Found a rental property that isn’t your style? Don’t panic. Over 30% of Brits rent rather than own property with numbers increasing due to the current economic climate. But renting doesn’t mean you must surrender your personal style. There are plenty of ways to decorate your temporary home without breaking the bank or upsetting your landlord.
1. If you don’t ask, you don’t get
Don’t rule out a complete revamp of your rental property. Many landlords would be delighted if you volunteer to redecorate yourself, so long as the job is done well and is likely to suit future tenants’ tastes. Negotiate with your landlord – offer to bring in professional decorators in exchange for a reduction in your rent. It will save your landlord the time and hassle of overseeing work, increase the property value and you get style you like!
2. Landlord do’s and don’ts
Avoid common landlord pet hates. Selotape damages paintwork when it’s removed and even masking tape will also pull off paint after a long period. Blu–Tack leaves behind grease marks; instead try White Tack which is less likely to stain. Most landlords would rather you hang pictures or a pinboard, rather than risk causing damage to paintwork. This Union Jack pinboard from Aspen and Brown would jazz up a dreary room.
3. Create an artist’s canvas
If your rental contract says you can’t paint the walls, don’t despair. Have a cup of tea and get creative! Make a feature of a single wall by nailing up a large wall hanging; if careful, you won’t damage paintwork. Or, play safe and make a collage of photo frames, mirrors and framed cuttings of wallpaper or fabric on a mantlepiece or window sill. The mydeco team love this Fine bone photo frame from Graham and Green.
4. Make your own stair runner
Does your block of flats have a dingy hall or stair case? Arm yourself with a staple gun and a rug. Measure the stair width; cut the rug to 75% of the width. Start at the top and staple at 50mm intervals, 100mm onto the landing, and at 100mm intervals down the stairs, to both the tread and riser. Alternatively, this Moroccan carpet runner from Urbaneliving has an easy–stick backing, making installation a doddle. Ask your neighbours to contribute as first impressions count!
5. The tenant’s solution to wallpaper
Desperate to wallpaper but not allowed? Using a corn starch and water mixture, paste lightweight fabric to your walls, just like you would wallpaper. To remove, spray with water and gently peel off, then wash starch off with a sponge. Magic! Or give your walls, doors or ceilings an instant style update with a wall sticker like this Lovebirds Wall Sticker (£40) from Abode Living. Simply peel off when you move!
6. Cheeky shortcut to revamp your bathroom
Bathrooms in rental properties are often neglected and there’s little chance you will want to invest in this room yourself given the high costs of bathroom fittings and plumbing. But before calling to complain, try tile stickers. Easy to apply, easy to clean and easy to remove, they’ll transform your bathroom in five minutes. These Concentric Circle vinyl tile stickers from Graphic Wall are guaranteed to improve your bathroom’s style kudos.
7. How to avoid the student digs look
Throws and cushions can transform dingy old sofas into beautiful modern furnishings. Word of warning: to avoid your living room looking like a student flat, make neat finishes with your coverings. Tuck in an extra large throw, sheet or quilt into the cushions and fasten at the arms and corners with decorative pins. Revamp a worn out armchair with this vibrant reversible throw from OKA.
8. Invest in rugs
Your landlord probably hasn’t replaced the carpet for 20 years, but you don’t need to live with his dirty, dingy flooring. It’s worth investing in rugs; they are a saving grace for hiding worn and stained patches of carpet – and you can take them when you move on. This Glory Shaggy Black Rug from Heal’s is heavyweight and its monochrome tone will work with lots of colour schemes.
9. Hang new curtains
Don’t feel intimidated at the prospect of changing the curtains. If the existing curtains are attached by hooks to a track or to rings on a pole, you should be able to swap them over quite easily. Sorts with material loops are even easier like these stylish striped Esprit Linea Voile curtains from Heal’s. Store the landlord’s curtains carefully in a dust-free, dry area, and away from direct sunlight to ensure they do not get damaged.
10. Infuse your home with freshness and light
Rental properties are often dark and dank. If window light doesn’t flood your space, bag some lights. Interior designer and stylist Abigail Ahern advises to ‘play on shadow and light and nooks of cosiness … [with] floor lights, candle lights, firelights and table lights.’ This New Jersey energy saving floor light from All Up and On casts light in different directions to help you set the mood. And don’t forget the power of nature. A vase of fresh flowers and a potted floor plant will bring colour and sweet aromas into your new home. It’s the simple touches that make all the difference.
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