Renting can be great, it gives you the freedom to move around and not have to worry about things like fixing a boiler. But rental properties don’t always have the most stylish interiors, with some verging on awful.
Finding a way to improve your space can seem impossible, especially when you don’t have permission to make major changes or hang artwork on the walls. Don’t despair, there are some simple changes that take very little effort and can really help your rental feel more personal. Taking the time to make some of these changes will make your home a much more cosy and happy place to live!
If your place is unfurnished, you obviously have more freedom to create the look you want. Ikea is your friend, but don’t forget about Gumtree and your local charity shops. Most towns and cities have a charity shop that specialises in furniture, like Help for Humanity. The most tattered looking pieces can easily be spruced up with some paint.
If furniture is already there, you can always buy a few chairs or a side table to personalise. With chalk paints like Annie Sloan, you don’t have to worry about sanding and waxing – just paint it on, even over varnish. Some landlords don’t even mind if you repaint or upholster their existing furniture (with permission of course). It’s a fun way to get creative!
There is nothing like some leafy green plants to bring a bit of life into your home. Arrange succulents on shelves and dressers (we love this ladder idea from Fall for DIY!), while large leafy palms can fill a corner in the living room or hallway. There are some great plant pots in H&M and TK Maxx, or you can have fun painting your own.
In the kitchen, don’t forget about herbs. Not only will they add some colour and aroma, but they make your meals taste delicious. These chili plants look fab and will encourage you to make more home cooked meals. If you don’t have much shelf space, you can hang plants in baskets from the ceiling.
Let’s face it, the floors in rentals can be really ugly! An easy way to add colour to a room or detract from a weirdly patterned carpet or wall colour is to scatter some rugs around. Large rugs can be expensive, but you can find some beautiful, small and affordable rugs. Try scattering mismatched rugs through living areas, or a big fluffy sheepskin to bring warmth to cold bedroom floors.
An easy way to add personality to your rental is to change the light fittings. You can find some gorgeous shades on made.com, Etsy and even Dunelm that could easily pass for designer pieces (we love this bright cluster trio!). From industrial style pendant shades, candy colours and copper wires, you can really add some style. Pick easy-fit lampshades that click into place, no wiring required. And don’t forget about table lamps to add light to dark corners.
One thing that takes your home up a level from student accommodation is artwork. Proper prints in frames look so much more sophisticated than posters stuck to a wall. If your landlord isn’t keen on you making holes in the walls, a picture ledge from Ikea can be used to display your favourite prints. Ikea frames are light and hang easily using these three-pronged picture screws. If you have made some holes in the wall, they can be filled with a tube of polyfilla and painted over before you move out. Society6 has a fantastic range of unique prints from independent artists and Etsy and Oliver Bonas are also a great place to look.
Words: Laura Belton