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  • Zoë Knight

How to make your rented house feel more like a home


You don't have to own your house to make it your home.

Photo by Tony Brown Photography


For many, the prospect of owning a home is a far-off dream. With property prices soaring, especially in the capital, more and more people are renting, but this doesn't have to mean you have nowhere to call home.


It's true that being a tenant comes with its drawbacks and limitations in terms of decorating and renovating, and you may feel like you've got little control on how to make your personal space reflect your individuality, but, we've got just the advice for you.


While knocking down walls and changing the blueprints of a rental is out of the question, some landlords will allow individual walls to be painted with the agreement that they are repainted to their original colour once the tenancy ends. If painting seems daunting, temporary wallpapers or adhesive decals are an easy alternative and can be peeled back in a flash, leaving walls unblemished.



Including items such as a beautifully upholstered chair or a retro console can instantly freshen up a room without compromising on space. So invest in at least one or two statement pieces of furniture which will bring instant wow factor to your home.


Open, free-standing shelving is a must for any renter as it doesn't require wall mounting and takes up relatively little space. Ladder A-line shelving is particularly on trend at the moment. As well as offering practical storage, these compact shelves offer a perfect platform for arty accents and other treasured mementos.



Make use of unloved nooks and crannies by styling them as Insta-worthy vignettes that serve multiple purposes. A vacant fireplace can be easily styled with vases or books for a stunning display, while an unused recess under the stairs complete with beanbags and cosy cushions can become a mini reading station for the kids.


Freshening up your soft furnishings is one of the quickest ways to make your mark in a rented house or flat. Experiment with the latest trends via new cushions, rugs and bedding, all of which can be easily and inexpensively switched out when you fancy a change. You can afford to flirt with more adventurous styles with small ticket items that are easily updated.


Not everyone wants a home that looks as though it has leapt from the pages of a catalogue but almost everyone has a hack to share. Assess tired or nondescript furniture and consider whether it can be customised to suit your personal taste. A boring basket can become a bespoke side table when a round tray is fixed to it, while old dining chairs can easily be given the ombre effect if you dip their legs in paint.


Photography and wall art can make a huge impact on a room, adding that all-important stamp of a life well lived. Position frames in various heights to add interest and draw the eye around a room. If hanging frames is forbidden by the landlord and removable hooks too worrisome, try layering frames on different surfaces or even leaning them against the wall for a quick, easy-to-switch-out display.



ZOË KNIGHT INTERIORS

Penny Cottage, Farthing Street Downe

West Kent Greater London, BR6 7JB

all images by either Lewis & Wood or Tony Brown Photography