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No Paint No Hammers: Trendy Accent Wall Decor Solutions for Renters

At this point in my life, I consider myself a veteran renter. I’ve made my mistakes, accidentally left substantial and ghastly holes on apartment walls, and learned how to fix them too. If I could go back in time, though, I would much rather have the knowledge I do now and have my dream apartment without maniacally ‘putty-ing’ walls and painstakingly searching for paint swatches a week before the move-out date.


Whether you’re a first-time or a long-time renter you should know you don’t have to give up style to save your walls. There are ways to make your rental look authentic, trendy, and fun without ever lifting a hammer or picking up a paintbrush.

Give Contact Paper a Go

Contact paper is the unsung hero of the renter and the indecisive decorator. It can be bought cheap and peels off easy when you’re finished. Fair warning though, there can be a bit of residue with contact paper, and if you’ve used it before you know it can be a bit difficult to apply evenly. 

Contact paper works great for a pop of color on a backsplash or as an accent wall. 

photo credit: Contact Paper Used as a Simple Geometric Backsplash from Amazon
photo credit:Blue Monstera Contact Paper in the Dining Room from  Etsy
photo credit: Beautiful Gold Contact Paper from Etsy

If you’re feeling crafty with left-over contact paper add Decoist’s 12 DIY Projects That Make A Statement With Contact Paper  to your reading list.

Try Out a Tapestry

Tapestries famously give off that fabulous laid-back bohemian vibe. This is great, but if it’s not you, there are ways to make these fit into other styles too. Tapestries can also be chic, and sophisticated. 

Oh, and they’re low budget and low energy so you don’t have to break the bank or take the time out of your busy schedule. Win. Win. And win.

photo credit: Trendy Abstract Tapestry from Shein
photo credit: Bohemian Blue Tapestry from Urban Outfitters
photo credit: Celestial Flower Tapestry from Urban Outfitters

Style That Dresser

You already have one in your bedroom, so why haven’t you styled it yet? There are some really great blogs that give you the step by step of how to make use of this free space as seen here from houseofpaige:

photo credit: Learn how to recreate this look at houseofpaige.com

Decoist also loves these trendy styled dressers:

photo credit: Modern Look on Top of a Dresser from Anthropologie
photo credit: Coastal Vibes on a Dresser from Pottery Barn

Gallery Wall Those Shelves

Either your apartment came with shelf space and you don’t know what to do with it, or you now have an excuse to buy a photo ladder for a gallery wall. Gallery walls make your apartment feel cozy and homy and are the best solution for filling out a room with your photos and prints.

photo credit: Photos Displayed as a Gallery Wall from Wayfair
photo credit: Super Chic Shelved Gallery Wall from Pottery Barn
photo credit:Farmhouse Photo Ladder from Wayfair

Trust the Power of (Washi) Tape

Unlike double-sided tape and other heavy-duty adhesives, Washi Tape has a pretty good reputation for not damaging walls. It won’t hold anything framed or heavy but it will keep posters and lightweight photos in place. We also recommend using Washi Tape for fairy lights, or grabbing a colored Washi Tape to get creative with framing your photos without the frame!

If you’re interested in DIY decorating with Washi Tape- and more- Decoist has you covered with Easy Wall Decorating Ideas for Renters.

Fairy-Lights like this can be taped up with clear Washi Tape photo credit: Etsy
Learn how to recreate this gorgeous photo wall with Washi Tape at: artifactuprising.com
photo credit: Pinterest Pictures Taped with Decorative Washi tape

It’s exciting calling a new place home. Although, it comes with multitudes of worries. Whether you’ll like your new neighbor, or if you’ll be able to find a good cup of coffee in the area is out of your control. One thing you can promise yourself is that you won’t have to worry about not getting back that deposit.

Agonizing over damaging your walls in a newly rented home shouldn’t stop you from creating your flawlessly decorated paradise. So sit back, relax, start unpacking some boxes, and get to planning your dream rental.

Tatyanna Saunders

I write for decoist.

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