Decorate Your Apartment Without Losing Your Deposit

When it comes to decorating your home, it's easy to feel limited by the restrictions in your lease. Still, there are plenty of creative ways to personalize your space without losing your security deposit.


Wardrobe with drawers


  • The first step is to study your lease and know exactly what's allowed and what isn't. If you're unsure about something, ask your landlord. This is one of those cases where it is going to be better to be safe than sorry.

  • Don't sacrifice your safety for a nice decoration. Make sure you don't block any windows or doors, and try to avoid any fire hazards.

  • Try using alternative adhesives instead of nails to hang art or photos.
    • Some leases do allow you to use nails, so you'll have to check your landlord's policy.
    • You can also try leaning your artwork or photos against a wall or propping them up on a table to add an artsy feel to the room.

  • You can add storage space to your closet or room without doing major renovations. 
    • Many stores sell closet organizers or storage bins disguised as décor.
    • Over-the-door storage is great for shoes, toiletries, etc.
    • Consider adding an ottoman with a hidden storage compartment and utilize the space beneath your bed to store items you don’t use often.

  • Buy some kitchen organization tools if your kitchen is lacking in space.
    • There's no need to install an extra storage rack when you can insert drawer organizers, cabinet pullout racks, etc.
    • Invest in kitchenware that also looks nice so that it can do double duty as a decoration on your counter as well. 

  • Instead of painting, consider using removable wallpaper or decals to decorate your walls.

  • Changing the lighting of your room can do wonders to the feel of the space.
    • Consider using softer lighting in a lamp rather than using the overhead light all of the time. 

  • To add some privacy or shade in your home, try adding contact paper or other treatments to your windows.

  • If the flooring in your unit isn't to your liking, invest in some area rugs to make the space your own.

  • Finally, you don't have to renovate to make the home your own.
    • Personal touches like designating a wall for your favorite photos, filling the space with your favorite plants or flowers and adding cozy pillows and blankets can make a huge difference.

  • Hopefully, you don’t have any issues getting your security deposit back if you have followed your lease, but if you do, check out this page from Legal Services for Students.