How to make a rented property feel like home

Cassie Pryce

Here are our top tips on how to add character and personality to a blank canvas rented home, whilst also keeping your landlord happy.

With the constraints of living in rented accommodation, making the space feel like your own can be a challenge.

Most contracts won’t allow walls to be painted, artwork to be hung, or light fittings to be changed, meaning as a tenant you are somewhat limited in your decoration choices.

Don’t be disheartened—injecting your style doesn’t have to involve retiling the bathroom or fitting new kitchen cabinets; a little creativity and some simple updates will help make your rented space feel like home in no time.

 

Off the wall

wall stickers
Pom Le Bonhomme pineapple wall stickers in gold and mint, £18 for 48 stickers, The Modern Nursery

When it comes to decorating the walls of your interior, paint or wallpaper are usually the obvious choices: but living in a rented home means you need to think outside the box.

Wall stickers are becoming an increasingly popular way to add a playful touch to your space without damaging the paintwork beneath. Check any packaging to make sure the stickers are fully removable and test it out in an inconspicuous area before applying to the whole wall.

They come in a wide range of designs nowadays—from decorative woodland scenes for kids’ bedrooms, Banksy-inspired pieces and modern geometric designs—so there is something to suit every look and budget.

Try IKEA or Not on the High Street for a great selection of patterns and colours. You could also consider using removable wallpaper; whilst this is a little more costly, it makes a striking impact and can be peeled off easily without any mess or fuss.

 

Picture perfect

picture perfect
Command picture hanging strips, from £3.99 for a pack of four, WH Smith

Hanging prints and artwork is a simple way to personalise any space, but most tenancy contracts stipulate that walls should not be damaged by nails or screws. As an alternative, 3M Command has designed smart picture-hanging strips that won’t damage the walls when removed.

They come in a variety of sizes to hang items of different weights, including photo frames, canvases, mirrors and clocks. Why not create a gallery wall using a series of small frames to showcase prints and postcards?

As well as using strips to hang pictures on the walls, make the most of furniture and architectural details around the house to display artwork too. Lean frames on mantelpieces, windowsills and even on top of furniture for a quick way to make your space feel homely.

Removable wall hooks are also available through 3M Command and are great for hanging kitchen utensils along a wall or splashback, or used as towel hooks in a bathroom.

 

Refresh and revamp

refresh and revamp
Geo rug, from £39; Elements city framed print, £30; patchwork felt cushion, £16, all Dunelm

A lot of rental properties come furnished which, whilst having the advantage of saving the cost of buying your own furniture, means you as a tenant are stuck with existing pieces that may not suit your tastes.

For a simple update in the living room, use throws to create a cover for drab sofas or armchairs, or simply use them to accessorise and add colour or pattern, along with a collection of coordinating cushions.

Speak to your landlord about upcycling furniture in the house, too; for example, they may be happy for you to paint a chest of drawers in the bedroom or change the legs on the coffee table to better suit your style.

Alternatively, head to your local charity shop or car boot sale and see if you can pick up a bargain piece of furniture to make your own. The British Heart Foundation has a chain of second-hand furniture shops that are a treasure trove for finding preloved pieces, ripe and ready for upcycling!

 

Finishing touches


Hemnes coffee table, £95, IKEA

Using accessories in a rented home is a simple and budget-friendly way to make it feel homely and lived in. Houseplants are great for instantly refreshing your décor and they can be placed in any room to give it a lift.

If, like most rented properties, your space lacks colour, then introduce splashes of your favourite shades through accessories including throws, cushions, towels and bedding. Rugs are a wonderful way to transform the look of any room, particularly if you’re looking to add a statement pattern or design feature.

Bringing texture into your space with a faux fur rug or rustic jute runner will give the room more depth, whilst helping to hide cheap-looking laminate flooring. Collect vases and ornaments that will stand out against bland furniture and can be kept on display to add personality.

In rooms like kitchens and bathrooms, where it can be tricky to change the overall look, be smart about adding accessories to complement the existing scheme, rather than going against it.

 

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