One of the drawbacks of renting is the possibility of having to live with someone else’s vision and taste, especially if they clash with your own too much. You may find your landlord’s style is dowdy or excessively chintzy, too minimalist or too fussy. Ideally, a landlord will have chosen from a neutral-ish palette of colours, giving you room to overlay your own taste upon it, but we’re not always so fortunate and you may instead be greeted by strident and/or garish colours. Whether or not you’ve been unlucky, there are still plenty of things you can do to make a rental property feel like your own home. And seeing as more and more of us are renting, it’s worth having a few ideas and some helpful pointers to get you going. In fact, you can end up in a best-of-both-worlds set-up where you’re not liable when something breaks or goes wrong, but are still able to create a personal, cosy environment that feels all your own. Here’s how:
- Check with your landlord. What are you allowed to change, exactly? Can you paint? Can you alter the garden? Of course, it may be that you don’t want to invest your own time and money into a place that you don’t own, but if you’re likely to be living there for years and might even enjoy the process of making changes, then find out what degree of freedom you have to do so.
- Furnished, part-furnished, or unfurnished? This decision will greatly impact the extent to which you can create your own environment with your own taste. Sometimes part-furnished is the best compromise, giving you room for change but not requiring you to do it all.
- Soft furnishings. These give you lots of leeway for making changes. You may be stuck with the walls and carpet, but you can bring in your own style with your choice of curtains, cushions, pillows and more. Soft furnishings can go a long way in terms of changing the feel and atmosphere of a place.
- Impermanent wallpaper. You don’t have to fix wallpaper to the walls in the conventional, time-consuming and permanent fashion. Wallpaper can be hung against walls (there are plenty of different ways to do this, with a plethora of online guides and instructions) or pasted on to large wooden boards which are then placed against the walls.
- Art. Here you have carte-blanche (although your contract may require you to fill in and paint over holes when you vacate the property). Your originals, prints and posters can transform every room in the house or flat and