Those who regularly live in rented flats will know the struggle of making them feel like home. Being limited in the changes which can be executed in terms of design and decoration can make it difficult to give a property your own personal touch. With cheap furniture you did not choose, structural annoyances that you cannot fix, designs that do not align with your personal taste, and a pesky deposit that you need to preserve, there is only so much for you to work with. When your flat has been designed and furnished by someone else with different preferences, your own criteria for the perfect property can easily fall by the wayside. But they don’t have to…
With just a few simple decorative tips and a little bit of initiative you can make your rental flat feel a lot more like your own. When your flat has the warmth and comfort of a ‘lived-in’ home, you will find it a lot easier to relax in your property and enjoy the remainder of your tenancy (especially if you plan on living in the rental for many years). As premium London estate agents, one of our top priorities is making sure that tenants feel at home in their chosen properties. While there may be limits to what you can do with your flat (which differ from case to case), we’ve taken it upon ourselves to share some great flat design ideas that can help give your property a more personalised vibe.
Spruce up the walls
Although one of the quickest and easiest ways to spruce up any room is with wall decorations, most landlords forbid their tenants from attaching items to walls with nails, screws, and blu tac due to the damage these fixtures can cause to the walls. Likewise, adding paint or paper to walls may be in breach of your tenancy agreement if done without your landlord’s permission. This leaves you without much room for personalisation when it comes to decorating walls, however there are some workarounds.
Make the most of any existing hooks on your walls by putting up some framed paintings or hanging decorations in your preferred style. Without hooks, you could always simply display your art by leaning it against the fall or resting it on a shelf. Sometimes landlords will be happy to permit free improvements to their rental property because they can increase its appeal for future tenants, so it might be worth just asking if you can add a lick of paint or hang up some pretty paintings. As they say: if you don’t ask, you don’t get!
New furniture for a new flat
You may want to consider decking out your rental property with some new furniture of your own, although this may not be worthwhile if you have a short term lease. Some flats come furnished, some just have the essentials (beds, wardrobes, sofas), and some come with no furniture at all. Regardless how much furniture your flat has when you initially move in, adding furniture that suits your own style will help to cultivate a space you can be comfortable in. For inspiration, consider the following flat design ideas for fresh furnishings:
- Statement chairs that liven up your space and create a cosy nook for reading.
- Colourful bean bags that open up a laidback retreat in your living space.
- Antique furniture in the form of vintage stools, coffee tables, or lamps.
- Freestanding headboards that slot around the back of your bed.
- Convenient benches or shelves that sit at the foot of your bed.
Bringing the outdoors in
The features which make a house feel like a home are noticeably absent from rental properties, and flats in particular have the potential to feel quite disconnected from the outside world. However, keeping your rooms topped up with greenery and natural light helps freshen things up. Whether it’s fresh potted plants arranged on your bookshelves, quirky cacti placed on your desk, or a small herb garden growing on your kitchen counter, adding greenery always helps to bring life and nature into your flat (assuming that you give them enough natural light).
Furthermore, plants will help improve and purify the air in your space – an added bonus for big city dwellers! Even the most drab rooms can become pleasant and cosy with the addition of just a few plants.
Your shelves are a canvas
Most rental properties will come with a few empty shelves and storage units for your own use, which gives you plenty of opportunity for personalisation. Nothing gives a room character quite like a shelf packed with books, which themselves can bring colour and pattern to a blank space. Similarly, empty shelves open up room for decorative items such as potted plants and candles.
If your flat is lacking in storage space it still might be worth investing in some budget storage to pad out the bedroom and living space. Whether it’s a small bookshelf to house all your literature or a tall shelving unit for displaying your extensive record collection, installing custom storage helps establish your own space and incorporate elements of your personality into the property. Just remember to refrain from mounting any shelves onto your walls if your contract forbids it.
Light it up
Bright and positive lighting has the potential to completely transform your space for the better. Without sufficient lighting, the mood of your flat could be completely thrown off and your overall experience of living there may be diminished. If your rental relies solely on dim overhead lights, consider buying some atmospheric floor lamps for your living space and some cosy table lamps for your bedside table.
Lamps help bring more than just brightness and mood. They can also function as decorative points of interest that give your flat more character and contribute to its overall design. For instance, quirky work lamps give your desk a modern edge, while wooden floor lamps have the capacity to give any space some traditional charm.
The power of textiles
Even though permanent fixtures are completely off limits and some of those more adventurous flat design ideas are curbed by contracts, you still have control over certain design elements. Investing in some high quality bed linen is bound to bring luxury and charm to any boudoir, allowing tenants to express their own personal style through colours, patterns, and textures.
Topping off your bed with an assortment of fluffy cushions will help further define your interior, even if the walls and furnishings are not to your liking. Throws are a rental design cure-all, allowing you to both cover up disagreeable furnishings while injecting some of your own favourite colours and patterns into the space. Working with textiles in such ways opens you up to a wide range of design possibilities that will neither get you in trouble nor risk your deposit.
If you’re looking to rent a beautiful property within the best boroughs of South West London, take a look at the lettings we have available here at James Anderson.