The idea of decorating a rental home turns many people’s stomachs into knots. Worries about angry landlords and lost deposits are often not unfounded. This means that many people would rather just leave the space as-is to avoid trouble.
But there are a ton of changes you can make to a rental without crossing the line. To show you, we set up this guide to offer some direction on how to decorate a rented mobile home.
What are the issues with decorating a rented mobile home?
If you want to make changes to your rented mobile home, you should first turn to your rental agreement. There should be a section on alterations to the property. Much of this will cover potential damage to the home, but some will deal specifically with decorative changes.
The rules and the potential consequences will depend on your unique agreement. However, in most cases, unauthorized permanent changes will be treated as damages, and your landlord can withhold some of your deposit to cover the “repairs” needed to return the home to its original state.
In short, a security deposit is a sum of money that you will pay to the landlord when you take the lease. The landlord will pay this money back to you after you move out if the property is still in good condition. A deposit can serve several purposes – for instance, it could help the landlord to cover unpaid rent.
What are the big no-no’s?
Generally, there are some rules of thumb you can follow to make sure that you don’t break the rules.
- Avoid making any changes that could count as a downgrade – i.e. changes that reduce the quality of the mobile home. For example, don’t mount your television on the wall if you have to drill several large holes to do it.
- Don’t make any changes that significantly alter the look of the property (unless you receive permission).
- Stay away from making any changes that are permanent or that you can’t reverse quickly. For example, you shouldn’t break out a part of the wall to install a built-in shelf.
- Don’t alter anything about the structure or floor plan of the home.
- Avoid making any changes to the plumbing or wiring.
- Never remove major or large built-in appliances like the stove.
Get it in writing
In most cases, if you avoid the above, your deposit will be intact. However, you definitely want to be safe rather insted of sorry.
Whenever you’re in doubt, it might be better to consult your landlord. Ask for permission before you start. If he or she agrees, make sure that you get the agreement in writing. This way, you have proof and can protect yourself if there is a dispute later on.
Often, your landlord’s reaction might surprise you. If your decoration ideas significantly increase the appearance and quality of the mobile home, your landlord could be glad about the changes.
Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you might even be able to cut a deal with them where they decrease your rent in order to help cover some of the costs of upgrades you’re making. This would be a win-win situation.
16 Things you can do to decorate your mobile home rental
Overall, the two crucial points when it comes to decorating your rented mobile home is that the change should usually be temporary and that it shouldn’t detract from the home’s value. At first, this might sound very limiting.
But don’t worry. As we’ve said, there are still many things you can do to spruce up the place.
Here are some great decorating ideas.
1 – Change the lighting
Lighting is a key contributor to the overall atmosphere of a room. The right bulbs with the right color and lumens can take any space to the next level. Besides this, the fixtures themselves can also add or detract from the aesthetic.
Changing the light bulbs is typically the tenant’s responsibility. And usually, landlords won’t have an issue with you replacing the light fixture, especially if you keep the old one and swap them out when you move.
But what if you can’t replace the existing light fixtures for some reason?
In that case, freestanding lamps might become your best friends. These decor items can be both practical and beautiful.
And best of all you can take them with you when you leave.
A pro tip is to keep a labeled box in your cupboard where you can safely store all of the original fixtures.
2 – Small nail holes
Although you don’t want to puncture all the walls in the home, if you do have numerous walls, using one or two here and there shouldn’t hurt. Most landlords will allow you to drill several small nail holes. You can then simply fill them with spackle before you move.
Now you’ll be able to put up all kinds of decorative pieces like paintings, photographs, mirrors, and more.
3 – Use tape
Luckily, drilling a hole into the wall isn’t your only option for hanging or mounting decor. You can get a lot done simply by using different kinds of tape. And there are plenty of tape options to choose from:
- Colored tape
- Decorative tape
- Scotch tape
- Double-sided tape
- Holographic tape
Unfortunately, tape won’t typically work for heavy items. But it should work for all kinds of posters and similar hangings.
4 – Lean, don’t hang
One of the best things to happen to the interior decor industry in a long time is that more casual and unique features are now in fashion. For example, it has become trendy to lean portraits and art pieces against the wall instead of hanging them.
You can take advantage of this to decorate your rental without losing your deposit.
5 – Opt for wall decals
Another great option to decorate the walls in a rental is to try out wall decals. These are usually vinyl adhesives that you can easily stick to a surface. You can just peel them off once you’re ready to move. And as long as you buy suitable ones, they won’t cause damage to the walls.
All things considered, this is a very low-cost, low effort, and low-risk option.
Plus, there is a huge variety of designs to choose from. Some companies will even allow you to order custom stickers.
Take a look at just some of the amazing wall decal options that are available.
6 – Spruce up the carpets
Usually, changing up the flooring in a rented home is a no-go. Yet you still have some options.
