With property prices sky-rocketing in recent years, owning a home seems an impossible feat to many of us — a feeling particularly common amongst city-dwellers and the younger generations. In fact, whether it’s privately (17%) or socially (18%), more than a third of people in the UK now live in a rented home1.
It’s not all doom and gloom though — renting certainly has its perks. Two of the main advantages that spring to mind are the freedom to move with little hassle and the fact that landlords usually foot the bill for most repairs.
Renting does, of course, also have its drawbacks. One of the most frustrating parts is that you can’t freely decorate and renovate — especially if you want your full deposit returned at the end of the tenancy. But that’s not to say there aren’t ways for you to personalise your rented home and create a space that reflects your individuality.
So, in the spirit of home transformation, we’ve put together some decorating hacks to help you convert your rental into a space that’s full of character and truly your own.
1. Paint it… whatever colour you like
Understandably, most rentals are painted using neutral colours — such as magnolia and beige. But let’s face it, in terms of decorating, is there anything duller than an entire home of magnolia?
Most people automatically assume they can’t paint their walls if they live in a rented property, but as the saying goes, ‘If you don’t ask, you don’t get.’ So why not run the idea past your landlord and find out what their thoughts are? While some may refuse, especially if you propose painting their entire property purple, the majority will say yes — some may even feel like you’re doing them a favour.
Even if you’re only renting for a year or two, a lick of paint can make the world of difference, and can completely transform the look and feel of a home. If you don’t want to go all out, then a simple accent wall can make a massive statement.
2. Liven up the walls with removable wallpaper
If painting seems daunting, or isn’t an option, removable wallpaper is a simple, affordable alternative and a great way to liven up your walls.
Like standard wallpaper, it comes in a variety of designs and styles. The only difference is that it leaves no mess and can be re-used, so you could even take it with you when you move.
3. Harness the power of reflection
Mirrors can work miracles if strategically placed, especially in smaller and darker spaces.
Not only do they function as a decorative element, but they can also trick our eyes into thinking rooms are larger than they are, creating the illusion of more space. On top of this, they reflect light, instantly brightening things up.
4. New curtains, new room
Curtains can make a huge aesthetic difference, both to the inside and outside of your home.
Choosing the right curtains for each room can be tricky, as you need to take a variety of factors into account — such as length, transparency, colour, and style.
In your bedroom, for example, you may want heavier blackout curtains for added privacy and to help you sleep better, while lighter coloured fabric may be better-suited to the living room, where you might want more light filtering through.
Curtains really can ‘make’ a room, plus they’re easy to take with you when you move out — an all-round, easy win!
5. It’s all about lighting
Ask any photographer or actor about lighting and they’ll tell you that in their industry, it makes all the difference — and its role in interior design is no different!
While you might not be able to change fixtures and fittings or the position of your ceiling lights, you can certainly use lighting to your advantage in other ways. Whether it’s with lamps, statement lampshades, or even something as simple as an odd, eccentric lightbulb, you can drastically change the mood and atmosphere of a room just by using the right lighting in the right place.
6. Invest in rugs
After years of wear and tear, flooring in rentals isn’t always in the most eye-catching of conditions. Or, if it is, it can be for the wrong reasons!
But fear not, worn flooring is nothing a beautiful rug can’t fix. Inexpensive and versatile, rugs are a great way to both conceal imperfect floors and protect them to ensure you get your full deposit back. Plus, you can take them with you to your next abode.
From tartan to textured, small to extra-large, you’ll be sure to find the perfect style and size in our extensive selection of rugs.
7. Unique and DIY furniture
Not all rentals come furnished, and buying new furniture can be an expensive business.
Charity shops, car boots, and antique markets are great places to look for unique and affordable alternatives. You never know what hidden treasure you’ll find. Shopping in these kinds of places will also help you achieve the much sought-after vintage look, if that’s the style you’re going for.
If you’re the crafty type, on the other hand, fashioning and customising furniture to suit your taste is another relatively cheap option. From how to remodel your bed to fit even the smallest of spaces to painting that tired armchair your parents gave you when you first moved out, we live in an age when you can easily find a hack for almost any DIY job you have in mind.
Explore what the wonderful world of Pinterest and Instagram have to offer in terms of inspiration, and let your creativity run wild!
8. Photos and images
Displaying art and family photos isn’t the newest of ideas. However, it’s certainly one that can make your rental more personal and really give it that homely, cosy feel.
If you’re not allowed to hang anything on the walls with nails, don’t worry. There are plenty of other ways you can display your images proudly. Why not lean the frames up against walls, use string to hang them up, or simply stand them on a bookshelf?
9. Rearrange your furniture
Although rearranging your furniture isn’t exactly the first thing you think of in terms of decorating, Feng shui — or the art of arranging rooms to create harmony – really can change the atmosphere of a room.
If you want some top tips on how to position your furniture to achieve your desired mood in each room, check out our Feng Shui Tips for Creating a Calm Space.
10. Add some greenery
No home is complete without a little greenery. Plants and flowers are sure to boost your mood and create a more natural and welcoming environment.
If you’re not much of a green finger, there are a variety of plants that require very little looking after, such as cacti and succulents.
Some strategically placed plants can immediately bring life and energy to even the gloomiest of spaces.
There you have it! Our top 10 decorating hacks for renters.
Hopefully, we’ve inspired to the point that you’ve already got a paintbrush in your hand, but if you’re eager for some more hacks and advice, head over to our home transformation hub where you’ll find an array of helpful and interesting articles.
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