With rising house prices and cities the most alluring places to work and live for many, renting is quickly becoming one of the most popular housing options. Whilst renting comes with a host of benefits, one big drawback is most landlords put tight restrictions on decorating. So what do you do if you’re renting but you love interiors as much as we do? We talked to Victoria Jackson of Apartment Number 4 who through her own living experiences has become an expert in decorating rental property. Here are her top tips to put your own stamp on your rental without upsetting the landlord…
With house prices feeling more out of reach than ever for many, renting has become a sensible and viable long-term living option. But with decorating plans restricted by landlords’ wishes, it can be hard to put your stamp on your home-for-now.
As a serial renter, over the years I’ve discovered various tricks to creating a stylish home without breaking my contract or failing to get my deposit back. Here are ten of the most effective temporary solutions for adding personality to your home.
1. Removable Wallpaper
Acting as a temporary adhesive, removable wallpaper is a great way to add colour and print to a room without worrying about the need to strip it once your tenancy agreement is up. Easier to hang than regular wallpaper, you simply measure your wall(s) and the strips normally come pre-cut to size. You then peel off the backing and hang, with help from someone else. As you can see from my recent home office makeover above, it creates a stylish impact and gives the room a much-needed burst of colour.
2. Displaying Art in Different Ways
Although you can certainly use things like Command Strips to hang pictures up (I use these throughout my home and they work perfectly), you could look at other ways to display art, such as on a sideboard, or even leaning larger pieces curated together on the floor against the wall. Other ideas include using a wire notice board to display prints, or utilising shelving you might have currently.
3. Styling a Multi-Functional Space with Rugs
Rugs are the simplest way of creating designated zones within an open plan rental. Regardless of whether you have carpets or wooden floors, layered rugs create a visual definition on the space, as well as being a temporary way to add colour – or hide ugly rental flooring, which is probably the most likely task. Just try not to clutter the floor space with too many rugs – two is enough to look stylishly cohesive.
4. Using Shelving to Create a Feature Wall
Adding a modular shelving system enables you to inject colour and interest without getting the paint brush out. Style your shelves with unique decor, and complementing colours to the existing scheme. You could add a mixture of books, candles, flowers, trinkets you’ve picked up on your travels, baskets, vases, bowls, plants, glasses, photo frames – basically anything that provokes a happy memory or emotion. Just remember the rule of styling in threes and fives to enable the eye to scan properly.
5. Change Fixtures and Fittings
One change you can make in a rental that makes a real difference is changing fixtures and fittings. New door handles, kitchen cupboard handles, curtains – including the shower curtain, light fittings – all interchangeable and easy to put back to normal once your tenancy agreement comes to an end. You’d be surprised at how switching kitchen cabinet handles can update up a worn, tired space, but just remember to keep everything, include screws and nails, in a safe place to replace.
6. Apply Window Film
If your view out of the window is less than attractive, a clever solution is applying window film. Relatively inexpensive, it’s simply a case of reading the instructions to transfer the film and then peeling it off when you move out. With so many variations of prints and laser cut-out designs available, you’ll be able to create a prettier view (and stop your neighbours looking straight into your house) in no time.
7. Consider Adhesive Tiles
Rental kitchens aren’t known for being the most stylish, but there are ways to uplevel it for the short term. Adhesive splash back tiles come in a vast array of prints and colours and are a great way of updating your tired cooking space. It’s as simple and peeling back the film, lining each tile up and sticking down, and the effects are Instagram-worthy in a matter of hours.
8. Add Colour with Plant Life
Indoor plants have a plethora of benefits, including cleaning the air, reducing stress and helping with anxiety. They also have decorative benefits too, adding a pop of colour to an otherwise blank room. When you’re dealing with magnolia or white walls, having greenery around the home can make it feel welcoming. Some of the best plants for thriving in indoor conditions include succulents, orchids, fiddle leaf fig, hedera ivy and ponytail palm.
9. Invest in Furniture With Dual Uses
When space is limited, having furniture that has dual use and storage space is a must. For example, use wooden stools as bedside tables or side tables, so they can easily be added to the living room when guest come or around the dining table for more people to eat. Invest in a bed with storage underneath, and pieces like coffee tables and TV units should always have either shelving or drawer space to add further storage. And if you only have one bedroom, perhaps a sofa bed for your living room would enable you to still have guests over to stay.
10. Embrace the Sofa you Have
And speaking of sofa’s, if you live in a furnished rental the chances are, you’re probably not being met with a stunning green velvet couch to perch on. Brown leather is usually the way when it comes to my rental experience, but instead of hiding it with throws and cushions (although this is a great idea if it really is an eyesore), I would consider embracing it and working your decor around the biggest piece of furniture in the room. For example, with a brown leather sofa, you could create a bohemian inspired decor with a Berber rug, neutral cushions, plants, macramé wall hangings, soft lighting and lots of wood and natural textures.
11. The Finishing Touches
Finally, adding finishing touches can really make a rental feel like home. Adding a door mat to welcome you home, burning your favourite candle or adding a room spray in your favourite scent, buying stylish storage for the kitchen like glass jars to decant ingredients into, adding fresh or faux flowers around the house and creating pretty vignettes on your coffee table, bedside table and sideboard, are all ways of adding a personal touch. As cliché as it sounds, it’s little accents of personality that make a house feel more like a home.