New lease of life: how to make your rental feel like home

According to the latest census, “generation rent” is on the rise. Home ownership over the past decade has fallen with 5m households now private renting. Meanwhile, estate agent Chestertons has seen 8% more tenants go on viewings and 13% more new agreed tenancies this January – compared to the same time last year.

With property prices continuing to spiral, more of us are becoming long-term renters – even settling down and raising families in these borrowed homes. For some, it can be tricky toeing the line of how to put your stamp on your rental without permanently changing fittings, fixtures and décor.

That said, according to Amy Cutmore at Ideal Home, it is not as hard as you might think: “Some landlords won’t allow any permanent changes to be made to their property. Others are happy to allow rooms to be repainted or even wallpapered – but don’t be surprised if they ask for approval or pattern. Either way, there are plenty of ways to add personality to your space, and make the starkest of spaces feel like home.”

So, if you’re stuck in a rut over your rental décor, here are our top tips for giving your space a much-needed refresh:

Flexible furniture
When it comes to furniture, multifunctional is the way to go. Space-savvy solutions offer renters a practical way to furnish and decorate an apartment without things feeling too cluttered. It’s also more budget-friendly to pick a few solid pieces of furniture you really love, rather than packing in as many items as you can.

Clever pieces such as hidden storage in stools, shelving that doubles as a desk, a sofa bed for guests and mirrors with hanging space – are all great for maximising every square inch of the home.

Transform your walls
The walls of a rental property can often feel clinical and stark. While some might like this minimal aesthetic, it doesn’t always lend itself to a cosy and homely feel.

Before you do anything, it’s always worth checking with your landlord who may allow you to paint. Otherwise, look for things like removable wallpaper and decals, or use command strips to hang artwork, photographs and wall hangings; a few simple ways to add a splash of colour and bring walls to life without the permanency of paint.

For contemporary (and affordable) prints and posters, try Paper Collective and The Poster Club.

What CAN you change?
Pay attention to the things that can be changed, rather than what can’t. A statement rug, easy-fit lamps and sumptuous textiles – all these small changes can together make a big impact. Adding colour, texture and layers will provide personality and a comfortable, lived-in appearance.

Green up your gaff
Biophilic design is a trend we just can’t get enough of – let’s face it, you can never have enough houseplants. Filling your home with nature and greenery will keep it fresh and thriving. Potted plants, whether they be faux or real (try Patch or Happy Houseplants), are easy to move and work in any décor and style of home – so they really are worth the investment.

Beautify your outdoors
Extend your home by making the most of any outdoor space available. Whether it’s front of house, a small balcony or shared yard, adorn with planters and a bistro set to enjoy breakfasts or evening sundowners. Your home won’t feel as cramped if you have a little outdoor oasis to escape to when the weather allows.

Want more ideas? Follow author of My Sweet Rented Home, Medina Grillo on Instagram, or check out her brilliant website which offers a whole host of how-to tips for modern renters.