Painting walls in a rented property: is it allowed?

White walls? Boring! Every home magazine claims that any self-respecting person should bring a bit of colour into their home. But before you pick up the paint brush, it’s worth clarifying a few things.

Whether you are hiring a painter or doing it yourself, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. Firstly, not all paint is made equal, and secondly, your landlord also has a say.

These days, almost every rented property is painted white – and not without reason. A property with white walls seems brighter, friendlier and larger compared to other colours. But white isn’t the most original choice.

Yearning for a specific wall colour?

It’s understandable that people want to paint their walls different colours. Little Luna dreams of a pink room, Melanie believes in the uplifting impact of yellow, and Daniel wants to give his apartment a natural touch with some ochre.

Studying the effects of colours is a science in itself. It’s also an imprecise science, as colours affect people differently. However, the main takeaway is that colours change how a room is perceived.

Which wall colour has which effect?

While painting your walls solid black or solid red isn’t recommended, any other colour can be used for a certain effect. Pink is calming and is recommended for bedroom walls. Orange makes big rooms seem smaller and cosier, while yellow makes small rooms appear bigger and imbues a sense of wellbeing. Both can be useful in the living room or study. Brown – depending on the shade – can be everything from calming to robust.

Blue radiates a cool atmosphere. If you are prone to getting cold, steer clear of this colour. But it can be great for those who tend to burn up. Blue can make rooms seem more spacious. Green and turquoise are the super all-rounders; they are neither warm nor cold, and they can do it all – from invigorating to relaxing.

Opinions differ on violet. While some claim that it can emphasise the noble character of a prestigious room, others despise the colour, finding it too oppressive.

Painting walls – does the landlord have to know?

Maybe you’ve found the perfect colour for a room. But wait: before you pick up the paintbrush, it’s worth considering the following: painting the walls in any other colour but white, from a legal point of view, is considered excess wear and tear. That’s why the landlord may ask a tenant who is moving out to paint the apartment white again or pay for part of the cost having a painter repaint the walls. Liability insurance would not cover the costs in this case.

How much the tenant has to pay for the walls being repainted is calculated based on the ‘service life table’ published by various associations. This table provides information on normal use within a specified rental period. A tenant only has to pay for additional damage – in this case, for the costly repainting of an unusually coloured wall.

Painting a wall by yourself without consulting the landlord is sure to cause problems. That’s why it’s worth getting a written approval before starting. The property owner may reject the request without good reason or set certain conditions, but they can’t revoke their consent once provided.

If the landlord agrees to a new coat of paint, they have to compensate the renting party for any resulting added value. As a tenant, it’s a good idea to keep hold of all receipts for your work, so you’ve got something to show if there are any disputes.

Who knows, perhaps it’s better to keep the walls white after all. Alongside being bright and friendly, they might just keep the peace.