Tips for No-damage Winter Decorating

Published online: Dec 01, 2021 / Renters

It’s that time of year when everyone wants to feel as if they’re living in a “Winter Wonderland.” The tree is up in the corner and full of twinkling lights and ornaments. The garland is placed on the mantle with stockings hanging below. Lights are strung up inside and out, emitting a gentle glow reminiscent of the holidays.

When you’re renting, it’s not always easy to dress up your rental for the holidays. You want your holiday décor to leave you feeling warm and cozy, but you don’t want to experience the potential damage that comes with certain decorations. We’ve got you covered. Check out these tips to learn the “do’s” and “don’ts.” Let’s start with the short “don’t” list.

What not to do

Don’t use tape

Tape comes in all different forms: cellophane, masking, and double-sided. No matter the type of tape, it was not designed for easy removal. Instead, it can take off paint or damage plaster when removing it from walls or door frames. And, it leaves a sticky residue when used on windows.

It is best to avoid using all varieties of tape if possible. Don’t worry! Other options are just as effective. Check out the “what to do” list below to find an alternative to tape.

Don’t use nails or screws

Not to state the obvious, but nails and screws create permanent holes in whatever you put them in. Over time, this causes those surfaces to age faster. Even if you patch the hole with a spackle, the damage still exists in the wall.

Like tape, avoid using nails and screws whenever possible. Instead, find a different option to hang those decorations.

Don’t use real candles

Real candles are a fire hazard. If left unattended, they start fires.

If you’re going to use candles, use extreme caution. Don’t use them in places where they can easily be knocked over. Also, don’t use them where other things can easily catch fire, such as a candle in a window with curtains. Always make sure they are properly extinguished when you leave or go to bed.

Use over-the-door hangers with caution

While over-the-door hangers can be a convenient way to hang decorations, such as wreaths, they can cause damage if not used properly. If used on an inside door, they can damage the door frame and impact its ability to properly close. For outside doors, over-the-door hangers can damage the weatherstripping, which is the rubber or foam lining around the edge of the door that helps keep air and water out.

If you’re going to use an over-the-door hanger, use one with padding to protect the door frame or make sure there is plenty of clearance. Also, pay careful attention when using the door if weatherstripping is present to ensure it’s not being damaged.

What to do

Now that we’ve covered what not to do, let’s look at some “do’s” you can use. There’s a lot of options!

Use removable adhesive hangers

Removable adhesive hangers were designed to be easily removed without causing damage to the original surface. The most common brand is 3M Command™. And, depending on your needs, they come in a variety of options, such as velcro strips, hooks, and clips.

When using, make sure you buy hangers that have an appropriate weight rating for what you need. It’s also important to properly prep the surface by cleaning and drying it before using the adhesive hangers. When you do remove them, do so carefully.

Use suction cup hooks

Suction cup hooks are a great way to hang items on smooth surfaces rather than using tape. They easily stick to glass, mirrors, or tiles. More importantly, they easily come off. They can also be used outside on windows.

As with removable adhesive hangers, take the time to find the right one based on what you’re hanging. And, clean and dry the surface thoroughly beforehand for the best results.

Use string, wire, or fishing line

Not many people think of using string, wire, or fishing line when it comes to decorating. But, it can help hang a variety of objects on doors, in windows, and on walls. For example, you can use it to hang a wreath on a door by looping the fishing line through the back of the wreath and attaching the ends to the two top corners of the door.

It can also be used to help secure garlands or other decorations to railings or screen doors.

Use freestanding décor

This seems like an obvious tip. But, we don’t want to assume that you’ve considered all of the freestanding décor options. Freestanding just refers to anything that you place on the ground, floor, windowsill, bookcase, coffee table, etc. that doesn’t require additional support.

Here are some possibilities to consider:

  • Christmas tree with lights and ornaments
  • Nativity scenes
  • Decorations from your favorite craft store
  • Battery-powered LED candles
  • Bowl or basket filled with ornaments, pinecones, or other small objects
  • Photo frames with holiday scenes
  • Decorative throw pillows or blankets
  • Holiday-themed doormat
  • Inflatable lawn decorations
  • Pots filled with small trees or greenery wrapped in lights
  • Poinsettias

Check out our previous blog, “4 Places to Decorate in Your Apartment for Christmas” for additional inspiration on decorating your door, entryway, table, and main room.

Use removable clips

If you are looking for an option to hang things outside, here are a couple of choices: light clips and siding clips.

Light clips are a great option if you want to hang lights on the outside of your home and don’t want to use nails or screws. There are several types of light clips depending on whether you are attaching them to a gutter or shingle roof. Once attached to the house, you easily clip in the lights to hold them in place.

If your home has siding on the outside, look into siding clips. They easily slide into the seams between the siding. Once secure, you can hang signs, wreaths, and more from them to decorate the side of your home. When done, they easily slide out until you’re ready to use them again next year. Clips also exist to use on bricks.

One final reminder before you run out to your local hardware or craft store, make sure you know what is or isn’t allowed per your lease. If you’re uncertain or something seems ambiguous, check with the property manager. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Now, go forth and enjoy creating your own “Winter Wonderland” this holiday season!