This Renter Got Her Security Deposit Back After Painting, Wallpapering Her Entire Apartment — See How She Did It

published Oct 12, 2022
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Mature Adult Female Painting Ceiling White With Paint Roller
Credit: Getty Images/eyecrave

Painting or hanging wallpaper in a rental is like triple-dog daring your landlord not to give you back your security deposit. That’s why major kudos is due to Maitri, aka @honeyidressedthepug, whose burning desire to transform the bare look of her New York City apartment resulted in a bold design for her walls, doors, kitchen appliances, and even her radiators.

In a time-lapse Instagram video that went viral, Maitri shows how she painted over a purple-and-white checked wall, a peach wall, and bright green door, restoring them all to their basic state she found them in on move-in day. She also removed wallpaper that covered a wall and wrapped her refrigerator, and brought a bright pink iron radiator back to its standard white with spray paint. 

The transformation was mesmerizing to watch, but it came with the added suspense that only a DIY project can bring… did she get back her security deposit from the landlord?

“Yes, I received my full security [deposit] back with zero deductions,” Maitri tells Apartment Therapy. “I was pleasantly surprised since there are always some minor deductions when getting security back, at least in my experience.” 

In her original post, Maitri wrote that it took her two days — along with a coat of primer and a coat of white paint — to ready the apartment for the next tenant. If that sounds like a bit of work, it was. Thankfully, to Maitri, it was “100 percent” worth it. 

But would she do it again in her next rental?

“Yes, I have already added color and wallpaper to my new apartment,” Maitri says, noting that she had “some fun projects lined up” as well. (We hope she posts videos again!)

“For me, it is very important to feel happy and inspired in my space,” Maitri says, noting that her style is “very colorful and leaning towards maximalism.”

If you’re thinking of branching out beyond your own beige walls, Maitri has some tips:

Do your research before doing anything.

“Try a little patch of wallpaper [or a paint sample] and leave it on for a week or two,” Maitri says. “Take it off so you can ensure that there is no damage while removing it.” 

Don’t be afraid of paint.

“Painting is fun and the easiest way to change the look of a rental,” said Maitri. “ With a coat of primer underneath, any color can be covered over and changed back to white.” Her best tip? “I always get the name of the original wall color from the leasing company or landlord to match it back to that color when I leave,” she says.

Consult your lease agreement.

It is your landlord’s home and their rules, after all. Even if you’re willing to do the work to transform it all back, it’s important to refer to the lease for any rules or restrictions that could put your security deposit in jeopardy. Painting is something Maitri always checks for before signing the lease.

If you’ve got bold design ideas and the energy and time — or budget for a painter — to erase them before you move out and move on, go for it.

“It’s always great to find renter-friendly ways to make your home feel like yours and not a white box,” Maitri says.