rentals : DIY personality for your walls

Good morning, sweet people! I hope this post finds you well, and that you all had a wonderful weekend! I received a sweet lil message recently from a curious gal that went a little something like this:

…I was wondering if you had some super cool ideas for getting colors or personality on a wall that you can’t paint. We are in a rental and have been advised NOT to paint any of the neutral oatmeal colored walls. I am desperate to make the space our own and have some big simple things up on the walls that wont cause too much trouble to the drywall. Do you have any ideas?

Thanks a bunch!
Megan, your very loyal follower =)

Just a side note, but I also have to say, that it definitely helped matters that she put your very loyal follower, at the end. Because I’m building an army of minions, and this makes me happy ;}

First things first: I can relate to Megan. If our own house sells, this may be my reality all too soon for a few months. And I started thinking about what I would do, if this were me. So I began gathering information for this little post, and a part from the answers you can find for bringing personality to a rental and a few non-renovation renovations, there are a few things I would recommend. Pops of color and interest with furniture, curtains (if you’re going to be there a while) and decals {I’m super picky on the subject of decals, and love the idea of these, and even these removable stripes! I know, right? Who knew!}

Before I started searching and turned this into a huge inspiration post, I stopped and started looking around our own home. Walls are kind of our favorite thing… and I kind of liked some of our own ideas. So forgive me for reinventing ourselves for today, but I truly believe some of our own fun ideas would work great in a rental.

You can take a few of these and alter them to your skill level, change the size or color to work for you, and even substitute or alter a few ideas. If you can’t hang, think of leaning, and remember, the people at your local Home Depot, Lowe’s or other home improvement store will cut your {outside cuts} on the wood for free. Most all of these can hang with simple wall hanging kits, and the best part? They move with you! So, without further ado, please don’t flog me, but here are a few of things we’ve done, revisited.

Unify a gallery wall with simple black and white photographs. These frames are simple Ikea frames and the printouts are doable at any local store.

Up the ante with an a-typical arrangement in a trouble spot kind of area. Unify them with something fun like painted stripes, and throw in a plethora of family photos. They are the perfect decor, after all.

Some of our best photographs have been taken on our phones. Frame them all in one big statement making piece, or use small clusters if you don’t feel up to making your own frame. You could alter our tutorial and make it hang with a picture hanging kit, or even a few dabbles of hot glue that easily pop off the wall when you’re done. It’ll be your little secret…

Bring instant interest with a gallery wall combined with everything from paintings, to photos, and even printed paper {see the butterflies} and some DIY art.

Need a place to operate as a family command center? Or even something for a room? Create a crib spring memo board.

For art display, grocery lists, and everything in between, try these fabric backed magnet boards: You can do them in any color to match your home, and the fabric brings major personality to the space.

Make your own wooden letters. Don’t want to cut, or don’t have anyone to cut for you? Break out some cardboard + an exacto for the same effect. It’s a simple afternoon project, and could bring some quick personality + color to those walls.

Another example of something simple to make for your walls. Simply adjust it to work with cardboard, if cutting with a saw isn’t for you. See the video, here. 

Modpodge anything, from frames to spare pieces of MDF, with scrapbook, wall or wrapping paper to make just about anything and create custom art for your walls. See a how-to for some fun signs, here. 

Speaking of signs, make your own personalized one from more scrap pieces of wood or MDF, and include a quote from your favorite song. Make it large and in charge for your wall as a simple statement. You can even do this to other pieces of furniture. 

Love the look of stencils but can’t paint your walls? Bring some self contained texture with planks or painted MDF. The people at the store will cut it for you…all you have to do is assemble and paint.

Make this sign from planks, stain, and paint. It hangs simply on the wall with two picture hanging kits.

Blow up and print an envelope or document of sentimental or historical significance. Have it framed. Instant character!

A DIY chevron sign…I would love to see this done, large and in charge, over a sofa or bed.

Bring a little humor and personality to those walls with a custom made sign. 

You could always do a simpler version of these, but build a mirror. 

Make a barn door or chalkboard.

Don’t want to make one? Find a genuine one at a flea market, and put it on the wall. A regular old antique door would being some architectural interest, as well.

Looking for some art to put on your walls in simple, temporary ways? Check out our entire freebies section, chocked full of art by us, here!

We hope this gives you some ideas, full of personality for the place you live, whether it’s the all challenging no-paint apartment, or just a few ideas for your forever home. Happy inspired day, everyone!

And always remember whether you’re living, looking or moving, Apartment Guide offers how-to tips for making the most of your space on a budget. If you’re ready for a whole new space or looking to move, Apartment Guide has the photos, floor plans, features and tips to help you find the perfect apartment community. If your furniture needs a facelift,  you’re searching for some great vintage pieces or budget friendly ideas and DIY how-tos for any sized home, this site is a great lil resource!

