Living in a rented house or apartment can be a little bit of a challenge when it comes to making it feel homely, especially when there are so many rules and regulations around what you can or can’t do to the property. I’ve lived in rented accommodation for almost four years now, so know only too well! I’m a huge sucker for interior design and always love to switch up the decor of our home (much to Dan’s dismay), but when you’re not allowed to do any actual decorating, you have to find you’re way round things! Here’s some of my tips that I’ve come to learn over the past four years to help you make your rented house feel like its all yours, without annoying the landlord!
STICK TO NEUTRAL FURNITURE
When you first move in to somewhere, be sure to buy things in neutral colours that can go in any room. Most places will have beige carpets or wooden floors and magnolia walls, so you may be tempted to go all out and get a bright red sofa to make things a bit more exciting, but my advice would be to stick to a neutral palette that will be timeless. We went for simple white furniture and a grey sofa, which was the best decision ever, as it means we can switch up the colour scheme whenever we want with accessories, scatter cushions and throws, but the furniture itself will always go in any room, with any decor.
IKEA IS YOUR BEST FRIEND
Especially if you’re doing things on a budget! I’d say that 90% of our furniture is from Ikea, as we had a whole flat, then a house to fill with furniture from scratch and not very much money to spend! Four years on, everything is still looking as good as new, hasn’t dated and fits perfectly in to any room. For budget buys that aren’t Ikea, I’d recommend looking in charity furniture shops – we’ve picked up some great antique pieces for next to nothing!
ADD SOME ART TO THE WALLS
You might think you can’t hang any artwork because you’re not allowed to hammer any nails in to the walls, but think again! I lived in fear of leaving holes in the walls for a good year before I discovered Command Picture Hanging Strips. They’re sticky velcro strips that stick your frames to the wall, and can be ripped off without leaving a single mark when you’re ready to take them down. Genius! We’ve also made use of the space on our dining room mantelpiece, which looks really cool with prints in various sized frames propped up against the wall.
HAVE YOUR FAVOURITE THINGS ON DISPLAY
I purposely picked some of our furniture because of the lack of drawers and cupboards, so that it would allow us to have certain things on display, making the rooms look more homely and personal rather than hiding everything behind cupboard doors. For example, we’ve got our vinyl records on a shelf along with magazines, all of our books and lots of photos and candles. Even in our bathroom we have an open shelving unit with towels rolled up, our favourite toiletries neatly organised and bath products all out on display, giving the room more personality and a ‘lived-in’ feel.
ACCESSORISE WITH PLANTS
We’ve always been big fans of having the odd cactus plant here and there, but recently I’ve fallen in love with having even more house plants dotted around, and its made the rooms feel completely different without having to spend much money at all. Our living room is now starting to resemble a small rainforest, but there’s just something about having some tropical-esque plants to brighten up a dull corner or add a touch of greenery. Fingers crossed we can keep our latest additions alive for more than five minutes! (Our track record isn’t the best…)
RUGS CAN TRANSFORM A ROOM IN AN INSTANT
Rugs are the perfect addition, especially if you have wooden floors in your rented place. Not only do they warm up the room, but they can also make a space feel more homely and cosy. We’ve got a thick rug with a deep pile that we’ve picked up for the winter months, and its made our cold magnolia covered living room feel more luxurious!
ADD WARMTH WITH TEXTURES
This is something that I’ve only really started doing recently as I know the colder weather is coming and our living room is a like an igloo come Winter, but its so effective. Magnolia walls and drab floors can make a room feel like a cold shell, and the quickest and easiest way to make it feel warmer is to play with textures in your soft furnishings. As I said, we’ve gone for a shaggy rug, but also stocked up on faux fur throws and velvet and satin cushions in deep colours. They’ve instantly made the space feel warmer and more homely, and make the perfect spot for curling up in the evening!
USE COLOURS TO BRING A ROOM TO LIFE
Going back to my first point about not going for that bright red sofa, and sticking to neutral shades with furniture, but when it comes to accessorising, its actually a good idea to pick a few accent shades. For example, we’ve gone for deep navy, teal green and burnt orange in our living room, with cushions, candles and plant pots in these shades for a rich, warm feel, but then in our bedroom we wanted something more light and airy. We’ve gone for crisp white bedding teamed with soft greys and shell pinks for more of a bright ‘hotel’ feel, whilst still being cosy. Our dining room is monochrome as we have some super dark wood in there which doesn’t really go well with any colours we particularly like, and our kitchen is accessorised with cream and pastel shades. Finding the right colours to use in a space can really transform a room and make it feel more like home.
Let me know if you have any more tips or life hacks to make a rented space feel more homely!