Let’s face it. The carpets in rentals are often worse for wear. They can look shabby and even dirty. So one way you can freshen up the mobile home is by giving them a proper cleaning.
By this, we mean either bringing in a professional or simply renting professional equipment to get the job done. Most carpets will look like new after a deep clean.
7 – New curtains and blinds
Another feature of rented homes that can make them look drab and dreary is their window treatments. Therefore, one of the first things you should do to decorate the space is to buy your own curtains and blinds.
This can be a very effective way to improve the overall aesthetic of the home and get it to match your personal taste.
8 – Paint your furniture
Think of decorating a rented mobile home as a challenge that gives you the opportunity to get creative and explore your options.
For example, if you can’t add color to your floors and walls, how else can you brighten up the house?
Well, you can paint some of your furniture for a start. This also is a great way to upcycle secondhand pieces and refresh outdated items to suit your new tastes and style.
9 – Improve the yard and landscaping
If you are renting a mobile home with a lot, you can usually make quite extensive changes to the garden and yard.
First impressions matter, and the exterior is the first thing your visitors will see.
So it might be a good idea to spruce up the lot with some of the following ideas:
- Invest in plants for each season of the year
- Plant some flowers or flowering shrubs
- Install a walkway or lay out a garden path
- Remove weeds from the lawn and plant beds
- Set up an attractive seating area.
Once again, check in with your landlord to make sure you aren’t overstepping your boundaries.
10 – Contact paper
Contact paper is a material that is adhesive on one side and has a decorative surface on the other. It is generally easy to apply.
Traditionally, people have used contact paper to line shelves, drawers, and closets. But recently, people have found many other creative uses for it. You can use it to:
- Cover up damaged flooring
- Cover the back of your bookshelf (the area visible behind your books)
- Spruce up old cabinet fronts
- Create a DIY accent wall
- Hide damaged countertops
- Decorate a table.
There are countless designs out there, so you will definitely find one that suits you. You can buy it in rolls and cut them to suit your purpose.
11 – Houseplants galore
A surefire way to bring a breath of fresh air into any home is to get yourself some houseplants. Doing this can improve even the most depressing interior.
There are plenty of plants, from ivy to ferns, that will thrive indoors. You could create a veritable jungle if you wanted to.
Plus, you can get stunning and modern planters that count as decorations in and of themselves.
12 – Get a cozy rug
Are you longing for a carpet, but your unit only has tiles or laminate floors?
Well, then the easiest option is to get yourself a lovely rug. First, this will help to keep your feet warm during the winter. Secondly, it can make the entire room appear more comforting and welcoming.
13 – Peel and stick backsplash
Kitchens can be one of the trickiest rooms to decorate in a rented mobile home. Many of the changes that you will want to make are probably too extensive, like installing new countertops.
Thankfully, one significant change you can make is adding a DIY peel and stick backsplash. Nowadays, it’s becoming harder to tell the difference between these vibrant decals and real ceramic tiles. And they are really in vogue right now.
Aside from looking fantastic, these backsplashes can make it much easier to clean your kitchen. You can quickly and effortlessly wipe them down.
14 – Invest in moveable storage
Investing in freestanding storage is another addition to your rental that can be both practical and decorative. Metaphorically, you can kill two birds with one stone.
Here are a bunch of smart storage solutions to consider:
- A freestanding clothing rack
- Rolling bar cart
- Repurposed and upcycled filing cabinets
- All kinds of wicker baskets
- A storage ladder
- Freestanding bookcase
- Repurposed steamer trunk
Many of these options can also act as portable shelves. If your furniture item has a flat surface on top, you can use it to display some decorative items like vases and candles.
15 – Maybe a splash of paint
Painting is probably one of the most common points of contention between landlords and their tenants.
Undoubtedly, it is one of the most effective ways to change the look and feel of a room and make it your own. But for the same reason, it can bother landlords because it’s quite a big change.
However, many owners will be perfectly fine with it as long as you ask permission first and agree to repaint the home in its original shade before you move.
Or sometimes, if you only use neutral colors, you can leave it as-is when you go.
16 – Other non-permanent accessories
In general, to decorate a rented mobile home, you should focus on non-permanent accessories. There are countless of these to go around. And you can safely use them while keeping your deposit intact. Plus, you can use them in any of your future homes.
Here are some favorites you should keep in mind:
- Throws and quilts for your furniture
- Decorative cushions
- Colorful linen
- Table runners
- Desk accessories.
You can still transform a rental into a home
Clearly, you don’t have to be stuck with the original appearance of the mobile home. There is a lot you can do without consulting your landlord or losing your deposit. As long as you take your contract into account and stay within certain bounds, you can work magic.
You might be surprised how far a little bit of personalization can go when turning a new space into a home. Some ideas that you should check out to customize your rental are air plants and smart lighting.