There are many positives to renting your home, but also a fair few negatives. One of which is the inability to put your own stamp on a place without violating your tenancy agreement and risking losing your hefty deposit. How is one supposed to create their perfect peaceful summer bedroom without making any alterations to the walls, carpets and in some cases furniture?
Let me help.
The first thing to consider is your tenancy agreement. Read this carefully as it often stipulates what can and cannot be done within your new house or apartment. For example, my current flat came partly furnished (with a table, sofa, bed and wardrobe) it was stated within my tenancy agreement that these furnishings could be replaced but only with those of similar or higher quality and with the permission of my landlady. It was also stipulated in my agreement that I could have a ‘sensible’ number of nails in the wall. Now although I’m not one to determine what would be ‘sensible’, under these circumstances this did open up the possibilities of hanging pictures which is more than can be said for my last apartment. Reading your tenancy agreement gives you the foundations on which to work on and from there you can create a plan of action.
But what if your agreement says that no changes can be made to the foundations of your new home? Well, that’s happened to me too and here’re a few things I did to make my apartment feel like a home without knocking in a single nail, removing any furniture, or changing the hideous colour of the walls or carpets.
- Request unfurnished
If you have a very specific style or just any desire for quality furniture, then the chances are the cheap bedframe and wardrobe your landlord/lady will pick out for you will not be to your liking. Ask for the apartment to be unfurnished and choose the centrepieces of your bedroom yourself. This way you won’t spend the next year or so trying to hide an ugly, cheap piece of furniture but instead can display it proudly and as a bonus, you get to take it with you.
- Coordinate your soft furnishings
Your walls may be an ugly shade of lemon but your bedding and curtains can be a complimentary bright white with a citrus throw and contrasting pillows. Matching your furnishings to those colours in your room that you aren’t in control of and can’t change can help to make it look much more put together.
- Show your personality through your bed linen
Quite often your bed is the centrepiece of your bedroom and the largest display or your personality. Whether you want a peaceful summer bedroom or a loud and proud colour explosion there’s a bedding set to suit you. What’s more, bed linen can be jazzed up to suit your mood, the season and your budget and changed within minutes. With bed covers and linen available from Yorkshire Linen’s web-store for as cheap as £12 for a single and £20 for a double you can have multiple sets and change up your style as and when you feel like it. Now those are prices you’d be hard to beat even in Primark.
- Play with the lighting
My bedroom never truly felt complete until I purchased a lampshade for the sad, solitary low-energy bulb that hung from the ceiling. Not only did it cover this ugly bulb but it took the harshness from the light and diffused it into a much more pleasant soft glow. I personally have always had my eye on these feather lampshades from Dunelm but my new apartment has all recessed light bulbs and so I am going to have to find a lamp to add a feather lampshade too instead. Also, if you find your new bedroom too dark then look at getting a stand-alone lamp for your bedside table or corner of the room to add more light on dull days and to diversify your lighting options.
- Cover the carpet
Depending on your budget and how long you’re planning on renting for there are a few ways to deal with those ugly carpet situations. If your budget allows and you’re planning on staying at the property for a while then its worth liaising with your landlord or lady as to whether you can re-lay a new carpet or hardwood floor. They may even pay for part of it. Alternatively, I’ve seen apartments with a wooden floor or new carpet laid over the top of the old ugly carpet. This looks great at first glance and leaves the original floor unharmed but can be very costly. Not to mention you’d have to take it with you when you leave and it might not be the shape or style you want in your next place. The final and perhaps most realistic option is to get creative with rugs. Laying down a nice and fluffy (my favourite being the sheep-skin rugs from Ikea) or Persian inspired rug can completely change the look of your floor without breaking the bank or violating any agreement, they’re also small enough to roll-up and take with you and will most likely find a place in your next home.
- It’s in the details
Once you’ve covered the carpet, chosen your bed linen and sorted out the lighting the last thing to do is to add those finishing touches. If you can’t hang things on the wall then a stand-alone mirror can brighten a dull corner. Plants also add life to all spaces and once again a tall leafy palm will add colour and a vibrancy without the need to hang imagery on the walls. Lean-to ladder shelves are the perfect space to add nicknacks, little cacti and candles to cover a blank wall space without damaging it (just make sure they’re steady so you don’t have to nail the top into the wall). More details to consider include over the door hangings, stand-alone bookshelves, bedside tables and things to put on them. I found that my brightly coloured Kimono not only hid the back of an ugly door but also brightened that part of the room.
If you’ve just moved into rented accommodation and are going to try any of these tips then let me know in the comments!
*This post was kindly sponsored by Yorkshire Linen, but all recommendations, tips and copy are my own.