Paint-Free Apartment Decorating Ideas

Can’t paint the walls of your apartment? I’m not surprised. Many property managers and landlords don’t want to go through the hassle of putting on a new coat of paint after residents move out.

But, no worries! You can find other fun and affordable ways to add some color to your place. Check out these paint-free apartment decorating alternatives:

Removable Wallpaper

Temporary, removable wallpaper will completely change the way you think about decorating your walls. Available in many colors and styles, it is any renter’s dream come true. For some seriously cute designs and the ability to customize your print, check out Chasing Paper.

While it might be called removable wallpaper, you don’t necessarily have to apply the color to your walls. Consider attaching it to a door or furniture. Placing a small amount of bright color in a single spot will add pizzazz to your apartment.

Wall Decals

Decals are a fun and inexpensive apartment decorating wonder that transforms any room your place. The removable stickers can range from intricate designs to simple quotes.

They also feature installations and can come down just as easily as they were put up. For renters, Dali Decals suggests ordering a matte finish for your decal since it is the easiest to remove from walls. They also offer great step-by-step installation instructions.


While most people think of curtains as being only window treatments, they can also be used as an affordable way to spice up a room! In fact, tent-style decor is a classic interior design choice.

By installing a beautiful curtain across an empty wall, you’ve just saved yourself a lot of time and energy that might have otherwise been spent painting. It’s a whole lot cheaper too!

IKEA has a great selection of inexpensive curtains and curtain rods to turn this idea into a reality. Target also sells the products. Of course, you can make your curtains yourself! Though DIY curtains might sound like a challenging project, you can totally tackle them.

Picture Frames

There’s no better way to make your apartment look great and feel like a home than adding picture frames to your walls. You can find affordable frames at many home goods stores, including Bed Bath & Beyond and Target.

Consider creating a picture frame collage, made up of all different sizes and colors of frames. The collage can be as large or as small as you’d like and personalized for any space. Simply arrange and hang frames on a large, blank wall.

You can even add a few unique mirrors to the mix for a pop of something different in your frame gallery wall. Not only will it differentiate the look of your frames, but mirrors make a room seem brighter and larger.

String Lights

Turn a string of lights into an out-of-the-box art project! All you need are string lights (in your choice of color and bulb shape) and some cord nails. The nails are fitted into little plastic bridges (of sorts). The plastic goes over the cord to hold it in place. Arrange your lights however you want then nail them.

You can also use string lights around a mirror to create a warm glow, create curtains of lights for empty apartment walls, or make a DIY headboard.


Decorate your bare walls using recycled home pieces, such as shutters or doors. You can paint them however you want and hang them on the walls either vertically or horizontally. When you do hang them, be sure you use the right kind of screw—the wood can be pretty heavy. Also, you’ll need to screw the doors or shutters into a wall stud.

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