The holidays are coming, and with that comes holiday decorating. Decorating is particularly important now, as we’re all spending more time indoors and want to fill our homes with holiday cheer.
For renters, it’s essential to know what kind of decorating you’re allowed to do, as some decorating ideas could get you in trouble or be a safety hazard. Abiding by your building’s decorating rules will help ensure you don’t cause damage to the apartment, pose a safety issue, or run the risk of losing your security deposit.
As a general rule, it is always best to go for decorations that don’t pose a safety risk or leave marks, residue, or punctures on the walls. Review your lease to see what is and what is not allowed when it comes to decorating and check in with your landlord or property manager when in doubt.
Read on for some helpful decorating tips that will make you—and your landlord—happy this holiday season:
Tip #1: Use Adhesive Hooks
Most lease agreements will specify their decorating policies, such as whether or not you can hang pictures on the walls, etc. If you are not allowed to use decorative items on the walls, use Command strips or plastic suction wreath holders to hang lights, wreaths, stockings, and other decorative items.
The tiny holes left on your apartment walls from hanging holiday décor can give a landlord a reason to deduct funds from your security deposit, especially if he or she has to spend extra time and money repairing the damage, so it’s always better to be safe and keep the holes and damage to a minimum. You can also drape decorative lights from curtain rods, eliminating the need for adhesive hooks altogether.
Tip #2: Use Caution When Using Decorative Lights
While decorative lights add a beautiful spark to holiday décor, they can also present several safety issues when used improperly. Follow the following tips when decorating with lights to ensure a safer experience:
- If you are decorating your home’s exterior, check the box to ensure the lights you are using are for outdoor use. Use a plastic or wooden ladder when hanging lights outside, as plastic and wood do not conduct electricity.
- Use LED lights when decorating, as LED lights produce less heat than traditional lights. For more flexibility on where to hang the lights, use battery-powered lights so that you can hang the lights in areas where outlets aren’t nearby.
- In addition to using LED decorative lights, use LED flameless candles as well. Many LED candles allow you to change the color of the lighting, helping you create a warm ambience.
- Include the date of when you purchased the string lights on the box of decorations and replace the lights when you have had them for more than three years.
- Prior to putting the lights up, check them thoroughly for broken bulbs or problems with the wires. If any bulbs are broken, be sure to replace them (with the lights unplugged) before setting up the lights.
- Try not to link more than three strands of lights together.
- Keep the lights unplugged when you’re putting them up or taking them down. Be sure to also unplug the lights anytime you leave the house or go to bed.
- Do not use nails or tacks when hanging the lights, as that may damage the cords.
Tip #3: Keeping the Hallways Clear
When decorating in our homes or apartments, there is always a temptation to bring the festivities outdoors as well. Try to resist decorating your door or hallway area if you live in an apartment building, as cleaning staff may need to vacuum the area around your doorway. Decorative objects around the doorway could also be tripped on or damaged by children or other tenants in the building, so it is best to keep those indoors as well. Instead of putting items in your hallway, put decorative items on the inside of your window so outsiders can enjoy the décor.
Tip #4: Use Fire-Resistant Decorations
While having a real tree, candles, and other flammable items are a temptation for Christmas, Hannukah, and Kwanzaa, a tree can leak sap into the hardwood or carpet and can scratch the floor. Some landlords ban real trees altogether as they pose a major fire hazard. Invest in a fake, fire-resistant tree and other decorative items, but still try to keep them away from fireplaces and candles to be safe. Use LED lights around trees and other decorative items as an additional safety precaution.
Tip #5: Bring the Wreath In
Rather than hanging a wreath from your door’s exterior, which may not be allowed depending on your apartment building’s rules, hang a wreath using suction hooks from end tables, bookshelves, or kitchen counters and cabinets. In addition to wreaths, artificial garland can also be used on staircases, tables, and shelves, giving a similar decorative element but with no hanging required.
Tip #6: Create a Faux Fireplace
If you don’t have a fireplace, creating a faux fireplace is especially fun to do with kids. Adhere peel-and-stick chalkboard wallpaper to the wall and invite the kids to design the fireplace drawing in stockings, presents, and any other decorative items they want. Test a small portion of the peel-and-stick wallpaper to the wall before adhering a large piece to ensure it doesn’t cause damage to the paint or wall.
Decking the halls while living in a rental property may bring some limitations, but that doesn’t rule out holiday decorating ideas altogether. With Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Years just around the corner, there are countless opportunities to fill your home with holiday cheer. Doing so in a safe manner that abides by the rules takes away a layer of stress and can help ensure there aren’t any deductions in your security deposit.
To be extra safe, always keep a fire extinguisher close to the decorations in the event of an emergency. It is also advised to invest in renter’s insurance (if you haven’t done so already) to protect your belongings should anything happen.
Visit our website for more tips on how to decorate your apartment safely and effectively.