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We have it easy, we rent from my sister & her husband and they don't care what we do to the house We could paint every room neon orange if we wished and they wouldn't care! LOL (However, I would NEVER do that!).
A lot of places have different rules, here are some rules that I know of (from friends telling me about where they live)
They can paint, but have to return walls to the original color when they are moving out.
They can use nails, but have to patch all holes when moving out.
They can put up wall border, but has to be removable and removed when moving out.
At our last apartment, we got permission to paint any of the walls and/or put up borders, as long as we paint over it before we leave in order to get our deposit back. It really depends on your landlords. Sometimes if you really want to, you can tell them you will give up part of your deposit if they let you paint the walls. But I would think if you said you would return the walls to the original color when you move out, it should be ok.
At the apartment I rented we could put up pics with nails, but we had to patch the holes up when we left. I would agree to check out the 3m hooks that use tape. They make some pretty heavy duty ones, down to lightweight ones. You could dress up the walls with fabric if you chose a very light weight one.
I was also going to make the suggestion of fabric on the wall instead of painting. You could get enough fabric to cover one accent wall, top to bottom, and you could find the right type of double sided tape to hold it up. It would definitely give you some color to a room! Another idea I've seen is people putting up curtains all along one wall, or putting up curtains wider than the window actually is to make the window look bigger.... this is especially nice if the window in a room is not centered completely