Rented homes might come with a long list of decorating no-nos and design restrictions, but that’s not to say you can’t get around these with a few purse-friendly and non-permanent style tricks. It’s all about thinking outside the box and creating a place you can call ‘home’, for however long or short a time you’re planning to stay.
Stockpile bold cushions
Seasoned renters know that most furnished apartments are decorated in neutral tones to keep life simple for tenants that come and go. Even if you carry around some of your own items from place to place, there’s a chance you’ve gone for neutral tones, too, to ensure they work in any future accommodation.
However, just because you haven’t found your forever home doesn’t mean you’re tied to a bland interior. Adding plenty of accent pieces, such as patterned or brightly coloured cushions, can really lift a room and add that missing dose of personality.
Be clever with mirrors
Renting a home might not give you oodles of space to play with, particularly if you’re in a city, but with a few clever design tricks, your pint-sized pad can feel more than adequate.
Mirrors are your best friend here, but if rental rules prevent you from hanging them on the wall, prop up a huge, over-sized mirror instead, and let the reflection double your square footage in seconds.
Think smart with storage
Building in bookcases and storage walls are probably a no-no when it comes to renting, so it’s time to get canny with your storage.
Go for freestanding and modular shelving units, sideboards and display cabinets that can be shifted from room to room and taken with you when you move.
Get creative too by reusing vintage pieces in unusual ways – employ a stack of old suitcases as a funky side table or use a shopkeeper’s cabinet as a quirky island unit, as seen here.
Come over all arty
Photographs, pictures and artwork are a quick fix for injecting character into a rented property.
Check with the landlord if it’s OK to hang up long picture ledges, then curate your very own gallery at home by propping up sketches, canvases, postcards and photos, which won’t damage the walls with drill holes and nail marks. If you’re not allowed to hang up a picture ledge, try to find a ready-made ledge or use the back edge of a desk or worktop.
Max out a mantelpiece
Banging nails into walls for a row of shelving might not be an option for renters, in which case, you’ll need to find other landlord-friendly strategies to display your treasures.
Make use of a mantelpiece with a line of beautiful vessels and vases, in varying heights and tones, and prop up a picture or two. Boost your ‘show and tell’ collection with side tables that can double up as mini display areas, too.
Go for big rugs
Bare walls and floors don’t always mean an uninspiring interior for renters, but adding something of your own is a great way to make it feel more like home.
You might not be able to add personality with paint, wallpaper or a new carpet, but you can cover your floor with a big, beautiful rug or use several mini ones throughout each room.
Neutral rugs in natural jute or sisal will blend in with any scheme, while colour fans might want to pump up the personality factor with a bright, patterned design, like this one.
Become a neat freak
If you’re staying in temporary accommodation that’s perhaps not as spacious as you’d like, the key to being happy is to be neat, organised and efficient.
Stash some of your belongings in a storage unit, or in boxes in the attic, until you find a more permanent solution and just stick with the bare essentials to keep things tidy, plus a few beautiful items to make you feel at home.
Use wallpaper wisely
Decorating restrictions might rule out hanging up wallpaper or overhauling rooms with a new paint colour, but that doesn’t mean your walls need to stay plain and white forever.
Try removable, self-adhesive wall stickers that won’t leave behind any sort of residue. Or transform the insides of cupboards, wardrobes and bookcases with panels of brightly patterned, removable wallpaper.
Get the upcycling bug
If you can’t use paint or wallpaper to imprint your personality onto your rented home, get handy with a paintbrush and roller on your portable furniture and fittings instead.
A table or occasional chair that might have seen better days can be brought bang up to date with a fresh lick of paint or an interesting fabric – and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg to update it.
Invest in good lighting
What’s ‘good lighting’? In this context, think big, sculptural, freestanding lamps as well as gorgeous shades that can be picked up cheaply on the high street but can transform the entire look of a room.
Also go all out on clusters of church candles and tealights for instant interiors magic.