Take matters into your own hands.

It’s easy to feel powerless as a renter. Because you don’t own your home, you’re presented with less freedom to decorate how you like it. But this doesn’t mean you have no agency in your home! There are lots of small, impermanent changes you can make in a rental home that make quite an impact on a room’s design. Here are some quick and easy hacks you can make, and actions to take in wrangling your rental home’s design.

Seek out permission

As a renter, it’s good to know what you can or can’t do. Some landlords allow renters to paint, for example, while others don’t. Have a clear understanding for what changes you’re able to make to help assess what needs to be done–and when you’ll need to employ a clever workaround.

Make temporary photo frames

Can’t put holes in the wall, or too lazy to spackle when it’s time to move? Just make your own fake photo frames with washi tape! You can tape any image to the wall and make an attractive, colorful geometric border suited to your taste. A gallery wall of washi frames seems modern, funky and attractive.

Make fake wallpaper 

…or buy temporary wallpaper. But it’s so much more fun to make your own. With some starch and fabric you can reinvent an ugly door or boring, naked wall with custom “wallpaper” that will peel right off when it’s time to more–or whenever you get bored with the design.

Treat those windows

Can’t add color to a room with paint? Are you stuck with ugly blinds? Just treat your windows with quality curtain panels. This lets you add some vibrancy and color to a space, and will hide any unattractive blinds you might be unable to remove.

Go for decals

Vinyl decals are temporary but leave quite an impact, making them great alternatives to painting a room or nailing art to the wall. You can design and print your own vinyl decals if you’re especially creative, or simply buy some at a store or online. They’ll make beautiful accents in any space that needs a little more personality.

Add some lamps

Lamps are super-easy to “install,” and allow you to take control of the lighting in your rental. Stop using depressing, abrasive florescent overheads by transitioning to lamp use instead. And because table lamps are super portable, you’ll be able to easily take them with you when it comes time to move. 

Get some rugs

If you do anything, get rugs. Rugs really bring life to a room, and you can easily switch them in and out to suit a season or your current taste. They’ll also hide ugly flooring. Versatile, practical and attractive, area rugs are a boon for the renter who yearns to spice things up.

Get a leafy friend

Fill your space with seasonal greenery. This ephemeral decor keeps things fresh and lively, and lets you surround yourself with beautiful, living company that won’t draw neighbors’ ire with late-night barking fits. 

Loud furniture is best

If you can’t paint, then you’ll need loud, bold furniture to speak for the room. Tell your color story through upholstery, fabric, textiles and painted furniture. This will more than make up for drab, eggshell walls.

Prop pictures up

If you can’t or don’t want to hang pictures from nails, just prop them up on shelves. You can really play with composition and layering this way, making a mantle-like scene.

Switch up the handles

If you’re able, replace handles on cabinets and drawers for ones that appeal to you. You can go a step further–and, again, get permission first–and replace sink faucets or even the shower head as well.