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Are you renting somewhere right now? Well, while renting has its upsides (short-ish periods of commitment, someone else being responsible for the boiler and the ability to relocate without selling up first), renting does have its downsides too. The biggest downside, perhaps, is the feeling that you can’t really make it ‘home’ in the same way you would if you owned your house or flat… especially if you ever want to see your security deposit again.
But does this mean you can't create something that begins to resemble your dream home while you're renting?
Not at all! All it takes is a little bit of creativity and a willingness to try something different. If you're feeling inspired, read on to see if any of these interior design hacks could work for you while you're renting...
Changing the carpets is off the cards, but you can invest in beautiful rugs. Not only will a rug protect the carpet underneath (looking after your security deposit), but it'll also cover up old stains and inject some of your own style and personality into your home.
Display artwork and photos
You'll need to be careful how you display artwork and photos (you can't nail anything to the wall or leave blu tac marks, I know), but try to display something you love to look at. You could prop artwork up against a shelf, or display it on a mantelpiece. It will make your rented property feel like it truly belongs to you, and it's certainly more homely than looking a blank wall.
If you've moved into a furnished home, then chances are you aren't going to like all the bits and bobs it's come with. Solve that by throwing on big blankets and fitting them snugly against the form of the furniture so that it disguises an ugly print or a fusty smell.
Fill the room with plants
Lush green plants are a great way to make your rental property come to life: house plants will inject colour and a sense of wellbeing, and flowers will always look beautiful too. Check out someone like @sara_lou_c to see the impact plants can have on an interior, and don't forget you can buy convincing faux flowers and plants if you're the kind of person who tends to forget to water them. And if you're inspired by boho interiors? See how plants and greenery work here.
Make the best use of fabrics
It'd be a shame to overlook the power of textures in your interior, so think about including patterned cushions in your living room and beautiful linen in your bedroom. You can also hang fabric on the wall to act as a kind of wallpaper/art feature, and a cosy blanket thrown over the arm of your sofa really makes a place feel like it's yours to relax in.
Upgrade your window space
The amount of light that’s coming into a room is going to make a big difference to the way your home feels, and your mood too! Carefully remove the current blinds and curtains, storing them somewhere safe (as you'll need to reinstall them when you leave). Then replace the fittings with your own flowy curtains or clean blinds – it probably feels like a lot of faff at the time, but it will look so much nicer and you’ll be glad you bothered to change them.
Consider temporary measures
It's unlikely your landlord is going to let you repaint your rented home (or perhaps they will but at your own cost), so consider temporary decals, decorative screens or – if you’re feeling brave - stick on wallpaper. If you choose a brand that won't rip the paint off, you'll quickly change the look and feel of a room.
Think about your lighting
If you can do so safely, consider removing light fittings and installing your own, carefully stowing away the old ones until it's time to move out. If that's not an option, or you don't feel confident, buy a few key pieces of lighting to make a room feel warm and cosy: floor lamps and desk lamps are a good idea and can make a stark overhead bulb completely redundant once the sun's gone down. Consider stringing up some fairy lights too: they'll look twinkly and attractive across a mantelpiece or headboard.
Buy modular furniture & small pieces you love
Renting can mean moving from property to property, so try to buy pieces of furniture that can adapt to changing spaces: modular sofas are a good idea as you can reconfigure them as you space changes, and so are stylish statement armchairs that reflect your style and are small enough to find space for. IKEA does modular furniture, and folding tables and stackable chairs are a good idea too. Check out this home tour for an example of how clever furniture can make a small space work harder.
So what do you think of these design hacks? Is there anything you do in your rented home that you want to share? I'm all ears.