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Limitations When Decorating Your Apartment


Moving into a new apartment can be an exciting time. It’s a new environment…revitalizing and energizing you from the surroundings you previously called home.

It is the perfect time for you to start fresh with your home decorating. New surroundings can generate some amazing ideas, leading you to purchase new furniture and implementing decorative items.

But as fun as this is, you need to be careful with what you do inside the apartment.

There are some common rent lease terms in the agreement you signed that may prohibit you from going overboard with your design ideas.

Read through your rental agreement completely, and make sure you understand all the terms binding to the lease before you begin decorating your new apartment.

Communication with the Landlord or Property Manager is definitely a must if the lease is ambivalent or indicates what is not allowed that you may want to do.

Below are three of the more common interior decorating items that people will often want to do in their apartment but may be prohibited.

Replacing Appliances & Other Fixtures

Apartment kitchen

You may not be able replace any appliance that is installed when you move into an apartment.

The property owners may have received a discount from the appliance manufacturers for purchasing in bulk. Sometimes the aspects of the apartment’s decor is based around those appliances.

Even if you really despise the style of dishwasher or the color of the refrigerator, you may not have the right to change these with ones you prefer. This usually is specified in the rental agreement.

The same will go for any permanent fixtures in the apartment.

Lighting fixtures should remain the same. They should not be traded out with another fixture unless permission is given. When the lease ends, the originals are then changed back.

Other changes you might want to make could include kitchen cabinets, bathroom sinks, floor coverings, etc which may not be up for negotiation; they must remain in place.

You should not replace them with a different shade or style of cabinet or a different shape of sink. Even the fixtures attached to the sinks and bathtub should not to be changed out.

Holes in the Walls

Pictures on wall

Most property managers acknowledge the fact that you do not want plain walls in your unit.

They expect you to rent from them for quite a while and know that you will want to turn the apartment into a home.

Hanging pictures and other forms of decor on the walls are one way you may achieve this. Holes in the walls are usually acceptable in most cases, as long as they are kept small.

Different lease agreements will determine whether or not you can have a hole larger than the average picture hanging nail or screw. Even if larger holes are permitted, they may restrict the size and request that it be filled upon leaving.

To hang something heavier than a typical picture frame – like a small sculpture, shadow box full of memorabilia, or a TV wall mount – you will need to resort back to the agreement to verify that the size of the hole it will leave is acceptable.

If you do not, then you could be hit with a fee that prevents you from receiving your deposit back in full.


Painting a wall

You absolutely should not repaint the walls in an apartment, unless, again, permission is given.

As bland as you may find the current color, or as much as you believe the shade chosen by the property owner is an eyesore, you should not repaint without approval.

The apartment is not your property; you are renting it – borrowing it – and you may be bound by the terms of the lease agreement to leave the paint alone.

Sometimes, you may have approval to repaint another color that you choose, as long as it is professionally painted back to the color it was when you moved in.

Wallpaper can also be a fun project to display your taste. But if not allowed in the lease or approved, it would actually be worse than putting a new color of paint on the walls. When you move out, you don’t want to lose your deposit.

The property managers would have to call out a contractor to remove the wallpaper; that costs money.

The cost will be even more if the type of wallpaper you used does not remove easily and the removal crew has to do additional work. Painters will then have to repaint the affected walls, adding additional expense to the property owner.

If you do not like the paint on the walls, you should decide that when you are touring the unit and not after you sign the agreement and move in.

If you move in anyway, consider hanging large pictures or images, or even some sort of tapestry (that doesn’t put too big of a hole in the wall) to cover the majority of the space. Make it something less destructive but still appealing to your taste.

Now, enjoy your new digs!

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