Renting a Property? Here’s How to Make it Feel Like Home
We asked four interiors bloggers to share their tried and tested tips for decorating a rented home
Here, four interiors bloggers reveal their tips and experiences of decorating a rented property to help you give your home the attention it deserves.
Real-life tips and tricks from: David White of Forward Features; Hayley Stuart of I Am Hayley Stuart; Victoria Jackson of Apartment Number 4; Alice Dunbar of A Spoonful of Alice
An instant way to perk up your rented home is to add paintings, photos and prints to the walls. “Art will completely transform a space,” David White says. “It will add colour and perspective, and it could help to zone a room. It shows personality, and is generally the simplest way to create a more lively space and perk up blank white walls.”
The bloggers recommend using removable adhesive hanging strips. Hayley Stuart says, “If you’re not allowed to insert nails and hooks into the walls, then I strongly recommend hanging strips to allow you to put up artworks with minimal damage to the wall when you remove them.”
If you can’t paint the walls, think about ways you can update removable items instead. Alice Dunbar says, “While it’s not worth investing time, money or effort on changing permanent fixtures in your rented home, you can still build up a collection of furniture and decorations you can take with you when you move.”
David adds, “Enjoy your rented home for what it is and amend things that are yours. Don’t throw out ugly-looking furniture or cheap buys; instead, grab some paint and upcycle. You could change the knobs, too, and completely give a piece a new lease of life.”
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A great way to make a property feel warm and welcoming is to add fabric, textiles, plants and natural surfaces. “For a cosy look, it’s about bringing in texture,” David says. “Do that through layering rugs, introducing plenty of cushions and throws, and also scattering around plants. These are really simple and cost-effective additions that will take your pad from being a beige rented box to a cosy home.”
Victoria Jackson adds, “Bold cushions can update a sofa – especially in a furnished space where you have little control over your furniture – while rugs, pretty bed linen and throws can brighten up any room and add interest.”
The key to loving your rented property is to think about what you can change, not what you can’t. “I have certain corners in my house I love, and at the moment my master bedroom is probably my favourite space to spend time in,” Victoria says. The room isn’t decorated in a way she would have chosen, but she hasn’t let that deter her.
“I’m unable to paint the walls anything other than magnolia, so I had to work out a colour scheme that complemented this instead of fighting against it,” she says. “Blush pink and gold seem to work really well together, and by investing in premium bedding and adding a reading nook and a dressing area, I’ve been able to create different zones for different purposes that still all work as one.”
“Try to think outside the box and look for décor updates that are reversible,” Hayley says. “Tile stickers are great for freshening up a kitchen or bathroom, and they’re 100% removable when you decide to leave.”
Victoria agrees. “Consider removable wallpaper, which sticks on and peels off easily,” she says. “It’s the perfect way to create a feature wall in the bedroom or living room and can act as a focal point in any room.”
You might not be able to change your kitchen units or bathroom sanitaryware, but there are other ways to revamp a room.
“I think having a bathroom you wouldn’t necessarily choose yourself can be challenging,” Victoria says. “However, I’ve found giving the room a lick of fresh paint, redoing the grouting, changing the toilet seat and adding plants, new towels, under-sink storage and accessories with a more luxe finish has helped to create a space that feels more like mine.”
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“Make sure you do actually decorate,” Alice says. “So many people complain that living in a rented property means bare walls, beige everything and a space that doesn’t feel like ‘home’. Whether it’s rented or not, it’s your home, so fill it with personality and you’ll soon forget it isn’t technically yours.”
Hayley adds, “It’s always worth contacting your landlord to ask personally if you can update the walls – even if that’s just painting them white to freshen them up – as it will make such a difference and create a blank canvas for you to put your stamp on.
“For example, I’ve hand-stencilled my downstairs toilet floor. It was disgusting vinyl, so I painted over it with chalk paint, stencilled on a design that resembles tiles and then sealed it. It looks incredible!”
Alice recommends you don’t scrimp on lighting. “This is key,” she says. “Rental lighting is often dark, stark or virtually non-existent, so add in lamps at different levels. Bring in floor lights and table lamps, along with candles and fairy lights, to add depth and ramp up the cosiness.”
How have you decorated your rented home? Share your ideas and photos in the Comments section.