6 home improvements that won’t violate your lease

Real estate

No matter where you live, it should feel like home. But when you’re renting, you’re more limited when it comes to personalizing your living space—at least not if you want to leave with your security deposit intact. Fortunately, you can make simple improvements that reflect your personal style and are both budget and landlord friendly.


The artful placement of greenery can aesthetically transform your living space—and improve indoor air quality. Sick building syndrome (SBS) is a real thing that, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, can cause headache, dry cough, itchy skin, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating.

These symptoms can be alleviated by simply leaving the building, but easy-care houseplants can also help like English ivy, heartleaf philodendron, spider plant, peace lily, and dracaena. A little online research will help you find the plants that are best-suited for the climate and light in your rental.


Adding color and personality to a space is as easy as tossing a new pillow onto the sofa. Draperies (using the rental’s existing hardware), slipcovers, and area rugs offer additional hominess and soften nuisance noise that might filter in from neighbors.

Cabinet and storage upgrades

You can’t change the rental’s existing cabinetry, but you can improve it. Simply switch out the drawer pulls and cabinet knobs for something that better suits you. Just remember to hang on to the originals so that you can put them back in place before you leave.

Moreover, rentals often lack storage, but you can’t build additional cabinetry. Instead, add your own storage with bookshelves, a rolling kitchen island, and other temporary solutions that won’t affect your security deposit.

Removable wall coverings

Wallpaper has come a long way since the days of paste and permanence. Affordable peel-and-stick options enable renters to completely transform a space without breaking any rules of the lease agreement. Don’t like the color of the paint? Cover it! Bored with the kitchen or bathroom subway tile? Add tile tattoos, which are removable decals, to break up the monotony. It doesn’t get any easier than this.


You don’t need complicated ceiling fans or pendants to light up a space. Simple floor lamps and table lamps can completely transform a room by casting out dreary shadows. Invest in lighting you love because you get to take it with you when your lease is up.


Put down the hammer. You can add family photos, artwork, and more without making a single hole in the wall. An entire industry of removable hanging hardware abounds, enabling you to display everything from your favorite frying pans to your child’s latest masterpiece. No nails. No paint-peeling tape. No deductions from your security deposit.