Room To Improve

7 Holiday Decor Ideas That Won’t Ruin Your Rental

Deck the halls — without sacrificing your security deposit.

by Becca Strassberg

The rumors are true: Everyone’s favorite season is upon us. Between gift shopping and party planning, us holiday lovers are over the moon that we’re finally headed into this special time of year. And if you’re anything like me, nothing puts you in the festive spirit faster than sipping hot chocolate, throwing on some delightfully cheesy music, and decking the halls.

The only challenge of this magical pre-holiday ritual is figuring out how to actually decorate while still respecting the rules of your rental. Whether your place doesn’t allow drilling or you have to be extra careful about protecting that exposed brick wall, it can be a tight line to walk.

And since none of us can afford to lose a security deposit in the middle of this busy shopping season, Bustle teamed up with to bring you tips for decorating your rental without causing lasting damage. Since its creation, the site has helped over 50 million people find homes, with all kinds of rental listings plus all the tools to help you find the perfect spot to turn into your own personal holiday dreamscape.

From space-saving trees and easily removable decorations to seasonal swaps and bold color choices, these creative solutions will keep your rental (and your landlord-tenant relationship) totally intact — all while transforming your space in the most magical way possible.

1. Opt Out Of Traditional Colors

No offense to anyone’s grandma, but the age-old ~holiday look~ could use a refresh. One of the easiest and most impactful ways to make an impact with your holiday decor is to swap the old-school colors (i.e. red and green or blue and white) for a more unexpectedly neutral wonderland. Think: linen stockings and champagne-colored accents.

2. Rethink The Live Christmas Tree

If you live in a gigantic rental with 12-foot high ceilings, well, chances are you found it on But if you don’t, chances are you’re probably looking for a small space option to pile your presents under. For a sizable Christmas tree that won’t shed needles all over the floor or scratch the ceiling, go with 2D over 3D. Simply hang tinsel or string lights on the wall in a zig-zag pattern (remember to do so safely as not to cause damage), narrowing toward the top — or just buy one ready to hang. TBH, whether you’re short on space or not, this DIY idea is too cute to pass up.

3. Use Removable Hooks For Everything

When it comes time to hang that reimagined Christmas tree and other holiday decor, you probably plan on using the tiniest, least offensive of nails — but let’s be honest: you’re better off cutting your losses and just opting for removable hooks. (Because we’ve learned from experience that “reasonable wear and tear” is subject to debate.) Save yourself the headache and stock up on some inexpensive clear adhesives. Made specifically for decorating, you can be sure these won’t cramp your style.

4. Add An Accent With Peel-And-Stick Wallpaper

You might not be able to decorate the outside of your home or building, but the inside of your door is fair game, as long as you’re smart about it. Choose something so chic and temporary that no landlord could object — like this pine tree peel and stick wallpaper. The subtle design will add some cheer to your entryway, and it can be easily removed once the new year begins.

5. Spread Some Cheer With Window Decals

Where there’s a window, there’s a way. This small opening can make a big impact when spreading the holiday spirit — and all you need is a festive decal. You can share well wishes or present a magical scene with easy-to-peel stickers that add to the decor of your block without damaging the glass.

6. Give Your Plants Some Holiday Love

It might not be a pine, but that 5-foot-tall parlor palm in your bedroom can come to the party, too. Adorn your plants with mini ornaments and string lights to add a quirky touch to your decor. If you’re looking to save space or make sure your home remains pet-friendly, this untraditional “tree” will do just the trick. Just make sure you don’t damage your plant children in the process!

7. Swap Out Your Accessories

When in doubt, choose accessories that fit the holiday vibe, but bonus: are so versatile that they can be used in more than the winter months. Dress up your couch with an impossibly chunky blanket and luxe velvet throw pillows, or level up your bar cart with seasonally chic green and red stemware.

Ready to find (and decorate!) your dream rental? Visit today to get started.