Today’s blog post is all about renting and what you can – and can’t – do in terms of decorating your rented home. I’ll be sharing some #RentingRules to ensure that you don’t upset your landlord or end up losing a hefty chunk of your deposit. This blog post has been inspired by HomeLet, as well as a few of my favourite interiors bloggers.
I’ve been a serial renter for most of my life. In fact, until a year ago when I bought my first home, sorting out tenancies and paying deposits was a regular occurrence. I’d first rented as a student at the age of 19, and dived in head-first with a private tenancy rather than taking a room in the university halls of residence. And I’ve been renting ever since.
Over the years I’ve got a clear idea of the rules of renting. In fact, I was a bit of a pro! The longest tenancy I’d had in the past was 4 years, and the shortest was 4 months (seriously, that was a baaaad apartment!). I’d actually started to look forward to ‘moving day’, as it was such as regular occurrence. In fact, it’s quite a weird feeling to move into my house without a contract end-date in sight. Here are the official rules of private renting from Gov.uk.
Settling into a new home is hard enough, let alone when you can’t really do much to the interior in order to make it feel homely. So you might want to ‘put your stamp’ on a place, but put that paint brush down! There are a lot of financial factors to consider when you’re planning to make a rented home ‘your own’. I mean, you’ve just had to hand over a deposit and pay those application fees, so you wouldn’t want to jeopardise your tenancy contract by making a hole in a wall or painting the ceiling black!
But don’t despair; there are plenty of things you can do to make your home your own. I’ve been admiring the style of top interiors bloggers Anna and Victoria for years. Their beautiful apartments had me thinking that they were decorating their own home but no – they’d been renting all along. The difference is that they know how to style up a room and make it their own without bending the rules of renting. It just goes to show that you can achieve the look you want, without dipping that brush into the paint.
Here’s what you shouldn’t do:
- Don’t make holes in the walls. And I mean, not even for picture frames, if you can help it. You’ll only have to fill them when you leave, and if this creates patches on the wall you may have to repaint the whole room in order to get your deposit back. Some tenancy contracts allow for correctly fitted picture hooks to be installed and left in place after you leave, so check the rules of your contract thoroughly.
- Don’t hang wallpaper. Again, this would probably have to be removed when you leave, and scraping off wallpaper is one of my most loathed DIY tasks. And, when you expose the wall beneath, it’ll probably need to be repainted before you can get that deposit back.
- Don’t remove fixtures and fittings. If there’s a carpet that you don’t like, I’m sorry, but you’re kind of stuck with it. If there are already curtains in the apartment, you can take them down, but store them away safely and put them back up when you leave. And moving fitted cabinets or kitchen units is a big no-no.
And now, here are some things that you can do:
- Use removable sticky hooks if you want to hang pictures or, even better, use washitape to stick up posters and photos. I used the Hardwall Takker to hang a gallery wall in my rented home, as this leaves only a pin-prick of a hole in the wall. Again, I’d double-check your tenancy contract to make sure this is okay with your landlord.
- If you like the look of wallpaper and want to create a statement wall in your rented home, how about creating a large wall-hanging with fabric draped over a dowel and sticky-hooked to the wall? It is possible to buy removable sticky wallpaper these days, although I have no idea how well it would come off, or how good the wall would look once you’ve peeled it back, so be prepared to repaint.
- Sort out that grotty carpet with a jolly good clean using a carpet cleaner or steamer. I’d check with my landlord first, just in case it’s the type of carpet that can’t be cleaned (eg. one with Scotchgard treatment), and if so, maybe they’ll agree that it needs replacing? Alternatively, cover up the whole carpet (or lino, laminate or horrid tiles) with a great big rug. I bought a room-sized rug for my last home and turned a brown floor into a lighter, brighter space. Plus, you can take it with you to the next house when you move!
- Jazz up cupboards with sticky vinyl like Anna from Don’t Cramp My Style blog (below). But test it on the back when you first try it, to make sure it can be removed without a problem when you move out. Take care to remove it fully at the end of the tenancy and clean up any residue.
I hope these tips have helped but do have a read of Anna’s tips before your rent and check out Apartment Number 4 for loads more interior design inspiration. Let me know your advice for renting and how you’ve managed to put your personality in your rented home by leaving me a comment below.