Decorating When Renting: Renovating Your Home When You Don’t Own It

If you’re fortunate enough to have never rented a property before, then you don’t understand the struggles of decorating when renting.

Standing in your big white empty room, looking at all the blank walls.

You know you’re not allowed to throw up a lick of paint.

And Heaven forbid if you ever dared using blue tack to stick something up on the walls.

It can be a nightmare when it comes to trying to execute your design vision. You wanted colour, wall hangings, a different type of flooring.

How are you ever meant to make your home your home, when you can hardly make any changes?

Decorating ideas are extremely difficult to think of. 

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can do. People are getting more and more creative when it comes to decorating.

Meaning, that there are more and more things for you to take inspiration from.

If you’re looking for interior design and home renovation ideas, continue reading! 

Here we break down some obvious ideas and some things you probably haven’t thought of before.

1. Soft Furnishings Mean Big Changes

It’s no big surprise that if you’re undergoing decorating when renting, you should start looking at soft furnishings.

We’re talking pillows, lamps, throws, and cushions.

These are reversible changes that won’t get your landlord angry. And, more importantly, make your home feel like home.

Adding some soft furnishings which you’ve handpicked can be a great way of executing your decorating vision.

You can colour coordinate to add some cohesion and unity to your home. 

Having a running colour theme throughout your property can make it feel more personal, especially when most rented properties usually are blank and disorganised.

Or, having colour coordinated rooms can set each room apart.

This can be especially great if your property is open plan, with the kitchen running into the living room.

Different coloured furnishings for each can make them more defined.

As well as this, furnishings add warmth to any area.

A blanket here or there and a nice cushion can make the room feel less cold, and more welcoming for yourself and guests.

2. Update Your Kitchen Appliances

This can be a slightly trickier move to achieve. However, it can be done if you get your landlord’s approval.

Often, they will green light changes to the rented property if it adds value.

And updating kitchen appliances certainly will.

A lot of the time when you move into a rented property, you’ll find that the kitchen appliances can be old and overlooked.

Maybe the dishwasher is rusting and making too much noise (that is, if you even have one at all.)

Or perhaps your fridge is a different brand from your freezer, and one works better than the other.

There are lots of reasons why you should update your kitchen appliances if you’re decorating when renting.

Having more up to date kitchen appliances can help make your home feel more cohesive and modern. 

And it will also give a much-needed upgrade to your entire rented space.

3. Add Some Art

Similar to the purposes of soft furnishings, artwork is a great way to get decorating when renovating.

They add colour, make your home more personal, and are an opportunity to get creative.

But, how do you do this?

Lots of people are often wary of hanging things on the walls because of the damage it can do.

Blue tack often takes some paint off with it. Or, when it doesn’t, leaves grease marks on the walls.

Screws are a big no-no when it comes to renting because they can damage the wall. Especially when the walls are so flimsy and old to begin with.

Sure, you can always throw up an extra coat of paint at the end of your tenancy to cover the marks. But who has time for that?

Rather than paying for the cost later on, you should invest in some renter-approved hanging devices.

Firstly, pick up some hanging photo displays that use clips. These can be draped across the wall and can hold pictures and paintings against the wall.

These don’t create any damage on the wall as they’re merely hanging against them!

Secondly, you should check out sticky wall hanging strips.

These let you put up photos and decorations on the wall without creating a hole or a mark.

And, as long as you follow the instructions and take them off carefully and properly, you’ll never know they were even up there!

4. Unscrew and Re-screw

If you’re looking for a more creative solution when it comes to decorating when renovating, you should take a look around your handles.

That’s right. The handles on your doors and the handles on your cabinets may be small, but mixing them up is a great way of changing the look of your home.

If your handles are able to, unscrew them!

And, put them somewhere safe. You’re going to be needing these for when you’re moving out. So, make sure you don’t lose them!

Next, pick out some brand new handles for your home.

These can be different colours, vintage handles you find in a store, or even something more modern.

Accessorise your home by swapping in some brand-new handles. They’re reversible changes that won’t cost too much. 

And, more importantly, won’t upset your landlord either.

5. Bring The Outside, Inside

When it comes to decorating when renting, you’d be a fool not to pick up a few plants.

Or, a lot of them!

Plants are a great way of filling blank space in your home. And, can make a great focal point in your room.

It’s not uncommon to walk into your rental property and find only a sofa and a table.

It can seem pretty run down and dull when you have hardly any furniture. A feeling which can only be exacerbated when you don’t have the money to go out and start buying extra furnishings.

Plants are a very affordable way of filling spaces in your room that would otherwise be empty.

Whether it’s an empty corner in your living room, a large shelf in your bedroom you have no hope of filling, or a balcony soaking up the sun – bringing a bit of the outdoors inside can add life to your rented space.

What’s more, at the end of your tenancy, you also get to take your plants with you!

Unlike changes like kitchen appliances, you don’t have to leave these in the property when you move on.

6. Have You Heard Of Removable Wall Paper?

As mentioned earlier, it seems that every day there are more and more ways discovered for you to decorate your rented home.

It’s all about finding ways to get around your landlord’s rules.

No paint on the walls? That’s fine.

Even if your landlord has an ugly yellow up on the walls, or the bland old white, no problem!

Because you have removable wallpaper.

That’s right. In case you don’t know what this is, it’s wallpaper which is temporary. It doesn’t require the usual wallpaper paste and drying.

The majority of removable wallpaper is peel and stick – much like a sticker.

Removable wallpaper allows you to decorate your rented area in any way you want. And, once it’s time for you to leave, you can simply peel it off the wall.

If you’ve done it right, you’ll find very little damage to the wall if any at all.

What’s more, removable wallpaper is fairly cheap. Because it doesn’t require any of the extras that regular wallpaper does, it’s quite cheap to make.

And therefore doesn’t cost you too much when buying.

7. Get Ready For Rugs

So, you know how to cover an ugly wall.

What about an ugly floor?

It’s not surprising to find that your rental home will have an old carpet christened with stains from previous tenants, dating back 50 years.

Or, if you’re lucky, you may have tiles or laminate. But, if you do, likely they’ll be chipped and scratched thanks to hundreds of feet walking all over them.

So what do you do?

Buying rugs is another temporary fix to your ugly flooring situation. You may think that rugs can only be used as a one-off in a room, but what about covering the room?

Just the other day a woman online, who couldn’t afford what would’ve been an £800 carpet, found a creative alternative.

She found some rugs which were similar in design and bought enough to cover the room. Making her own carpet!

What’s great about these is that if you spill something on them, you can simply take it off and replace it with another. 

And it won’t cost you nearly as much time or hassle as asking your landlord if it’s okay to replace their carpets.

8. Light Up The Room

Like what we’ve suggested you do with your doorknobs, you should also consider swapping out your light fixtures.

Often light shades can be a feature element in your home. It draws in the eyes and, if it isn’t that nice to look at, can change the feel of a room.

So change it up!

Light shades are extremely easy to take off and swap. All you need to do is grab a ladder (or someone tall!) and take off the old, likely dusty, light shade.

Along with the door handles, put them in storage to keep them safe. You’re going to need them when you leave.

As well as swapping out the lighting, you should add some more!

Lighting adds some atmosphere to the room. It can help make it feel warm, homely, bright, or cold.

So, grab a couple of lamps. See what it can do for your room!

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, we’ve shown you that there are lots of options when it comes to decorating when renting.

Whilst you may not be allowed to use blue tack, paint, or screw anything into the walls, there are ways around the rules your landlord has set out.

All it takes is a little bit of creativity, imagination, and a couple of sticky back strips.

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