Renter-Friendly Holiday Decorating Ideas

Getting swept up in the holiday spirit can very quickly turn into a slippery slope if you live in a rented property. Landlords typically disapprove of any decorating projects because one such project gone wrong could end up costing them either their next tenant or a lot of money to repair. Our holiday whims can turn out to be some of our landlord’s greatest pain points.

Consequently, such no damage policies put a massive damper on your plans for the season and discourage you from spreading your usual festive spirit. However, there’s a way to accommodate your lease, and all you need are a few renter-friendly holiday decorating ideas. 

holiday decorating

Don’t feel married to a real tree

A Christmas tree is a true telltale of the holiday season. However, as a renter, you may be facing some constraints. Maybe there’s little or no room in your rental to host a gigantic pine tree. Perhaps it leaves a mess, or perhaps your landlord predicts some other potential issues causing him to ban dragging real trees into the rental altogether. If so, the smartest thing is not to try getting around it. If your landlord is conducting regular inspections, it will be difficult to hide the tree.

For example, by cutting down a pine tree from nature and dragging it awkwardly into your apartment, you may cause scratches on laminate or hardwood floors or tears in the carpet.

Additionally, even if you manage to safely bring it inside, if the tree is older, its sap might start to ooze out, again, damaging your flooring. Lastly, some landlords cite potential fire hazards as their reason to forbid the trees. Therefore, always check your lease agreement to make sure you will not be losing your security deposit for having to pay for property repairs.

Invest in an artificial tree

Luckily, there’s always a workaround. For starters, you could opt to invest in a fake Christmas tree. You can purchase a smaller one that fits perfectly in your tiny rental, and these are also less likely to catch fire than the dry needles and firewood of real trees. When buying a fake tree, if it’s pre-wired with lights, always check if they’ve been safety-tested for flammability. If you see a UL symbol somewhere on the product, you’re safe. Also, if it’s not coated in a flame-retardant coating, purchase a spray and do it by yourself.

Consider a DIY tree

If you don’t mind a non-traditional touch to your holiday decorating design, there are many DIY ideas for improvising a Christmas tree that are both budget- and renter-friendly, as well as space-saving. A bunch of ideas online suggest that you can make it pretty much out of anything, from balloons and books to twine and colorful paper, as long as it’s triangle-shaped.

For example, a pinecone Christmas tree is a creative alternative that has caught a lot of eyes online. For this DIY project, you’ll need approximately 30 pinecones for a smaller sized tree (note that you can make it as big as your available space allows), a cone-shaped Styrofoam (you can make this out of cardboard as well), a white and dark brown paint, paintbrushes, a hot glue gun, and a wooden planter. 

Step one is painting the Styrofoam cone in brown paint. While you let this dry, take the time to dab the white paint on the pinecones, so it resembles snow. Next, heat your hot glue gun, and start attaching the pinecones to the cone. Glue the largest ones around the base of the gone, and be careful to keep gaps to a minimum. Glue the second layer of pinecones right above the first layer, and repeat until you reach the top of the cone. It is best if each layer is smaller than the one you glue beneath it. Leave it as it is or decorate it with some faux pearls or other tiny ornaments, and place it in the planter.    

Twinkle lights solutions

The next in line of our tenant-friendly ideas for festive décor include fairy lights. To remain a good tenant, no matter what you’re hanging in your rented apartment (posters, pictures, mirrors, wall décor, etc.), be cautious not to cause any damage to the walls, ceiling, and furniture. This is why it’s crucial to know that your process of decorating with twinkle lights needs to be nail-free. If you leave dozens of tiny holes made by nails, screws, pins, or tacks, you risk having your landlord deduct from your security deposit. 

holiday decorating

A simple cheat is to change the place and method of displaying your fairy lights. You can either wrap them around a piece of furniture, a bookshelf, for example, or set them up using removable plastic clips or double-sided tape. 

Holiday candle substitutes

Some rental insurance policies forbid the use of all kinds of candles on the property, scented holiday kind included. They are considered a potential fire hazard if left unattended or used irresponsibly. Additionally, they can damage the carpet upon dripping wax. 

An alternative for filling your home with pleasant scents you associate with the holiday season are essential oil diffusers, for instance. If you aim for a dimmed, cozy ambiance, consider battery-powered candles. In addition to being a lot safer, today, electric candles are also amazingly realistic.

Frosty windows alternatives

The frosty look on your windows may seem appealing until you realize you’ve accidentally left some of the coating on your sills, curtains, or walls. In other words, if gone awry, spray-on snow could wind up costing you some repairs. 

Therefore, consider switching this holiday staple with decals or hand-made paper snowflakes. Decals are great for decorating your home because they are budget-friendly, easy to put up, and, most importantly, easy to remove without any scratches, marks, or residue once the season is over. There are so many varieties in terms of their design, so you’ll be able to leave a personal touch very easily.  

Flex your creative muscle

Next, there’s no harm in making some of that old-fashioned colorful paper decoration displayed all around your living area. If you enjoy DIY and have ideas far more interesting than just paper snowflakes, by all means, proceed. Grab your scissors, colored paper, and baker’s twine, and make your favorite holiday characters, sweets, and objects. Then take suction-based or command hooks to hold them mounted. 

Of course, ornaments need not be mounted or made of paper in the first place. Create a simple but striking DIY centerpiece arrangement for your dining table to make it wonderfully festive. Do this by cutting and weaving together a beautiful bed of white chrysanthemums and artificial branches. Scatter colorful ornaments, leftover pinecones, and bells all over the bed of branches. Another idea is to take a glass bowl and fill it with colorful ornaments you’d typically use for decorating your Christmas tree. The good news is that these centerpieces are practical because you can pack them up and store them safely after the season is over and use them again next year.

holiday decorating

Create an ambiance that rivals all of your favorite Christmas movies

Now that you have your tree, twinkle lights, candles, wintry windows, and papercrafts, you’re on the right path to creating an ambiance that rivals those beautiful scenes in Christmas movies. But you’re not done yet. Make sure not to leave any surface without holiday cheer.

  • Give your dining nook a festive, North Pole-inspired flair by placing a beautiful holiday garland down the center of your dining table. Combine it with a checkered tablecloth, special dinnerware, and festive napkins to set the jolly scene for a holiday meal.
  • Throw some cushions dressed in holiday pillow covers on your couch, along with your favorite soft blanket, to achieve that cozy and snugly ambiance effect. 
  • Decorate your stairway and show your gift-wrapping skills, all at once, by lining your staircase with wrapped presents. Go crazy with the patterns and colors for a fun, energetic look. No rule says you must settle for the traditional color palette of green and red.
  • Since you probably don’t have a mantel in your rental, bring your wreaths indoors, and place them on your window sills. Then, layer with pinecones and greenery.

Christmas jingles as a finishing touch

The last of our renter-friendly holiday decorating ideas is holiday music! No holiday is complete without your favorite festive songs. So, it’s time to strike a chord and enjoy the most wonderful time of the year! Turn on the stereo loud enough to enjoy your Christmas jingles in sing-alongs with your friends and family, but not too loud. Remember, you’re still in a rented property.