Can Tenants Hang Pictures on the Walls?

You did it. You’ve signed the lease and you finally moved all your stuff into your new place. You bought a new mattress, a new couch, and a new dining table. You set up your electricity, gas, water, and (most importantly) your wi-fi. Everything seems to be falling into place and you’re finally starting to feel like you’re at home.

And then, there are the walls.

Everywhere you look, there they are: empty, blank walls. You would love to start putting some pictures and paintings on them, but that means you would also need to put nails in the walls, and that means you might be saying goodbye to your dearly beloved security deposit. So what can you do?

Tenants should check the lease agreement before hanging pictures on the walls. Most leases specifically state whether tenants can or cannot make holes in the walls. Some leases allow holes up to a certain size, and others allow tenants to hang pictures but specify what needs to be fixed before moving out.

Hanging Pictures on Rental Properties

In general, if you can’t find anything on the lease agreement, that means you should be ok to hang most pictures items on the walls. You need to use your own judgment though, so don’t go punching holes everywhere thinking you can do whatever you want. Treat your house as if you actually owned it, and you should be ok.

Here are some additional tips that should help you live in a nice, cozy home and still get your full security deposit back:

Asking Your Landlord About Holes in the Walls

If you went over your lease agreement and couldn’t find anything related to walls, paint, or hanging items, chances are that your landlord is ok with it. However, if you are still on the fence about it, the best way to go is just to ask him/her directly. I know you might think “if I ask him then he’s going to say no” but, trust me, it’s better to be honest now and save yourself a lot of headache in the future. Most landlords want you to feel at home (cause that means you will stay there longer, and that means more money and security for them), so they should be understanding when it comes to hanging pictures and painting the walls. A quick email or text with the following message should be enough:

“Dear Mr./Mrs. Landlord,

As we continue unpacking and settling in into our new home, we would like to put up a few family photos and paintings up on the walls. We went over the leasing agreement and couldn’t find anything about this topic, so we wanted to touch bases with you first. We would love to be able to hang these items on the walls, but we wanted to know if you have any specific preferences as to how to do so. Thank you so much for your time!”

Fixing Holes or Wall Damage Before You Leave

Once you do hang your pictures on the walls, you should be aware of how to fix any holes or damage before you leave the apartment. The traditional idea is that tenants should return a property in the same state as when they first moved in. That means that there should be no holes on the walls and proper painting (if you moved into a property that had holes on the walls and no painting, I’m very sorry but you should have ran away). You should check your lease agreement and/or talk to the landlord to see what should be done in regards to the walls.

Some landlords will be scared that tenants will make poor repairs, and therefore will tell you exactly what you need to do if you want to fix it yourself. If you do have the option of fixing it yourself, you should try it as it will save you some good money. If you leave it up to landlords, they will most likely hire someone to do the job and that’s gonna come out of your security deposit.

How to Hang Stuff on Walls Without Damage

Maybe you have tried convincing your landlord about letting you hang photos and paintings on the walls, but he/she is not budging. Does that mean you’re gonna need to stare at those blank walls for the next year?

Thankfully, nowadays you do have some other options. Command hangers, velcro tapes, and monkey hooks are good alternatives for hanging items and keeping your walls undamaged.

Command Hangers

These little guys are AWESOME. I’ve been using them everywhere for my last couple apartments. They are extremely easy to set up, and if you follow the instructions correctly, they should leave no marks on your walls. The one thing I want to point out is to make sure you get the appropriate hanger for what you’re trying to hang. I tried saving some money a couple times by getting smaller hangers (for 3 lbs instead of 5 lbs), but then my painting was too heavy and it ripped the hangers (and the paint) off the walls.

You can find them at any major hardware store, and stores like CVS and Walmart will have some options as well, although less variety. Command has hangers that support anywhere from ⅓ of a pound to 8 pounds each. They also have different styles, finishes, and humidity-proof ones. They are my go to and I highly recommend them to anyone. Just make sure you also look at the instructions about how to take them off in order not to leave any damage!

Here’s a guide of how to use these:

Using Velcro Tapes to Hang Pictures

These are pretty good alternatives for when you need to hang a flat picture frame that won’t be held by the hangers. I haven’t used these yet, but they are really straight forward. You just put one side on the wall, one side on the picture frame, press on it for about a minute and voila! Your blank empty wall is now looking very nice and you know it won’t leave any marks when you take them off.

Here’s a quick tutorial about how to set these up:

How to Hang Heavy Pictures in an Apartment – Monkey Hooks

If you happen to have heavier items to hang or walls that don’t support the previous solutions, Monkey Hooks might be your best alternative. While you do need to make a hole in your wall, it’s tiny and your landlord might not even notice. On the plus side, Monkey Hooks are supposed to hold up to 35 lbs in residential dry-walls! So you might be able to hang heavier mirrors or shelves that otherwise would need to be kept at a storage unit.

Make sure you use the appropriate weight in order to avoid any unnecessary wall damage!

Gui Hadlich

Hi there! I'm Gui. I've had to move 12 times in the last 6 years, and I've learned a thing or two about moving, decorating, and buying and selling furniture. I've started Budget Friendly Furnishing with the intent of helping people furnish their homes in style without having to break the bank!

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