22 Damage-Free Ideas: Apartment Decorating Without Nails

It can be challenging to come up with unique apartment décor ideas. If your landlord will charge you a per-hole charge at the end of your lease for every nail you put on the wall, you have to think outside of the box.

And it’s not just landlords. My dad wouldn’t let us put things up on our bedroom walls. We had like, three pictures on the wall when I was growing up and they never moved. It’s like he had a nail hole quota and we had met it.

Nowadays, there’s no dread of damaging your apartment and thus losing your security deposit. You’ve got options! No matter where you live, or how free you are to put holes in your wall, you may just prefer not having the hassle of repairs after moving out. Here’s a list of creative damage-free decorating ideas that require no hammer, nails, or spackling. 

22 Apartment Decor Ideas Without Nails

DIY Vintage Science Poster

One of the problems with Command Hooks in décor is that the standard white ones are, well… They are built for function, not form.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t use a little paint to jazz them up a little.

The hooks fit in perfectly with these sort of rustic frames for the Vintage Science Poster. You can get all the details on this project at Liz Marie Blog.

Apartment Approved Wainscoting

This is one I never would have even thought of. Wainscoting without nails? It’s genius.

I have an image in my head of an apartment building and the interiors are mostly cookie cutter, but then there’s this one that when you open the door, it’s like you entered a whole different world. Command strips get you that. You can find the tutorial for this project on Command’s website!

Washi Tape Wonders

Washi tape, a colorful and easily removable tape, is your answer to a damage-free, fun accent wall. Create geometric patterns or a simple grid to display your posters and photos. Plus, this trick works great in a kids’ room too, where the designs can be easily changed as they grow.

Wall Decals and Vinyl Decals

Wall decals are a popular choice among renters and for good reason. They’re easy to install, easy to remove, and they can instantly transform a plain wall into a creative masterpiece. Vinyl decals can also be applied to appliances, giving your kitchen a personalized touch too. I used my Cricut and made my own DIY vinyl wall decals for my daughter’s room!

Pop of Color In Your Bookcase

Not only can you not put holes in your apartment, you probably can’t paint the walls either. But you can totally add little pops of color in unexpected places like the back of the bookcase.

I already am scheming a plan to do this to my stairs.

DIY with Removable Backsplash

A removable backsplash in your kitchen can add an unexpected pop of color or texture. The peel-and-stick tiles are a breeze to install, and when you’re ready to move out, they can be removed with no residue left behind

Go Green with Plants

apartment decor ideas, corner of apartment living room full of plants and a papasan chair

Plants can make any space feel fresh and vibrant. Hang them in baskets from your ceiling, or place them on shelves to add some greenery to your living space.

Cozy Reading Nook

From the lighting to the décor to that cute shelf, this cozy reading nook has got command hooks everywhere.

There’s so much personality and life in this little spot. It would be totally unexpected to see a nook this unique in an apartment.

Hang Your Quilt

Quilts are very multipurpose. They are quilts to keep you warm. They are also gorgeous and bring color and texture to your room.

They also can be hung on the wall. Which brings color, texture AND the added bonus of sound dampening.

That’s obviously really important in apartment living. You can find the details on how to hang your quilt on 42 Quilts.

Mason Jar Window Treatment

It will take some trust to try this pretty Mason Jar and fresh flower window treatment.

You have to really believe in the command hooks. You have to trust they aren’t going to give out and you get knocked out be a mason jar and some chrysanthemums.

But it’s so pretty for Spring, right? You can find all of the details on It All Started With Paint.

I struggle with thinking outside of the box. So when I think of a gallery wall and command hooks, I think of somehow hanging the pictures on the hooks.

But you don’t have to do that at all. You can, but if you things that you just want flat to the wall, you just use the adhesive stripes directly on the picture frame. Or whatever.

Why I don’t think of these things, I don’t know, but it doesn’t really matter because other brilliant people do! You can find the details for this gallery wall on C.R.A.F.T.

An Entire Headboard

There are so many awesome DIY Headboard tutorials that are out there waiting to be tried. But a lot of them require major nails or screws into the wall.

Not going to fly on your apartment walls.

But what if you hang it with command strips? You can. You have to do it the right way and make sure the strips you are using are up for the weight they are going to have to carry, but it can be done. You can find all of the details for this DIY Headboard on Over the Big Moon.

