Your home is an extension of who you are. The choice of paint, trim, and decorations are all reflective of a homeowner’s personality.
Unless, of course, you’re living in a rental home. There’s considerably less freedom to customise when you’re living in a let. Most agreements prohibit tenants from making major changes or drilling holes through the wall. And there is some decor that even the strongest adhesive can’t hold up.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t decorate and have to settle for dull and drab. Here are 7 renter-friendly hacks for bringing your rental home a little closer to the Pinterest home of your dreams.
Decorate Your Floors
When you enter a room, the first thing you notice is typically the wall decor–maybe it’s a bold and brash painting, or an intricate work of macrame art. Or perhaps an ostentatious piece of furniture that draws your eye first, big and commanding in the middle of a room.
Walls and furniture often take centre stage because tenants gloss over flooring. Yet floors are as much of a blank canvas as your walls. And there are many ways to bring it to life–without using a drop of paint or leaving behind residue that’ll break your tenancy agreement.
Rugs and runners come in different shapes, sizes, and materials. If you’re on a budget–and large area rugs can get expensive fast–you can layer several smaller pieces to add character to your plain floors.
Add Depth With Floating Shelves
Just because you’re renting doesn’t mean you can’t decorate and walls have to be kept bare. While drilling is prohibited for many lets, you can get around the restriction with floating shelves.
Many floating shelves can be affixed using a strong adhesive, which kits should already come with. You can even install shelves with exposed brackets. Normally you’d need screws to mount these, but non-damaging adhesive wall screws can do the job as well without making holes.
These renter-friendly fixtures are usually decorative and can only bear the load of a few ornaments. But that’s okay. Like rugs, you can stagger floating shelves in different configurations to maximise the available space.
Decorate with Your Memories
Removable wallpaper can still feel like too pricey of a job for renters, especially if you’re only staying for a short period of time. It also doesn’t stick as well on textured walls, like brick. Depending on the quality of the panels, you might end up with wallpaper that leaches toxic materials, or are fire hazards.
A safer and more affordable way to spruce up walls without repainting or covering the whole thing up with wallpaper is through collages. Lain out gallery-style, photo walls add a nice personal touch to your space. Check out some affordable tricks to bring your own photography into your home.
You don’t need frames if you don’t have them. Neither will you need nails. Using bare photos gives wall collages an eclectic and crafty vibe. Plus, card stock weighs next to nothing and can easily be mounted using removable adhesive like Blu Tack.
Small Touches, Big Impact
When you decorate a space, it can be easy to get lost in the big projects like installing wallpaper or swapping out furniture pieces. But in interior design, even the more understated elements of a space go a long way in tying an aesthetic together.
Some effortless ways to bring your personality to your home without breaking the bank: throw pillows, curtains, and couch blankets. Curtains are relatively easy to install, and come in a limitless array of designs. Throw pillows make even old and generic sofas look cosier. Drape a blanket over it, and it’ll look like a piece straight out of a lifestyle magazine.
Ornaments are also key for curating the essence of your chosen aesthetic, whether it’s the free-spirit of boho or the edge of industrial. Place knick knacks strategically on coffee tables and end tables. Take photos and keep an inventory of existing decor so you can stay on-theme when you shop for new items.
Clever Small Space Solutions
Without the ability to add built-in closets or overhead cabinets, renters have limited storage to work with. Fortunately, you can carve out a lot of new space in your small flat with a little bit of creativity.
Position furniture at an angle near the corners of your room. Use the space behind it to store organisers and boxes. Use multipurpose furniture, like coffee tables and ottomans that double as storage spaces. Skirted tables look good, let you cover a table you may not like, and give you an accessible space for stashing your stuff. If your closet’s starting to clutter, freestanding rails will make your flat look like a high-end boutique while giving you more room for next season’s outfits.
If you’re fond of having friends over, small flats can feel limiting. But with convertible and expandable furniture, you can entertain groups without having to buy large tables or more seating. Nested tables offer more dining space. Convertible sectionals can transform your living room into a guest bedroom when needed.
Open Up Spaces With Mirrors
Walls can make a space feel claustrophobic, especially when it’s found between two open areas, like your living room and kitchen. Homeowners typically deal with that problem by knocking it down.
Unfortunately, a major remodelling project is not an option if you’re renting, but what you can do instead is play with mirrors. Mirrors, when placed strategically, can create the illusion of space and make rooms seem bigger and brighter.
If making things bigger than they appear is the goal, choose oversized mirrors with simple frames. Ornate frames can make a space look more cluttered. Place them at eye level and near light sources like windows and lamps; the reflections will give the room an airy, spacious vibe.
Illuminate With Chic Lighting
Stock lighting for lets is often–to put it simply–hideous. Many landlords don’t put much thought into lighting beyond basic ceiling lights. Many renters accept it as part of living in a rental because contracts often prohibit rewiring.
Yet there’s a world of possibility between the unsightly bulbs your flat comes with and the elaborate fixtures you see on Pinterest. Renters can revamp and light up a room without picking up a single tool.
Floor lamps are both functional and decorative. If you’re limited on floor space, consider tucking them neatly against corners to brighten the perimeter of a room. You can also place small lamps on your shelves and end tables to chase away dark spots and create cosier task areas for work or study. If lamps are too much for your decorating budget, you can get creative with cheaper fairy lights and plug-in lights. For ugly ceiling lights, out of sight is out of mind–especially with beautiful DIY lampshades and covers.
As limiting as your landlord–and budget–can be, you can still make a rental home feel like your own. All it takes is a little time, creativity, and clever placement.