There are lots of benefits to renting a home – the freedom to move around, not having to shell out if the boiler breaks – but decorating a rented space can be a bit of a sticking point. Rental properties are often minimal spaces with white walls to appeal to all tastes, which is great when you’re just moving in… but what about when you’re settled and ready to make the place your own? It’s not quite as easy as painting the walls and hanging some artwork when you’re renting.
But, if you find yourself regularly wondering ‘can you decorate a rented house?’, you’re in the right place. Whether you want to go all-out and paint some walls or just hang a few family photos, we’ve got all the tips and tricks to show you how to decorate a rented house. Read on!
Are you allowed to decorate a rented house?
Before you get started, check in with your landlord. They will be able to advise how far you can go with redecorating – some will be totally happy with a paint job, while others might prefer you still to removable accessories rather than permanent changes. Ask before you begin to understand where the limit is.
If your rented home is feeling a bit tired, you can ask your landlord if they’ll do a little work to freshen it up a bit themselves – this is particularly good to ask before you move in or before you renew your tenancy. Many landlords are happy to let tenants choose paint colours themselves, as long as they’re not too bold!
If your landlord is unsure about redecorating, offer to do the work yourself and paint it back to white afterwards. That way you can go as bright as you like, paint on patterns, split colours across two walls or even try your hand at a mural – as long as you can get it back to white when you move out, anything goes!
Add personality to a rented home with accessories
The right accessories will add depth, detail and warmth to any space – even if the walls are classic rented magnolia. Layering soft furnishings, draping blankets and positioning trinkets goes a long way to distracting from boring décor and creating a sense of personality and style. Here are our 5 top tips for clever rental accessories…
1. Use a statement rug to add colour and detail
Rented homes often go for function over form when it comes to flooring, which means you could be left with ugly laminate, faded lino or a less-than-attractive 80s carpet. A large rug will break up boring flooring as well as adding warmth and texture to your space. Plus, placing durable rugs in high traffic areas is a great way to protect your floors and hold on to that rental deposit.
We love this Vadara berber style rug – the neutral shade will complement both modern and traditional styles while the cool, understated pattern creates detail and interest.
It’s wise to measure your space before buying a rug, but if you’re unsure which size to go for, choose the bigger one – it’ll cover more floor area and you can sit furniture on top of it for a super stylish finish.
Shop our rug collection and discover a range of sizes.
2. Mix and match colourful cushions
If you’ve moved into a furnished property, not every piece will be to your taste. What’s more, it’s often the sofa that disappoints the most – rental sofas can be saggy, faded and just a little bit depressing! If your landlord won’t spring for a new one, plenty can be done and you’ll be amazed at the difference that colourful cushions can make.
Investing in a throw can also help to cover up a dated sofa and help to freshen it up.
Shop soft furnishings to find a range of cushions and throws to spruce up your rental sofa.
3. Hang photos and artwork the rent-friendly way
Hanging photos and artwork is a sure-fire way to bring personality to a simple space – but knocking nails into someone else’s walls isn’t always a good idea! Make sure you check with your landlord before you whip out the hammer – they may be fine with holes if you fill and paint them before you leave. If not, see below for our no-nails hack. You might not be able to do a full gallery wall (but if so, you can check out our gallery wall tips here!), but adding a splash of colour to your walls with some pretty prints is a great way to make your rental feel like home.
4. Light up your space with a statement lamp
Lamps not only bring soft, diffused light to darker rooms, but they also act as accessories themselves for a touch of detail and design. Look for lamp bases with carved or gilded detail and shades with pleats or fringing for that luxe finish. We love this lamp with rattan base – perfect for a natural, netural space.
Find your perfect lamp in our lighting collection.
5. Invest in on-trend furniture
If you’ve got a bit more budget to spend, adding some smaller furniture pieces to your rented home can really elevate your interior design, especially if your space is sparsely furnished when you move in.
Having a mix of decorative items like an interesting side table, vintage dresser or jewel-toned velvet armchair alongside practical pieces like your bed, wardrobe and sofa just adds depth and character to your home. This olive green side table is perfect for a minimal living room – finish it off with a vibrant house plant in a colour contrast pot.
Home décor hacks for rented spaces
It might feel like you’re really restricted with what you can do to spruce up your rented home, but a few simple rental hacks will soon have you feeling like an interior design pro.
Use command hooks rather than knocking holes into walls
Command hooks have a sticky plastic backing that adheres to any wall, creating a super strong bond that will hold even the heaviest frame. You can use them to hang artwork and photos, to hold back curtain ties or even to create extra storage for coats. The best thing about command hooks is they can be removed without damaging the wall – so when you move out, just pull them off!
Try peel and stick wallpaper for a statement look
If you love maximalist design but you’re stuck with plain white walls, peel and stick wallpaper is just the ticket. It comes in a range of bold prints and bright shades – perfect for covering that magnolia! Just peel off the backing and stick it on your chosen wall, then remove before you move out. Sorted.
Add mirrors in dark spaces to reflect light
All properties have darker spots where less natural light shines in, but it can be harder to make space for light if you’re renting your home. Especially in rented flats with smaller windows, light can be at a premium. But mirrors can be the answer! A mirror will reflect light around the room, bouncing it off
the walls and back into the main space. Hang a couple (using command hooks, naturally) in your darkest corners to maximise every ray.
Swap out cheap finishes for premium versions
One of the trickiest things to style out in a rented space is a cheap-looking finish – low cost door handles, light switches and plug sockets can really ruin the vibe. If you’re on a DIY mission and want to instantly elevate your rented space, swap out your handles, switches and sockets to something a bit more premium. You’ll need to know how to connect the switches and sockets properly or hire an electrician to do it for you, but it’s really worth the extra effort.
Cover dated tiles with fresh vinyl
Stick-on vinyl is all the rage with renters at the moment. This sticky-backed printed vinyl comes in a wide range of finishes – from classic parquet to bold geometric prints – and is durable and waterproof for kitchen and bathroom use. You can even use it to cover that dark plasticky kitchen worktop!
We hope these tips and tricks have given you plenty of inspiration for how to decorate a rented house. Don’t forget to tag @LaRedoute on Instagram in the glow-up photos!