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How to personalise your rented home – without compromising your lease agreement.

By May 3, 2022Home
Small space decorating ideas for apartments

Just because you don’t own the property you live in doesn’t mean you can’t make your surroundings feel like home. Our homes’ interior has a more significant impact on us than we realise. So investing a little to make it work is something you will not regret. From your choice of lighting to your selection of furniture, it’s easier than you think to personalise your rented home – without compromising your lease agreement.

Chat with your landlord

Friends of mine used to rent a small flat in Kings Cross, which was more of an address than a home. With agreement from their landlord, they made some improvements which were then offset against their rent. 

One furiously busy bank holiday weekend and a lot of paint later, they flat transformed the flat into a gorgeous home. Before doing the work, they were reluctant to invite friends over or spend any time there. But once they had put their stamp on the place, they enjoyed entertaining and hanging out at home.

hang pictures

A fresh coat of paint

If you can get permission from your landlord, repainting is the best way to transform any room completely. If painting walls isn’t an option, consider investing in some accessories to bring colour into your rented home. Rugs, cushions and artworks are all things that can be taken with you when you leave. These will make the property feel like yours and help you personalise your space.

Go Big with Rugs

The other issue when renting is having to put up with things that you cannot change, like floors. Rugs are a brilliant way to cover up unattractive flooring. An inexpensive way to get a bespoke rug to fit your space exactly is to have a piece of carpet cut to size and edged in a contrasting colour. Most carpet suppliers will be able to do this for you. Layering rugs is another excellent way to conceal a not-so-good-looking floor and add texture and colour.

relaxing bedroom ideas

Introduce some mirrors

Mirrors are a great way to cover up walls – the bigger, the better. I invested in a large floor mirror when I lived in a one-bed apartment years ago. It worked to give the effect of doubling the room. It has travelled with me to each of my homes over the years and now resides in my bedroom.

Add some art

Displaying artworks and photos is what makes a place feel like home. Hanging art in your home with a single nail or a screw is an acceptable practice in most rentals. If you cannot hang anything on the walls, use surfaces like a mantelpiece, open shelving, or the top of a cabinet to display art and decorative pieces.

Create atmosphere with lighting

Lighting is a crucial factor in controlling the atmosphere in a room. Unfortunately, good lighting is something which many rentals lack. Even the best-styled room will look flat under inadequate lighting. Replace the shades if your rental has only bare bulbs or outdated pendants. A drum shade with a diffuser will give a softer light. Opt for different lighting sources by using a mix of table and floor lamps to allow you to control the lighting levels in your home.


Choose furniture carefully 

Opt for furniture that can be moved around and reconfigured to more easily fit into another home. Instead of a sofa with a chaise, which limits the possible configurations and therefore may not work in your future home, opt instead for a simple couch and an armchair or footstool. This is a more flexible furniture choice which provides you with the same seating space but retains flexibility with the layout.

Remember it’s only a rental

Finally, when planning your updates, bear in mind that you will only be living there temporarily. You probably can’t turn your space into your dream home – but that’s okay. So do the best you can to make your property a home. Spend some time and money to put your stamp on your space. After that, relax and enjoy the fact, that if your boiler breaks or the dishwasher stops working, you can pick up the phone and call someone to fix or replace it!

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Optimise Home renovation planner
Denise O'Connor

Author Denise O'Connor

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