PS. We found out last night we were nominated alongside some of our own very favorite blogs and super talented friends, in Apartment Therapy’s Best Home Design Blogs. We’re honored just to be mentioned, and if you nominated us, that really meant more than you know! We’re shocked and flattered, and just happy to be along for the ride. So thank you very much. If you want to vote for some of your favorites, just click on over, log in, and go back to the list. Be sure to check it out here!

Obligatory Disclaimer: Apartment Guide and owner Consumer Source, Inc. partnered with bloggers such as me to participate in their monthly blogger programs.  As part of that program, I received compensation.  They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about the products used, and believe that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Consumer Source’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

This entry was posted in faqs and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
Be Sociable, Share!

Responses to rentals : DIY personality for your walls

  1. Donna says:

    This post packs a punch load of terrific ideas, even for a non-renter like myself. Thanks so much for gathering all these lovely ideas! Best of luck on The Homies! You get my vote!

  2. uh oh, Ashley, are you a font snob AND a decal snob? 😉 I’m in a rental, too, and we’re not allowed to paint here either. In the kids playroom I covered almost an entire wall with these lovely alphabet cards with a different flower for each letter. They’re about 8x10inches and I simply hung them with flat white thumb tacks. They look super cute! Ashley’s alphabet cards would be perfect for the same project. Also, our rental doesn’t have a fireplace, so no mantle to decorate seasonally. I put up a couple staggered IKEA shelves and use them as my seasonal decorating space. Simple rental solution! Hope that helps!

  3. Alexandra says:

    Ashely, I love the walls and your blog and your fun spirit which shines through it all.
    BUT I have a question and I hope you can help me out. I’ve noticed on your blog and a couple of other blogs (Southern, I think), that you always say “without further adieu” (as in, without further goodbye) instead of “without further ado.” Is it some kind of inside, southern joke which I’m missing out on as a foreigner? PLEASE, please let me in on the secret!!! Thanks!!!

    • Alexandra says:

      Oh, and count me in as a minion when you decide to go international :)

      • Hey! Thanks for your kind comments! I just laughed out loud.

        Honestly, I looked it up. Both are considered bad manners in the forums of public speaking, and both are, apparently, tolerable in the way of sense? So I probably won’t be using it anymore, as I’m sure I’m wrong. Just an example: You’ll also never catch me using the word ‘folks’ when referring to people. It drives me crazy, and I think it’s because I’m from the south and I’ve heard way too many people use it to the point of annoyance. So, I think some of it is about geographical location. Meh. Maybe I’m embarrassing my southern cohorts and I’m DEAD WRONG. ;}

        Us folks down here like to sound all fancy and such. OREVOIR, without no mo ADIEU, Y’ALL!

        No secrets here. I make mistakes daily! ;}

  4. Rachel says:

    Seriously wish I lived close enough to buy your house, I would want it fully furnished – exactly as it is in your photos! Love! :)

  5. jennifer says:

    Thanks for the some great ideas from your pics!

  6. Sandra says:

    I love the DIY memo board and the trunk tutorial- thank you for showing me a great selection of design ideas.

  7. MEGAN says:

    THESE ARE ALL SO WONDERFUL! I have seen a lot of your projects seperately BUT seeing them collectively gives me new inspiration to go out and hoard some MDF pieces and break out my paint brush! =) Thank you so much for all your help. I’ll send some pics of things as i get them done.

    PS i feel so privelaged to be a MINION!!!!

  8. Congrats on the nomination! I love all the DIY inspiration projects.

  9. Jessie says:

    There are so many great ideas in this post, thank you! I had a quick question: in the sunroom redo picture, are the stripes outlined with a different color or with trim somehow? It looks like there’s a shadow or something along the edges of the mint colored stripes.

  10. Great tips!! I’m off to read the rest of your rental series… who knows, could be a reality for me too at some point in the near future! (*fingers crossed*)

  11. So many amazing ideas, and you’re right, I didn’t know you could buy stripes! Thanks for all the sharing!

    I’m new to your blog, but I love it!!!!!!

    Lesli @

  12. Julie says:

    Great post! Very timely as I will be moving into an apartment soon and I won’t be able to change a thing.

    Those yellow curtains in the second picture are just what I’m looking for! Where are they from?

  13. Harmonizing interior design, a love of DIY, and being a renter can be so challenging I know! This was great inspiration – I love the artwork suggestions the most – so colorful! I just laid out my own successes and challenges decorating as a renter, and had to link to this, right here: