How to add colour and personality to your rental apartment – without painting!

Lindsay Whitney Lindsay Whitney
Kitchen Pixers آشپزخانه
Loading admin actions …

When we want to give our homes a bit of a facelift, most our first impulses are to paint. But painting is quite drastic, quite an undertaking but more importantly, it is simply not an option for those of us who are renters in places where renters are not allowed to paint without approval by the landlord. 

However, not being able to paint does not mean you can't do a little revamping, and this is why homify has put together a list of changes you can make to spiff up your space, adding colour and character to it, which also won't interfere with your rental contract. Let's get to it!

1. Ceiling medallions

Dark ceiling Madame Ant دیوار
Madame Ant

Dark ceiling

Madame Ant

A ceiling medallion is the moulding – usually made of wood but can be of metal – that accents and covers the hole where hanging lamps, stationary lights or ceiling fans are installed. But aside from being functional, a nice ceiling medallion is also a super gorgeous addition to a room, making a space look elegant and polished. 

If you have a blank white ceiling, like most of us renters do, then getting coloured ceiling medallion to install around your light is a quick way to spice it up. And, they're easy to remove, leaving no marks so no worries!

2. Vintage hardware

So actually this one may or may not need your landlord's approval, depending on where you are and what your contract is. But it's a fantastic way to spruce up a blah door or window--vintage hardware fixtures can really set the design tone of an entire room. 

Too often, folks ignore what their light switches, door knobs and window locks look like but you will find that if you deck out your fixtures, your rental will immediately look like a more finished and sophisticated home.

3. Wallpaper and wall tattoos

Milk and chocolate Pixers آشپزخانه

Milk and chocolate


One new on-trend solution for bare walls is the wall tattoo, different from wallpaper in that they are not meant to cover an entire surface, but merely be, well, a tattoo on a wall or surface. 

If you are more a wallpaper fan, then we recommend not leaping into tattoos you may regret later but, if you are feeling adventurous, there are now plenty of pretty fun wall and floor tattoo options available that you should peruse.

4. New light fittings

Geometric Light Shade rigby & mac اتاق نشیمنروشنایی فلز
rigby & mac

Geometric Light Shade

rigby & mac

There are so many ways to outfit your lights nowadays that you could probably change your light fittings with the seasons. But if you just want a little zazz, doing it via cute new light fittings is a sure bet. Go for colours if your goal is colour though – don't be shy!

5. Great curtains

Curtains are one of our favourite design elements – they are versatile, soft and really important for privacy and keeping the sun toned down during a Sunday morning sleep in session. 

There are so many patterns of colourful, funky curtains now that hoisting up a couple in your apartment is an instant injection of life and loveliness--curtains are the pick-me-up of room design.

6. Plant pots

Hand Made Copper Garden Plant Pots UKAA | UK Architectural Antiques اتاق نشیمنشومینه و تزئینات فلز Blue
UKAA | UK Architectural Antiques

Hand Made Copper Garden Plant Pots

UKAA | UK Architectural Antiques

Plant pots as well come in many varieties and are great decor items even when they are not housing plants. Use them for knick knacks, pens and pencils or just leave them empty and let them do their job adorning your space.

7. Vintage crockery

For when your guests come over, invest in some high class vintage crockery – it goes a long way. Further, for when you are not entertaining, you can put your dish set on display in a nice cabinet or enjoy them looking good on an open kitchen shelf.

8. An unusual focal piece

ahgraph اتاق نشیمن

Choosing a focal piece for your targeted room is really important. It can be a large painting, a funky piece of furniture or a statue. Whatever you choose, make sure you really do respect it as your focal pieces, which means that all other design elements in the room, like colours or throw pillows, are centred around that focal piece, either complimenting it or drawing more attention to it. 

So after eight tips that do not include paint, do you feel more confident that your rental can actually be a home? We hope so. But if you'd like to read more design tips, check out this article about design tips for small bathrooms. 

Need help with your home project?
Get in touch!

Discover home inspiration!