As the shops fill their shelves with gift ideas and your afternoon cup of tea comes with a mince pie instead of a chocolate biscuit, one thing is clear: Christmas is coming. And with the 25th December fast approaching, many of us will be thinking about how to decorate our home.
For homeowners, it’s easy to pin fairy lights to walls and hang garlands from the ceiling. For tenants, however, a little more thought must go into how to make the property look festive, as any damage could potentially result in deductions from your deposit.
What does your landlord say?
In order to celebrate without fear of losing some of your security deposit, it’s worth carefully checking your tenancy agreement before investing in your decorations. Landlords often stipulate whether things can be hung on the walls or ceiling, so be sure to look out for these notes. Can’t see anything in the agreement? Have a chat with your landlord or put your questions to them via your letting agent. You’ll be glad you double-checked first.
Even things like glitter in the carpet from baubles and scuffs on the walls from manoeuvring the Christmas tree into position can potentially be factored into the inventory and inspection when you move out. Even if it’s a while before you’re planning to move on, thinking carefully about which decorations you choose can pay off when you do leave. However, there are ways to hang your decorations without making any marks on the wall. Here’s how:
Work with what you have
Instead of making holes by hammering nails into walls and risking greasy marks by using Blu Tack, why not make the most of the fixtures that are already there? Thread ribbon through your decorations and hang them from doors, curtain poles or light fittings.
Do a swap
Some rentals have artwork or picture hooks belonging to the landlord mounted to the walls. If there are pictures already hanging up in your property, try switching these for your Christmas decorations. By reusing the nail, you’re not adding any holes to the walls and you get to display your decorations over the holidays.
Are there alternatives available?
There are plenty of ways to add festive cheer in the home that don’t require any hanging at all.
Lay it out
Pine-studded garlands have become popular in recent years, and they make a lovely, practical alternative to hung decorations. Drape them along mantlepieces, windowsills and tie them to bannisters to bring some rustic chic to your decorations.
Like garlands, wreaths packed with poinsettia are a wonderful addition. Rather than hanging this on the front door, you can prop it up on the mantlepiece, giving it pride of place and creating a festive focal point.
Invest in ornaments
When it comes to Christmas, you can be as bold and brassy or sophisticated and classy as you like. Channel the style you’re going for via some well-chosen ornaments. There are so many options available, such as elegant gold-coloured reindeer and sweet little angel figurines, to dancing Father Christmases and brightly coloured snow globes.
Whichever you opt for, you’ll find that these are a simple, yet effective way to add some merriment to a coffee table or sideboard. Plus, they can be easily added and removed from the room without causing any damage, making them ideal for your rental.
Light it up
There’s nothing quite like basking in the glow and aroma of cinnamon-scented candlelight to make you feel all Christmassy. Before you head to the nearest candle aisle however, check your contract to make sure you’re allowed to burn them. If you can’t have them, LED lights are a good option for adding that glow.
If there’s nothing that stipulates you can’t have candles in the property, make sure you consider where you place them. Wax can stain, so place the candles on a tray and never leave them unattended.
What about the tree?
The Christmas tree is the ultimate investment décor-wise and it’s important to think carefully about the one you choose for your rental.
Whether you love a real tree or you’re happy with an artificial one, it’s crucial that you choose a tree that won’t be so huge that it scuffs the walls or damages carpets or flooring. Real trees also have the added issue of shedding needles, which could prove problematic if any get wedged in floorboards. Take the time to measure the doorways and ceiling height to work out how big your tree can be before you buy one.
When you know the one you want that will comfortably fit in the space, be sure to weigh it down. Having a sturdy base will ensure the tree stays put and doesn’t topple over. A falling tree can not only create a mess; it can be a fire hazard, so placing it well away from the fireplace and making sure it’s well anchored will help to avoid any issues.
Of course, you don’t have to go for a traditional tree to add some merriment to the home. There are plenty of alternatives available, from abstract metal creations to sleek, Scandi-inspired wooden structures.
How to pack decorations away safely
Once the new year arrives, you’ll need to pack everything away. Follow these simple steps to make sure your careful decorating skills don’t go out of the window when it’s time to take the decorations down:
Know where things go
Setting aside a space for decorations in the property is the first step towards organising this dismantling process. By knowing where things are going to go, you can have a clear idea of which decorations to focus on first.
Taking a logical approach to packing things up will help you to avoid doing any damage to the property. If you’ve kept the boxes that everything originally came in, you’re already in a great position as you can simply pop everything back and store them in a cupboard.
If not, fear not! Try working out what items can be grouped together and place them in boxes together. For example, if you have small ornaments, you could put those in the same box, and have a separate box for your fairy lights.
Is anything glittery or fluffy and likely to leave a mess? Plan for this too. Have bags for glitter-encrusted baubles at the ready and be sure to vacuum the floor once everything is cleared away.
Wrap it up
Are there any delicate items in the pile? Make sure you have plenty of protective packaging to wrap fragile baubles and glass figures in. This will help to avoid breakages and prevent damage.
You’ve taken the time to clear space for the decorations, but you’ll also need to balance each box in the space carefully. Avoid over-stacking and don’t stack larger, heavier boxes on small ones. If the space is too small for everything, consider finding alternative storage solutions for the decorations.
What will you do?
How are you planning on decorating the property you’re renting this Christmas? Whatever you decide, be sure to keep the condition of the property in mind. It’s possible to be creative while making sure the flat looks as good as it did when you moved in.