Painting Your Rented Home

Adding wall color can be a great way to make a rented home, apartment or dormitory room feel like your very own. If your landlord allows it, why not create an environment that has "you" written all over it?
Review your Lease. Ask your Landlord.
Before you paint, make sure you get the proper permission. You need to be aware of what is and isn't allowed in the lease. For example, perhaps the exterior is off limits but the interior is okay to paint —with stipulations. Generally speaking, painting allowances often require that you return your rented space to its original color when you leave. It could cost you your security deposit if you don't.
Get it in writing.
Whatever you and your landlord agree upon, if possible, get it in writing. Nothing formal, just a quick letter of agreement that includes a sample (or samples) of the desired color changes you wish to make. Make sure you keep a copy in your files; down the road, you may need to refer to it when you move out.
If neutral is the rule.

You may discover that your paint choices are limited to neutral tones. It is best to ask what is meant by neutral. Neutral white? Off white? Taupe? Also, is there a specific paint color to which you must return the walls? If so, matching that color is best done before you repaint the room. Check to see if there is leftover paint available in the home, or ask for a sample or more specific information from your landlord.

Take the sample or paint color information to the nearest home improvement center's such as Lowe's or your neighborhood paint store, pick up a paint swatch or purchase a small amount of the exact or near match color. When it's time to repaint, you can refer to this sample to match color for your larger volume needs.

Store any paint where temperatures are moderate. Temperature extremes can negatively affect paint. Never allow paint to freeze.

Always remember to keep paint in a safe location, away from children and pets.
Color —The Spice of Life!

Whether or not you choose —or are able to add color to your walls, you may still want to bring color into your surroundings. How? Introduce colorful accessories.

Add a splash of color to your existing furniture or spruce up a unique garage sale find. Spray paint can make something old or common —like chairs, bookshelves and vases look unique or brand new. Valspar offers a wide array of spray paint colors to satisfy even the most daring of imaginations.

Painting Day
Ready to begin your project? First, notify the landlord of your paint day so that he/she is aware that work is being done on the premises. Wear clothes that you won't mind getting paint on —like a pair of jeans and a t-shirt.

Protect the flooring and any furniture with drop cloths and tape. We recommend you use a cloth drop cloth versus a plastic one —which does not absorb paint and therefore can cause a mess if there is a spill. Keep a damp paper towel close by to quickly pick up any drips or spatters. Also, be aware of the location of the paint can and roller tray as you paint; you'll want to avoid a collision and an unwanted mess.

Get more detailed help on how to paint a bedroom, kitchen dining room or bathroom.

What type of paint should I choose?
  • Flat, matte finishes are perfect for elegant rooms like a master or guest bedroom. These gentle, soothing finishes conceal flaws and thus are an excellent choice for older walls. You may also want a matte finish if your room is awash in sunlight, to avoid reflection and shine.
  • Satin and eggshell finishes are best in high-traffic areas, like a child's room. Clean up is easy, typically requiring only a damp cloth. For the ultimate in scrubbability, we recommend Valspar® Signature Colors — our very best interior paint.
  • Semi-gloss finish is ideal for detailed woodwork and wainscoting. The gleam it produces creates a pleasing contrast against your matte or satin finish walls.
  • Click here for more information on Valspar interior paint products.
When the project is completed and you're ready to clean up, remember to be extra sensitive to the environment. Do not dump paint in the sink, toilet or yard and don't throw out any can with liquid paint in it. Review our tips on proper disposal of paint and paint cans.
Paint Disposal:

Proper paint disposal contributes to a more efficient use of our landfills and, ultimately, safer groundwater and soil. We recommend the following tips:

  • Check local ordinances and waste hauler regulations.
  • Read paint can instructions for proper disposal.
  • Generally speaking, you can get rid of properly dried latex in your regular household trash; however,
    • Cans with leftover paint should be left open first so the paint dries before disposing; make sure you place the drying cans in a well ventilated area. Cans with less than a quarter of the paint remaining will require a few days of drying time; cans with larger amounts will take longer, about a week. You can also add shredded newspaper, sand, sawdust, cat litter or paint solidifier.
    • Another solution for drying out latex paint is to punch holes in the top of the can and then place it in a dry area for a couple of weeks.
    • When the cans are ready to be thrown out make sure the lids have been removed, to let waste haulers know the paint is dry.

    NOTE: Oil-based paints, varnish or paint thinners are generally considered hazardous waste. Check with local ordinances and read label instructions before disposal. Only dispose through your locally designated household hazardous waste program.

    The Valspar Corporation takes environmental sustainability and responsibility seriously. Visit our information-based Web site, Earth Sense by Valspar, for earth-friendly ideas on how, together, we can help make the planet a better place.

Moving Out

If your lease requires that you return the paint color to its original state, you'll want to set aside plenty of time prior to moving day to complete the task. The goal is to satisfy the landlord and any lease agreement so that you avoid potential legal problems and/or a loss of your security deposit.

Follow the steps outlined above under "Painting Day." Protect the flooring and move or cover the furniture. If you're returning a bold wall color to a neutral or light colored wall, you'll need to apply a high hiding primer before you apply the top coat. If you don't, the darker color will show through and may alter the color of the top coat.

Check out our resources on enamel undercoat and multi-purpose primers.

Tip: If you are repainting walls or woodwork that are in excellent condition and/or you are not making dramatic color changes, priming is usually not needed.

Need to prime? Not sure which type to use? Our Valspar Technical Support team can help you determine whether or not you need a primer or what type of primer you should choose. Representatives are available 7am - 7pm (Central Time), 7 days a week.

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