Don't put up with tasteless furnishings, unloved walls and dodgy lampshades (thanks, landlords). Just because you're renting doesn't mean you can't make your abode feel like home – your home to be precise. Banish beige from your space and say hello to stylish (and totally mortgage-free) living…
1. Frame the things you like
Leave the blue-tac and drawing pins to students – nothing says temporary like tacked up art. Take the time to frame favourite posters, artwork and memorabilia and you’ll instantly give your home a polished and, dare we say, grown-up look. Check out John Lewis’s House collection for a great array of stylish and affordable designs.
2. Paintbrushes at the ready!
It’s one of the quickest and cheapest ways to transform a space – even if you only paint one wall, or just the doors and skirting. There’s no better way to put your stamp on your home and make it feel like yours. This room is a shining example of a little ingenuity (and a little paint) going a long way. From decorating hacks to complete schemes, check out Dulux Let’s Colour Magazine for inventive ways with paint and the whole product range.
3. Focus on flooring
Whether your rented home has floorboards (lucky you), or a carpet that’s seen better days, investing in a large rug will hide a multitude of sins and smarten up your space with minimum effort. The best bit? You can take it with you when the time comes to move on. We love Habitat’s range of flatweave designs that use bold patterns and splashes of colour for a guaranteed transformation.
4. Illuminating ideas
Inherited some dodgy lampshades and light fixtures with your rental? Switching these over to more stylish models will have a big impact to the mood of each space – and, again, these can be packed up and moved to your next abode. Switch unnecessarily bright bulbs over to lower wattage bulbs and introduce lampshades which diffuse light in a flattering way – try Ikea’s Vate paper shades (£7.50 each) or, for a cool industrial look, pair a filament bulb with BHS’s Jed 1 pendant lamp (£40). If your overhead lighting can’t be easily changed, pep up your home with small task lamps – they’re so much more flattering than a stark overhead glare. After all, you can never have too many lamps.
5. Green Party
No outdoor space? No problem – surround yourself with greenery indoors instead. Potted palms, cacti, succulents, terrariums and even mini trees are having a moment in interiors, but aside from hipster-fying your home, they’ll hide any flaws you can’t fix and make for a revitalised and happier home for now.
Get creative with your indoor planting and sow the seed of inspiration with The House Gardener, a bible of house planting from the founder of The Balcony Gardener, Isabelle Palmer (Pictured, £22.95, Amazon). If the idea of a terrarium is growing on you, check out our favourite from West Elm.
Renter's Address Book
Ikea – The mothership for all renters, first-time buyers, students and growing families, Ikea has everything you could possibly need for quick home updates and solutions, from stackable storage to plant pots, textiles and of course, Daim bars and tealights.
Habitat – The original champion of affordable design, you can now find mini Habitat stores in Homebases all over the UK as well as online. Best buys include rugs, affordable upholstery and dining furniture for small spaces.
H&M Home – Just like its apparel, H&M Home is cheap, cheerful and at the forefront of the latest trends. It doesn’t do furniture, but you can stock up on all sorts of home accessories from shower curtains to wooden serving boards. Make a beeline for its pretty glass vases and tealight holders.
Sainsbury’s – Don’t dismiss the humble supermarket when it comes to interior design and decoration. Sainsbury’s has upped its game with its latest homeware collections, which feature style savvy accessories such as monochrome woven storage baskets and elegant stoneware serving platters.
BHS – This high street wonder has made a name for itself in recent years thanks to its range of directional yet pocket-friendly lighting. From industrial floor lamps to quirky statement light boxes, all styles are catered for.
The Balcony Gardener – Everything you’ll need to make your home an oasis of green, including indoor planters, vases and vessels, terrariums, garden tools and stacks of inspiring ideas.
For more shopping and scheme inspiration check out our Pinterest boards.