In most rental properties, painting the walls, changing the carpets and even in some cases hanging pictures and canvases can be completely off limits for you as a tenant. So, before you start thinking about colour schemes and sorting through the family snapshots – first things first – make sure you get your landlord or letting agent’s permission before you start work. It might even be a good idea to ask for this in writing, just in case any questions are raised at your next inspection.
And although you may have all the best intentions when decorating the property, unfortunately your landlord may still not be happy for you to do this. However, all is not lost, because even if you’re unable to make the major cosmetic changes, there are still some creative ways to put your stamp on your rental home without breaking your agreement.
Depending on the size and the layout of your home you may be surprised at just how many possibilities there are for sprucing the place up, firstly without spending hundreds of pounds and secondly without causing any major changes or damage to the property.
Although you may be one of the lucky few that are actually allowed to paint the walls in your rental home, many of you will simply be stuck either with bland standard colours, or even worse with piercing or putrid colours and wallpapers that really hurt your eyes!
However, if you’re unable to add a splash of colour to the walls you can try one of these alternatives instead:
- Use art and photos - Even if you can’t put nails into the walls, there are several types of wall hangers that use adhesives instead.
- Hang fabric panels to cover walls, to break up a colour or a design that you just can’t live with.
Use a border that is easily removed – try peel & stick wall borders that don’t damage the wallpaper and paint and that can be easily repositioned whenever you want to.
The floors in your rental property can make a big difference to how you feel about your home, and if you’re unlucky enough to be stuck with an old or stain ridden carpet it can be difficult to live with.
Whilst major changes might not be possible, or an affordable option for you, there’s lots of things you can do to spruce up the flooring in your home. For example, if the carpet has seen better days it might be worth you hiring or borrowing a carpet cleaner; and for tough stains even investing in getting the carpets professional cleaned could make a considerable difference to how your home looks. However, if they’re beyond a little elbow grease investing in some large rugs, or even wall-to-wall carpeting (but without tacking it down) may help your rooms to look more homely and also tie in with your colour schemes too.
When you first move into your rental home you may find that the furniture you have just doesn't quite fit with the layout, the décor or the style of the house. But replacing your furniture can be an expense that you just don’t need. However you don’t have to spend hundreds of pounds replacing your furniture to fit your property. If it’s simply a case of colour, furniture can easily be stripped and repainted many times, as long as you’re careful when you do it and buy the right kinds of paints and varnishes. You can also pick up furniture second-hand at a responsible price too – why not go to your local car boot, charity shop or auction to grab yourself a bargain.
You can also check out the ads in your local newspaper or ad-mag, then simply buy a few pots of paint and get painting them up – you’ll be amazed at the transformation.
If you’re renting a furnished property you’ll no doubt be unable to make any changes to the look of the items in your property, however you can simply put some items in storage in a secure garage or ask you landlord to remove them. You can then invest in some key pieces of furniture that you can really bring your rooms to life.
However, if you can’t afford to replace the furniture in your home, you can always use a variety of soft coverings such as throws, blankets, fabrics and cushions to scatter on your settees, chairs and beds.
Now this is where you really can have some fun, because the accessories you choose to have in your home are pretty much down to you. From curtains and blinds, to throws, bedding cushions, lamps and lighting, picture frames and mirrors, vases and flower arrangements – to name but a few – the sky really is the limit.
What’s more if you’re crafty and handy with a needle and thread or sewing machine you can buy a multitude of different fabric to make your own soft furnishings throughout your home.
For the kids
If you have children you’ll know that they can be difficult to please, especially if they’re teenagers. It can also be really difficult to help them to create their own personal space within your home, especially with the limitations on decorating some rental properties have in place.
However, all the ideas mentioned previously can be incorporated into a child’s or teenager’s bedroom - and you can also get them involved too. For example they can create ‘mood’ boards and colour schemes, as well as paint furniture, make artwork and cushion covers and maybe decorate picture frames too.
Wall stickers are also a great way to add colour and a focal point to your child’s bedroom, without damaging the walls. They come in all shapes, sizes, colours and images and can be used on their own or as a display to create a whole new world in your child’s bedroom. What’s more, they’re also really easy to apply and really easy to remove – it’s always a good idea to read the instructions first though and try them somewhere inconspicuous – just in case!
Whilst it may seem that there are a lot of restrictions in terms of decorating your rental property, there are lots of ideas available on line and in magazines to really make your rental property a home. No matter what you have to work with, with a bit of imagination and work you can really transform your home.