How to Make your Rented House a Home

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

There are plenty of benefits to renting a property instead of buying; no mortgage, absolute flexibility in where you live, and if the boiler breaks it's somebody else’s problem. One of the downsides, though, is that you're limited in how you decorate. Living with the furniture and wall coverings that your landlord has chosen can be a bit difficult, especially if they haven't bought anything since the 1970s, but you can still add a few personal touches to turn your rented house into a home.

Switch it up

You may have to live with your landlord’s furniture, but you don’t have to live with the way they've chosen to arrange it. If you'd prefer to have the bed in a different place, or the sofa against another wall, go for it. Taking control of the layout is an easy way to make your mark, so to get started:

-Start by drawing a plan of the room on a piece of blank paper and deciding where the furniture should go
-Take a photo of the room before you begin. This will this help you to decide if you like the new arrangement later, and will also help you return things to normal when you’re preparing to move out
-Get some friends to help you move everything around, and ask for their opinion. They might even have some better ideas (though don't tell them that)
-Get creative with empty spaces

After you've made the most of what you've got, it's time to move on to what you haven't. Empty spaces are perfect for helping you make your mark:

Choose a colour that you like and visit your local home bargain store to pick out a few bits and pieces. Vases, potpourri bowls, and wooden letters can really brighten up a shelf or mantlepiece
Buy some art cards and free-standing photo frames. Photographs of yourself with friends and family are good for a personal feel
If you're lacking free surfaces, invest in a standalone storage piece and add your favourite books to make it yours 

Think short term

 If you can’t put up pictures, get some removable wall stickers. These temporary decorations are cost effective and can spruce up even the plainest walls. You could also use magnets to attach art cards, photographs, and posters to your fridge. Magnetic word games are also a great option, and can be a stylish way to entertain the kids.

The soft touch

Just because you're stuck with your landlord's furniture, it doesn't mean you can't make it your own. Think about:

-Personalising your sofa with colourful cushions and throws. Investing in a statement rug can also change the whole look and feel of your living room
-Buying unique sets of designer bed sheets - changing the sheets can change the whole tone of a room
-Changing up the curtains. As long as you keep the original set somewhere safe, you can change the curtains to suit your taste. Just remember to put the original pair back up when you're done

Finally, bear in mind that while the bricks and mortar are covered by the landlord’s own policy, tenants still need contents insurance to protect against theft. After investing in all of these personal touches, you'll want to make sure they're safe, so always check you have the right level of cover.

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