Interior Design Tips for Your Rental Property

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Making a house into a home can be pretty difficult at the best of times - but it’s a real challenge with rented accommodation, especially when you have a limited budget. Usually, with rental homes, you get a basic, blank slate - magnolia walls, brown or floral carpets, curtains that look like they came from the ‘70s - yikes. We lived in numerous rental properties before buying our first property and I can confirm that it was true for us. Each property on entering felt like we were stepping back in time and they didn't feel homely at all - avocado coloured bathrooms, green floral wallpaper, bright red kitchens - we've really seen it all. 

Over the years we came to the conclusion that it doesn’t take much to brighten up a plain or outdated home and that it's quite easy to add your own personal touch - even if you aren't able to paint or put anything up on the walls. Whether you’re the sort of person who’ll throw a lot at it and see what sticks or you’ll change one little thing at a time until your house is perfect - some of these tips below might be of some use to you.

Have a dream.
Having a clear idea for what you want a room before starting can help. Whether it’s a colour scheme, theme or an exact idea, planning can save you time and money. Plan colours so everything you buy goes together or compliment one another. Using mostly neutral colours ensures a coherent aesthetic, and you can still add pops of colour to every room without worrying about clashes. I find Instagram and Pinterest great for inspiration - I'm forever saving or pinning images for later.

Devil’s in the details.
Whilst you may not be able to do much about the walls and carpets, little details can go a long way. Items such as; rugs, blankets, cushions, house plants, ornaments, knick-knacks, and paintings. You don't even have to buy new items for this - you can find great accent pieces at charity and second-hand shops.

Make a change.
If your landlord agrees, you can always make some bigger changes. Many landlords won’t mind what you do as long as the property is returned to them looking at how it did when you moved in - sometimes these small changes can improve the properties' overall aesthetic. You could repaint, put up new curtains, and shelves.

Use what you’ve got
If you can’t repaint or put up shelves, use what you’ve got. Pick furniture that maximises your space - like a sofa instead of armchairs, or a desk that retracts when not in use. It also makes a different to switch the rooms about a little - bring the houseplant downstairs - take the living room lamp upstairs. 

Remember to ask your landlord
Last, but not least. A good relationship with your landlord is super important, especially if you want to make big changes. They’re probably a busy person, but they’ll still want the best for you and their property, so often they won’t mind positive changes being made to the house. As long as you’re not detracting from the value of the property there's not normally a problem, but make sure you ask first! They might have a day job, a couple of properties, or be represented by an estate agent, but they’ll almost definitely be covered by an insurance plan, like a comprehensive building policy or a landlord insurance policy, which you can buy through a broker like CIA Landlord Insurance -although don’t use this as an excuse to go crazy as it’ll come out of your deposit!


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