Can You Paint Apartment Walls? (Find Out Now!)

Tiffany Nichols
by Tiffany Nichols

Painting your apartment can instantly freshen the space. But you have to be careful not to break your rental lease. In some cases, a landlord will let you paint. In other cases, they won’t. So, can you paint apartment walls or not?

You can paint the walls in your apartment if your landlord permits it. But read your rental lease for more information. And always let your landlord know about your intentions. Tenants can get in trouble for not asking their property manager first.

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Is Painting an Apartment Even Worth It?

Painting your walls is an excellent idea in the grand scheme of things. Not only is repainting walls cheap and easy, but it also improves the space’s aesthetics. You can decorate more efficiently and cover unsightly holes or other damage with a quick coat or two.

Most painting jobs cost around $100 to $200 total. And that includes supplies like reusable paint rollers, paintbrushes, and painter’s tape. However, damaged walls and t ouch-ups can increase the price. And if you rent, you’re most likely throwing your money away.

TIP: Ask your landlord about special discounts for fixing up the place while you still live there.

Do Landlords Ever Let You Paint?

Many landlords let their tenants paint the walls. Still, most tenants must follow strict guidelines as per their lease or local law. For example, some states don’t require landlords to paint between tenants. So, it becomes your responsibility instead.

Either way, you always have to get permission before changing the color of your walls. That’s because landlords own or manage the property, which means they’re in charge. Plus, you can’t use certain colors or paint specific parts of the home. So, it’s best to be sure before you begin.

NOTE: Your landlord has the right to terminate your lease early if you breach the contract.

Who Pays for Paint? Tenant or Landlord?

Most rental contracts place significant responsibility on the tenant. In other words, you usually have to paint your apartment before you move. And that’s especially true if you’re damaged the walls or changed the color from its original shade.

Landlords expect to get their property back in the same condition you received it. So, tenants often clean and paint their apartments as per the lease agreement. In that cases, the tenant must pay for paint and supplies unless otherwise stated.

The only time a landlord pays to paint an apartment is between tenants. In rare cases, you can get a landlord to cough up the cash if they’re responsible for damages. But that can be hard for you to prove. So, try to keep detailed maintenance records.

DID YOU KNOW: You can get your landlord in trouble if they don’t repair damages in time.

What Happens If I Paint My Apartment Walls?

If you paint your apartment walls, several things could happen. For one, your landlord could charge you for damages or end your lease early. For two, you could end up paying to repaint the apartment back to its original color. However, that all depends on how you handle the situation.

Many landlords don’t mind that you paint as long as you ask them first. Plus, they might have some colors they disallow or prefer. Usually, property managers will ask that you keep your color palette neutral. So, get permission and then use light shades you can paint over later.

FACT: If you paint without permission or use an unapproved color, your landlord could deduct the cost of repairs from your deposit.

What Color Should I Paint My Apartment?

The perfect color for your apartment depends on several factors. For example, you can’t choose hues your landlord doesn’t like. And most of the time, that includes dark shades and colors that you can’t easily cover. So, stay away from deep blues, jewel tones, black, and brown.

Instead, choose pastels, greys, whites, and light blues. Those colors usually coordinate with most home decor anyway. You can cover them quickly and don’t always need as many supplies to finish the job. That’s because neutral colors don’t typically stain, bleed, or run.

How to Make Your Apartment Beautiful

You can make your apartment a colorful sanctuary. But you still might not be able to paint the walls. It’s up to your landlord to decide, so always check the lease. And be ready to show your color choices to property managers for approval.

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Related Questions

Do Apartments Paint Between Tenants?

Not all landlords paint their apartments between tenants. That means you might see some wear and tear from the last occupants. But if the condition becomes bothersome, you can always ask your landlord to paint. And in some cases, you can DIY your apartment as long as you follow the rules.

How Often Should You Paint an Apartment?

Painting schedules for rented properties can vary. Meanwhile, factors such as tenant maintenance and lifestyle also play a role. Generally, apartment wall paint can last for three to five years with routine care. However, direct sunlight and smoke can shorten your paint’s lifespan by several months.

Do I Have to Paint the Walls When I Move?

There are certain things your landlord can and cannot do. For example, they can enforce the terms of the lease. So, if your lease says you have to repaint the apartment before you move, you better do it. Otherwise, your landlord could deduct painting fees from your damage deposit.However, you don’t have to paint your apartment when you move if your lease doesn’t mention it. In that case, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to pay for renovations. Plus, some lease agreements might stipulate a time limit. And that means you have to repaint the walls if you live in the same unit for several years.

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Tiffany Nichols
Tiffany Nichols

Tiffany Nichols specializes in aesthetics, design, marketing, and manufacturing. She's a copywriter and editor for several home renovation companies in the U.S. and works alongside some of the biggest names in the industry. Her hobbies include architecture, art, mental health, and fashion.

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