Decorating tips for renters
How to decorate a rented flat or house without risking the deposit
When you rent a property it can be difficult to put your stamp on it decoratively without risking your deposit. However, there are a raft of ways to bring character and style to a rental that are easy to undo when you leave.
Ask your landlord what you can and cannot do
All too often, we assume we won’t be allowed to paint, change curtains or put nails in walls - you should speak to the landlord first; ‘check the terms of your lease first and don’t just assume that you can’t push things a bit. If you think you’ll be there for a while and want to change something, put it to your landlord and make your case as to why something should change. It can add value to their property after all. They probably won’t be willing to change the flooring or anything major like that, but if it is particularly bad, you can always offer to cover a third or half of the cost with them.’
When you rent a property, things like windows are often ignored as you decorate and they often come with rather lacklustre blinds and curtains. Check if you can take them down, if you need to store them or can just get rid of them and then look at really simple options. You want curtains to be quite simple if you’re on a budget, it doesn’t make sense to spend lots on this aspect in a rental scenario. Keep it really simple with lovely linens and cottons that hang beautifully.
Just like windows, lighting is something we often assume we have no control over but light is often harsh and unsightly in a rental, especially if every room has a single pendant. Swapping out cumbersome shades for pretty rattan ones you can find on Ebay is one way you can improve the situation, an option is low level lighting instead of the single central bulb. It’s really important to add lamps and create a bit of a mood, uplighters to create washes of lights - they are an inexpensive way of lighting a feature, perhaps an artwork. You could be wanting to light where your plants are or increase the lighting in the room and make it more cosy and a nicer environment. There are ways to improve on lighting so do improve on it. In fact, lighting is the most important thing and always the best place to start.
A simple way to inject personality into a rental without risking your deposit is through colour. If you can’t paint the walls, renters could paint or wallpaper big boards or canvases in colours you love and leave them propped up - like leaning art that can become a feature. It’s a good solution for people who are really into colour or pattern and don’t want a magnolia box. A popular renter on Instagram who keeps her followers updated on her decorating process has a different solution: ´As we can't paint the walls [in our flat] we've brought colour and pattern into the space with the furniture and decorative accessories. Cushions, throws and rugs are a great way to inject some colour if you're not sure where to start. Bolder items like a pink sofa can bring so much fun and character to a room.’ In her rented flat (pictured ), a framed lovely paper from Antoinette Poisson as a lovely way to bring pattern in affordably. Removeable wallpaper will change your life, and your bland walls. It can be a little expensive but it is well worth the investment. You don’t have to worry about lasting damage that may prevent you from getting your deposit back, as its very easy to remove. Search shops like Etsy for some modern designs.
For lovers of fabric, a rented property can seem to offer little chance for displaying swathes of your beloved prints and patterns, especially if it comes furnished. However, there are many ways around this. A brilliant suggestion is investing in a room divider or screen; Screens can be really useful as you can have lots of fun with them and cover them in your own fabrics - a trifold is particularly good as you can use three different ones or wallpapers. Introducing lots of textured materials helps to make a space feel homely and loved and suggests upholstering a favourite chair in a fabric you love, as you’ll have that forever. Renters can also cover canvases in favourite fabrics and hang these, if your landlord allows nails in the wall. Wall hangings are a great way to add character - buy a metre of fabric and hang it! The simplest way however, is to invest in nice bedding, or a fabric-covered headboard. Don't forget about all your soft furnishings like cushions, rugs, and curtains. Even if your rental is fully finished, you can switch these homeware items up so that your home reflects your style.
Everyone agrees that plants are pretty much the brilliant number one way to add personality to a rental in an easy, affordable and approachable way. Never underestimate the power of a good houseplant. A bit of something green, be it a large ficus or potted fresh herbs in the kitchen in old flower pots. It’s a sentiment echoed by many people, who use them to great effect in flats or houses. If you don't have a garden of your own, hang plants from the curtain pole to bring the outdoors in. Hanging them from the picture rail too is another great easy to remove option for a renter.
For anyone with a landlord who will not accept nails in the walls, there are things you can do to be creative with displaying art. Propping pictures up rather than hanging them and displaying smaller frames or canvases on shelves and leaning bigger ones against walls. Easels can be a brilliant way to get around the issue, a nifty trick for creating a gallery wall without nails. Living in a rented home doesn't mean it has to be boring, We aren't able to drill into the walls so it's the perfect solution as they're completely removable. Again, do check with your landlord first as some may be happy to let you put nails in the walls, so long as you remove them, polyfilla the hole and paint it when you leave. Once you have your answer, set about getting your art up as,'gallery walls are a great way to inject colour to your walls and display items that you love.
To cover up an unsightly floor, layer rugs – maybe a more neutral natural fibre rug like a sisal is perfect underneath, layered with a smaller softer rug like a lovely vintage Berber on top. To achieve this look, you can use the Lohals rug from IKEA a lot, or visit more local to the area at Branded on Camposol. Another favourite is rush woven matting squares. For a long hall or entrance space, look towards vintage kilim runners, which can be found in many hardware stores local. Finally, pretty cotton rag rugs are a lovely way to add colour and texture to a more neutral bathroom.