A Vertical Garden

Plants are gorgeous to use as decor. They bring vitality and color to your home. And it’s fun to get creative with how you display them.

A vertical garden is a great way to show off your pretty plants and now you can do it without any damage to your walls.

Command actually has little shelves with their hanging strips that you can buy and make your own vertical garden.

Removable Wallpaper

Love bold patterns but fear they might be too much for your space? Removable wallpaper is the answer. You can create a stunning accent wall in your living room or bedroom without a long-term commitment.

Take Advantage of Existing Molding

Existing molding in your rental can serve as a natural ledge for your pictures and artwork. Just lean them against the wall for a chic, modern look. I did this in an apartment once right out of college. It worked too because mine was thick enough!

Pretty Custom Message Board

You can bring your own flavor to this message board/command center that will look pretty and keep you organized with command hooks.

Add some pretty fabric and then some cute pictures and this is a great piece of you in your home. With no holes in the walls. You can find the details for this project on Command.com.

Hang Your Curtains

You can dress up the boring window blinds that probably came with your apartment with curtains.

They’ll soften your space and really make an apartment feel like home.

And I can tell you that the next time I have to hang curtains, I will be doing it with Command Hooks. Because doing it with traditional curtain rod hardware is an official pain in the butt. You can find the details on hanging curtains with Command hooks on The Happier Homemaker.

Stick it with Velcro

Velcro is a versatile solution for wall decor. Want to hang artwork, but terrified of hammer and nails? Try adhesive strips! This humble invention can securely hold your artwork and can be removed easily when it’s time to move out. Just peel, stick, and voila – you have your favorite piece on display, with no nail holes in sight!

Hooks and Hangers

These stainless steel adhesive hooks are a renter’s best friend. They’re perfect for hanging anything from keys to coats to bathroom towels, all without leaving a trace. They look nicer than most and you can get them on Amazon.

Go Big with Rugs and Pillows

close up picture of couch with decorative pillows and a knit throw, apartment decorating without nails

Sometimes, decorating doesn’t have to be about the walls. Large rugs and colorful throw pillows can change the entire feel of a room. Plus, rugs have the added advantage of protecting your rental’s floor from scuffs and scratches.

Fabric and Starch

For a more DIY approach, you can temporarily affix fabric to your walls using liquid starch. Choose a fabric in the color or pattern you prefer, apply a layer of liquid starch to the wall with a paint roller, attach the fabric, and then apply another layer of starch on top. When you’re ready for a change, you can just peel the fabric off. Who knew?!

Make Use of Poster Putty

young woman sitting in her apartment bedroom, there are posters hanging on the wall

Remember those posters you had plastered all over your walls as a teenager? Bring them back with poster putty! It’s an easy way to hang lightweight posters, photos, and artwork without causing any damage.

What is the best tape for hanging posters?

When it comes to hanging posters without damaging walls or the posters themselves, several types of tape could be used. Here are some options:

  • 1. Poster Tape: This type of tape is double-sided and designed specifically for hanging posters and light wall decor. It can hold the item securely and generally doesn’t leave a residue when removed.
  • 2. Painter’s Tape: Although not as strong as other tapes, painter’s tape is designed to be gentle on surfaces and remove cleanly. If you’re hanging lighter posters, this can be an excellent option.
  • 3. Washi Tape: A favorite among crafters, washi tape is a colorful, fun, and paper-based tape that is low tack. This means it won’t cause damage to most surfaces, including the poster. While it might not be the best choice for heavier posters, it is great for lighter, decorative items.
  • 4. Removable Mounting Tape or Squares: These products are made for hanging items on walls without causing damage. They often have a foam or silicone base that adheres well to various surfaces, and they remove cleanly.

Is there a way to temporarily paint a wall?

Yes. There is a product known as “Tempaint” which claims to be a temporary painting solution. It’s designed to go on smoothly and peel off easily when you’re done with it. However, this isn’t as commonly available as all of the other options to change your wall color like we discussed above

Pro Tips

  • Before applying anything to your walls, make sure to clean them thoroughly. Dust, grime, or oily residues can affect how well these products adhere.
  • It’s always a good idea to test a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure the product works as expected and doesn’t damage your walls.
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