Our Top Interior Tips (and advice!) Whilst Renting [AD]
Sharon and I have been renting since we moved in with each other in early 2000’s Whilst we would love to own a property, the current climate isn’t at all friendly for first-time buyers. Who has over £20k in savings these days?
With this in mind, for the past 10+ years we’ve rented and have enjoyed putting our mark on every property. It hasn’t always been a joyful time (let’s not talk about our experiences with mould and damp!), but then with each new experience we’ve been able to learn.
Renting isn’t for everyone. It can get very frustrating waiting for your landlord to fix something, not to mention the increase in rent. But, if you’re thinking about renting (whether it’s before you buy or you’re wanting to move out of your parent’s home) I’m going to share a few of our go-to tips to making your home… a home!
Early on in our renting journey, I never really felt like the properties we were renting felt like ours. Technically, they weren’t, but that didn’t mean I should have to treat it that way. Interior designers like Africa from The Vitamin D Project, who are also fellow renters, have been changing the way we think about renting for years. Their message is that even though we don’t own these four walls, you should ditch the idea that you’re “throwing money down the drain”.
Other than massive, constructional changes properties are usually blank canvases. This means that with the addition of things like prints, large rugs and other soft furnishings, your canvas will soon start to look more ‘you’.
Overtime, you can then treat each property as a new opportunity to be creative.
Planning is key when it comes to making the most out of any rented space. It’s unlikely that you will be unable to make any massive changes to the structure, so take this into consideration. Some landlords are quite relaxed about things like drilling, but always check first. It’s also sensible to invest in insurance before you start spending. If you have a good relationship with your landlord, why not compare landlord insurance with them to make sure you’re also covered.
With this in mind, it’s always beneficial to map out a variety of scenarios, depending on what you’ll be allowed to do. Can’t install shelves? No problem, why not try adhesives? No drilled-in blinds? Spring-loaded blinds! Ugly bathroom tiles? Sticker tiles.
Tip: Places like Pinterest are excellent resources to, literally, Pin ideas. We have a board per room.
Our current home doesn’t have an airing cupboard. Gutting, but this property was perfect for us at the time. Thankfully, there are lots of workarounds these days. Items such as over-toilet storage or shelving that can be hooked over the door. Plus, we made sure that we confirmed that any loft space was ours.
One of my favourite hashtags on Instagram is the #IKEAHacks one. It’s great for “hacking” IKEA furniture to not only make it look nice, but to make it more efficient. Who knew you could put wheels on a Kallax or turn a glass cabinet into a greenhouse!?
Tip: Don’t rely on your floors to be your only place for storage. Walls and even furniture can be combined to offer great options for more long-term storage.
Does anyone use the “main” light these days? We don’t, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write it off completely. Sometimes, a decent shade will complete a room or make a statement.
Throughout our house we have a number of lamps and prefer these to any main light. They really change the mood of a room, and are often more cost effective.
Tip: Change the style or colour of a bulb to add an extra touch of design.
Urgh! Flooring. Not only do I spend an age cleaning it when we arrive in a new place, but it’s often discoloured due to previous furniture. Floorboards are often creaky, and tiles are just plain ol’ ugly. For me, I prefer wooden flooring downstairs, due to the amount of foot traffic. Carpet is preferable upstairs, but we know this isn’t always possible. If we do have carpet, it’s often cheap and nasty!
To combat this, we invest in A LOT of rugs in high traffic areas. ESPECIALLY in open plan properties. Not only that, but we invest in large rugs and ones that are perhaps more expensive so they can be re-used.
Tip: One our top investments this year has been decent floor runners in our hallway and landing. This means that the carpet is preserved and you add a touch of design (in what would normally be an ignored room).
It’s very rare for landlords to allow any constructional changes to the layout of a room. That doesn’t means walls should be off-limits. Walls are perfect for storage options – whether it’s for a fold-up chair or a crate. Plus, nowadays, there are so many adhesive options when it comes to wallpapering or mess-free shelving.
Tip: Whilst the thought of talking to your landlord can be scary, don’t be put off! Asking questions won’t get you kicked out, but doing something against your tenancy agreement, might.
My Favourite Accounts…
I can’t not finish this post without sharing a few of my favourite people on Instagram. They’ve inspired me to be more adventurous with my design or given me the kick to remember that this is MY home. They’ve been a huge part of our journey.
I’ve already mentioned one of my favourite interior accounts previously, but nowadays there are TONS of gorgeous interior design accounts who are also people who rent! It is so satisfying finding new tricks and hacks when you’re in rented accommodation.
A few of my other favourites include Grillo Designs, who was probably my first ever renter follow. They introduced me to the #HowIRent hashtag and account for fellow renter folk. JessieFinds is also excellent for DIY tips and TheRentedSpace is the place for budget ideas. UntilLemonsRSweet are one of my newest finds – they’re property is STUNNING!
On a final note, if you are successful in regards to making any changes in a property, I would always recommend you get EVERYTHING in writing. Even if it’s something that can be “made good” upon your exit.
If your landlord agrees to something like paintwork, make sure you also agree details such as colour. Better yet, suggest that they install or paint so that you can’t be blamed for anything that isn’t your fault.