Is it just us, or is the most exciting part of moving into a new apartment the fact that you get to decorate it? The bare windows, plain walls, and empty rooms are a blank canvas just waiting for you to bring your creative apartment decorating ideas to life!

The buzzkill: you’ve got to be mindful of changes you make to the apartment itself – the walls, floors, appliances, and anything else that’s there when you move in has to be returned to its original state when you move out. With the exception of normal wear and tear, anything that isn’t returned in move-in condition could cost you your security deposit.

With over 50 years of experience and over 25,000 apartment units, we’ve learned a thing or two about how to decorate an apartment and how to get your security deposit back! Below are a few apartment decorating ideas that allow you to put a personal touch on your apartment without leaving your mark forever.

Apartment Decorating Ideas That Won’t Cost You Your Security Deposit

There are plenty of non-permanent ways to bring your new apartment to life. If you’re wondering how to get your security deposit back and still make your new home your own, consider adding one, (or all!) of these items to your décor shopping list.

  1. Leaning mirrors. Mirrors produce the illusion of a larger space while creating a polished look. Leaning a full length mirror against a wall doesn’t require any tools, and more importantly, doesn’t leave any marks. To make the most of this apartment decorating hack, place your mirror on a wall perpendicular to a window. This provides a diffuse reflection of natural light that will impact the entire room.
  2. Peel and stick wallpaper. Don’t cringe! Wallpaper has come a long way since it was installed in grandma’s dining room. This is an incredibly easy way to dress up walls without risking your deposit.  Whether you’re updating your backsplash or crafting an accent wall, there are more wallpaper options than you can imagine. When it’s time to move out, simply peel off, and voila, you’ve brought your wall back to move-in condition!
  3. Bookshelves. A beautifully decorated bookcase can be a work of art in and of itself. Different sized bookcases can serve different purposes. Shorter bookcases can divide your space into functional areas. Tall bookshelves can mimic the look of built-ins and create a ton of extra storage space in your apartment. Plus, bookcases of all sizes provide helpful organization opportunities. And the great news is that this apartment decorating idea does not require one single modification to the apartment itself.
  4. Window coverings. There are several options for window coverings that don’t require putting holes in your walls. If it’s privacy you need, consider window films. Similar to peel and stick wallpaper, it’s inexpensive and your options abound. Simply cut to size, stick on your window, and you’ve got privacy without sacrificing natural light. Bright rooms aren’t always the goal, though. If you’re in need of room darkening, consider hanging curtains with a tension rod on the inside of the window frame. To get a little bit fancier, purchase compression shades, which are shades or blinds that are cut to fit your window frame and use tension to stay in place.
  5. Lighting. When learning how to decorate an apartment, lighting is a top priority! With the flick of a switch, lighting can completely change the mood of any room at any time. Because most lighting options don’t require anything other than a bulb and an outlet, it’s one of the simplest decorating tips to utilize when considering how to get your security deposit back later, while decorating today. A tall floor lamp with a stylish shade can tie your room together and emit a soft reading light. Hanging string lights around the room can create a cozy, cheery vibe for relaxing after a long day.  A funky lamp on your nightstand will emphasize your unique style. The possibilities are endless!
  6. Alternative hanging methods. While most apartment communities consider a few small nail holes in walls “normal wear and tear,” some renters still avoid going to town with a hammer. If you’re one of them, don’t worry! There are several other hanging options that allow you to decorate without damaging the drywall at all:
    • Sticky, picture-hanging strips. Hang art and decor with tape that can bear a heavier load.
    • Hook and loop. The most widely recognized brand is VELCRO, and it can be used to hang lightweight items from walls or doors.
    • Damage-free hooks. Removable, damage-free hooks are our favorite. They come in a variety of sizes, colors, and strengths. You can use these hooks to hang just about anything from keys at the door to towels in the bathroom.
  7. Plants. Whether you opt for a collection of small plants on the windowsill, or a large potted plant near the patio door, greenery adds a touch of coziness to any space. Plus, plants are nature’s air purifiers, so you’ll breathe easier when they’re in your home. As long as you take care not to spill when watering, the chance of a plant costing you your security deposit is pretty slim.
  8. Washi tape. This is a thin, durable paper masking tape that is decorative in appearance and made of natural fibers. It’s inexpensive and comes in hundreds of patterns and colors. What makes this tape perfect for apartment decorating is its ability to stick on nearly any surface, including wood, plastic, and metal. Dress up your door with faux inlays or follow a stencil to make a decorative pattern on your wall. Once you’re done, it peels right off.

Choose To Start Decorating At Southern Management

You don’t have to kiss your security deposit goodbye just because you want to personalize your space. At Southern Management, we want you to make your apartment feel like home.

With 75 apartment communities, our team is confident that we can find the perfect location and floor plan to make you feel right at home before you even start moving. In fact, we regularly offer open houses, so you can envision yourself in the apartment before signing anything.

Our helpful team members would love to answer any questions you have about specific apartment communities, pricing, decorating, etc. We’d love for you to start incorporating your personal tastes in your new rental space!

Contact our team to learn more today.