How to Decorate a Rental Home

If you own a house then you have free reign to do whatever you may want with it. You can paint the walls black with orange spots if you like, or replace the carpet with Astroturf. It is your place, your belonging, and noone can dictate how you choose to decorate it.

If you live in a rental property like I do, however, then you will no doubt be very familiar with the restrictions of generally not being able to do as you please. Most places are inoffensive, opting for a neutral cream call colour, but they aren’t exactly personal. Putting your mark on this place is a challenge – but there are some ways you can get around the rules!


If you want homely and cosy then choose squidgy farm house sofas and traditional wooden furniture. If modern is more your thing then choose bright colours and interesting shapes. Try and keep your furniture to a theme to make the styling more distinct and noticeable, and also to make the whole thing tie together.

The basic structure of the room can be whatever you like, and the real advantage of their neutral decorating is that it can act as a blank canvas for whatever scene you can imagine.


Hanging canvases or photos or even batiks on your walls can instantly pull people’s attention away from the walls that don’t look any good, instead neatly making colour schemes and interior ideas. I particularly like pictures in hallways where you can’t as easily use furniture to make your point known. A friend of mine uses great vintage adverts to instantly make people realise what the house is going to be like as soon as they walk in the door!


A huge rug can camouflage even the most unsightly carpet, whilst something smaller and subtler can work if you just want to add a splash of colour or pattern to a room. Rugs are, of course, ridiculously expensive, so I would look on eBay and at local auctions to find the perfect one if you want to save your pennies!


Another idea is one always touted by somewhat irritating interior designers who don’t really know what to do. That idea is accessorising. Although this word is somewhat clichéd now the basic principle does actually hold true. Clever use of cushions and blankets and well placed ornaments can make a theme work and can complete the master distraction hiding the peeling patch of damp in the corner.

Finally if you are feeling brave you can decorate the walls. Nope, I don’t mean breaking your contract and getting out the paintbrush, but why not try a vinyl wall decal? These stickers can be found everywhere (try shops like Cargo on online at Etsy) and come in all sorts of designs – big flowers, butterflies, blossom, grass, spirals – the possibilities are endless. These can be an interesting focus point whilst being neatly peeloffable (is that a word) at the same time.

So there you have it – the sky is the limit even if it is a rented property.

Just be brave and make it pretty!

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