From magnolia walls to that one IKEA wardrobe everyone owned as a student, there are a lot of things that can make a rented home feel like a temporary space.
But you don’t need to own your property to make your place feel homely, and with more of us spending time inside, there’s never been a better time to make some updates.
While you’ll need permission from your landlord to do things like painting the walls or updating the floors, there are ways to get Insta-worthy interiors without wasting your cash.
Whether you’re renting a room or a whole house, we’ve found some temporary hacks for sprucing up your space without breaking the bank…
1. Hang some artwork
A few well-placed frames can really transform a room. If your rented home has white walls, artwork can add a punch of colour without the need to bargain with your landlord about re-painting.
Make sure you read your contract to find out if you’re allowed to put nails in your walls; if not, you could try Command picture hanging strips, which are ideal for hanging framed photos without causing damage to your walls. Or, you could simply prop your art on a side table, for a relaxed aesthetic that won’t put your deposit at risk.
2. Pot some plants
Scattering leafy green plants around your home can fill a lifeless rented pad with the kind of positive feng shui energy we all need right now. Studies have found that plants can help to reduce stress levels while you’re working from home – plus, some varieties naturally purify the air around you.
If you’re new to the world of gardening, we recommend looking at aloe vera, English ivy and snake plants; three hardy varieties that are fairly low-maintenance and easy to care for.
Your local garden centre is a great place to find inspiration and advice.
3. Lay down some rugs
Is there anything worse than moving into a flat that has a funky carpet that should have been left in the Eighties? While you won’t be able to rip it out and sand up the floorboards below, you can cover a multitude of flooring sins with some well placed rugs.
We like Made.com’s Bodhi Wool Handtuft Rug (prices start from €299, made.com) which can lend an abstract, modernist vibe to even the most dated carpets. If you’ve got a really busy pattern going on, you might want to cover it with something neutral, like H&M Home’s Textured-weave Wool Rug.
4. Throw in some textiles
Whether you love colour or are a fan of monochrome interiors, you’ll have probably heard interiors experts talk about the importance of textiles. Fabrics can add warmth and texture to a rental space, and they can also cover up a dodgy sofa that your landlord is reluctant to update.
Invest in throws and blankets with natural fibres, like linen and merino wool, to bring depth to your interiors. You could experiment with different patterns and weaves, too. Layering different textures through the use of cushions and curtains can bring loads of personality to your home, without too much effort.
5. Photo frames add a personal touch
Whether its an unloved hallway or a living room that needs some cheer, a few photo frames with pictures of friends and family can make your house feel a lot more welcoming.
Photos of good times can spark memories and bring you joy, and we like Oliver Bonas’ Aurora Green Glass Stars Photo Frame for spreading some good vibes.
6. Get some one-off furniture
Nothing screams ‘rented flat’ more than popular IKEA furniture. From Lack tables and Billy bookcases to Malm dressers, flatpack furniture has a time and place, but it’s often a staple of rented flats.
Updating your furniture is a good way to change your space, and you don’t have to break to bank to get some unique pieces either. Online marketplaces like Ebay (ebay.co.uk) and Shpock (shpock.com) are a great place to look for cheap vintage items, and Gumtree has furniture going for rock-bottom prices too. If you’re really tight on cash, you could also try Freecycle (freecycle.org), a grassroots movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns.
7. Vinyl your surfaces
OK, so you can’t exactly rip out a dated kitchen when you’re renting, but you can use removable vinyl to add a more modern colour or pattern to your units.
We like JesRose Vinyl (jesrose.co.uk), which has a massive variety of patterned vinyl options for covering everything from furniture and walls to backsplashes, cupboards and bath panels. The vinyl itself is really easy to apply and simply peels off when you’re ready to move out.
Try it in small areas that lack personality, and if you’re unsure where to start, the brand’s Instagram (@jesrosevinyl) is a great place to find before and after inspiration.