. If you can’t come up with the ideas yourself, I can get you started with 9 ideas that are perfect for an apartment or rental home to give pop of color to any room. If you give any of these a try, be sure to come back and share your photos so we can see your master creation!

Temporary Wallpaper

Self-Adhesive WallpaperWallpaper can give you loads of options for color and texture in a room, unfortunately regular wallpaper is messy and fairly permanent, making it an unfriendly option for the average renter. However, there’s another kind of wallpaper, called peelable wallpaper that is perfect for renters. Peelable wallpaper goes on like a sticker or decal and comes down just as easy when it’s time to move again leaving no sticky mess to clean up. Peelable wallpaper can be found in solid colors to look like a regular paint job or in beautiful patterns to give an elegant wallpapered feel.

Check your local hardware stores as well as online because the price of peelable wallpaper can be quite pricey. Many of the solid color peelable wallpaper can be found for between $30-$50 while the more elaborate and patterned designs range from $70-$100. Because of the cost of peelable wallpaper, you may want to stick to only doing an accent wall or two instead of an entire room.

Wall Decals

Very much like temporary wallpaper, wall decals are another simple peel and stick option to add color or custom design elements to any room. Wall decals can be large size and can be special quotes in a fancy font or graphics and can be customized by many decal companies.

Painted Picture Frames

If you love to display photographs, you can grab some photo frames really inexpensively (my favorite is the 50% off sales at Hobby Lobby) and paint them all to give some contrasting color to your neutral colored walls. Get creative and hang them in a fun layout to create a unique and interesting focal point in any room.

Paint Furniture

Adding color to a room doesn’t only have to be on the walls. You can add some beautiful splashes of color by painting your furniture instead. You can find some great wood furniture pieces at flea markets, thrift stores or yard sales that are ready to paint into your next DIY masterpiece perfect for your rental home decor.

Colorful Fabrics

Decorate with Colorful FabricsFabrics are an easy way to liven up any room with color. Colorful patterns on pillows and curtains are among the easiest to do yourself or to buy inexpensively. These types of fabric projects can also be easily changed out with the changing of the seasons or even just your style preferences.

If you decide to make a statement with curtains, hang your rod close to the ceiling instead of at the top of the window and use extra long certains to make a grand splash of color.


Another idea for color on a wall is to create your own artwork. Simply grab an oversized blank canvas and paint it with whatever combination of color you want. You can do a modern feel with just 1 or 2 color blocked colors or get creative with brushes, sponges and multiple colors for a different look.

Colorful Plants or Greenery

Decorating with PlantsA easy and inexpensive way to add a natural and vibrant splash of color is with plants and flowers. You can go with something very green and simple in a basic pot or get really creative and make your own arrangement using bright colored flowers, greenery and an interesting container to hold them in.

Plants are fairly inexpensive and easy to take care of, but if real plants aren’t your thing, there are some very high quality and realistic plants you can purchase that are free of the risk of not surviving under your supervision. Just be sure when shopping for faux plants that you get ones that are realistic as possible so as not to give off a “cheap” or tacky feel to your decor.

Area Rugs

One of my favorite ways to add pops of color throughout my own home is with large area rugs. You can buy locally but shopping around online gives you access to look at hundreds of rugs at once to find the perfect one for your home. Some of the places I’ve found great deals on rugs are RugSale, Rugs USA and Wayfair.

Keep in mind that very large area rugs can be quite expensive so shop around. Shipping is another factor to consider that could raise the price significantly since they are oversize. Look for online discount codes or sales promotions that are offering discounts or even free shipping.

Folding Screens

Folding screens can come in all styles and sizes. They can be made of metal, wood and even fabric. These versatile screens can be used to divide a space or can be mounted to a wall to create a beautiful focal point or starting place for your home decor. If you find a screen you love but it’s a neutral color or even just plain wood don’t be afraid to add a beautiful paint color before putting it on display to add some color to any room. If you want to get really crafty, you could even cover each of the panels of the screen with a coordinating fabric for the room.


Remember, just because you are renting your current home doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to bland decor with no unique color choices. Use your imagination and find temporary and removable solutions to create a beautiful living space in your rental home.

What’s your favorite way to add color to a rented home? Let us know in the comments below.

About Misty Spears

I absolutely love all things DIY, especially when it comes to decorating my own home. I’m a thrift store junkie and my head just explodes with ideas to repurpose old junk into something practical and beautiful when I come across that perfect treasure. I’m a wood furniture rebel and try to paint every surface I can to bring color into my life. My life revolves around my family and enjoying every moment that life serves up to me. You can connect with me on Twitter @diyhomeinterior, Instagram @mistyspears and see my pins on Pinterest for a sneak peak into all the DIY projects I am working on and crazy life happenings.


  1. Alex

    January 16, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    I had not heard of temporary wallpaper. I’d like to do something with my walls but they are sheetrock in a mobile home, but I’m not sure I want more print. Does temp wallpaper come in solids?

    • Misty Spears

      January 16, 2015 at 6:47 pm

      It sure does, in fact it’s a lot cheaper in the solid colors. In the section above about temporary wallpaper there is a link to “solids” that should get you started. But there are many colors you can do in solid to make it seem almost like paint.

  2. Alexandria Gunn

    January 19, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    I’ve never heard of temporary wallpaper. That’s interesting.

    We’ve used throws, pillows and rugs to add colour to our home. Our landlord is quite relaxed but she doesn’t want us adding too much color to the walls. To be honest, we prefer them cream and yellow as they are now and add paintings and photos up instead.

    • Misty Spears

      January 29, 2015 at 12:50 pm

      I’m actually a fan of neutral based walls as well, plus if you ever change your mind on color it’s much easier to swap out some curtains and pillows than it is to paint an entire room.

  3. jessica

    April 10, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    I love all of these ideas. SO many people think they have to paint a wall to bring color into the room, but I think adding color to your decor makes an even bigger impact and white walls makes all of the colors pop! Great article! Shared!

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