We’ve all lived in that rented apartment; the landlord wants rent so you are provided with something to sit on, something to sleep & something to wash in!
Majority of the time very little thought consideration has been given to the décor & comfort in general. On other occasions; if you’re one of the lucky ones your landlord that cares and has made efforts to create a pleasant environment. Even in this situation however you find yourself living with someone else’s taste. So how do you make your rented accommodation your home?
First of all, start with approaching your landlord and presenting your thoughts. Would you like to wallpaper or paint a wall? If you have something in mind, show them. They might surprise you; after all it’s to their benefit if you are improving the property.
FEATURE ACCENT WALL
You may say, why would I invest money in place that’s not my own? In this instance I would advise you to look at the length of time you see yourself living there versus the cost per day of your improvements & how much joy it will bring. You might find its money well spent having a beautiful statement wall in your living room/ bedroom that you appreciate every day. It could be anything from a subtle statement to a big one, like having simple shapes marble wallpaper as your feature wall. Some designs of wallpaper have the option to peel and stick your wallpaper so it can be easily removed if it needs to be. It shouldn’t matter how big your statement is, the most important that matters is that you love the way it looks.
If you or your landlord are not amenable to this route there are loads of ways you can express yourself in non-permanent portable manner.
ARTWORK & MIRRORS
On many occasions there is some sort of generic framed prints on the walls in rental accommodation. Take this down & store it carefully in the back of your wardrobe & replace it with something more you. Ikea do great range of frames & prints. The Tiger shop also has frames purposely designed for album covers. Why not display your love of music? Maybe you have some original art that you’ve acquired over the years in anticipation of eventually buying your dream home? Frame it and get it on the wall. Original artwork is something you can always talk yourself out of buying when there are demands of your pocket but it is really simple way to add life to your rented space.
No existing artwork & not allowed to fix to walls? No problem. How about some giant oversized Mirrors leaning against the wall. These will add glamour to any interior. Remember to always try and reflect something pretty.
Oversized artwork leaning against the wall is also a great idea. What a statement to make! You can even layer it if you’re feeling adventurous.
How about updating the light shade on your ceiling fitting? There are some great options out there that are pretty cost effective. Remember though to hold on to the existing shade so that it can be reinstated when you’re leaving.
Table lamps & floor lamps are really your friend in rented accommodation, there’s nothing better to tone down the impact of your garish Green eggs & ham coloured walls, than some well positioned mood lighting. Consider the location & function required for your lighting, low level lighting is always more attractive check out our lighting blog post for more info.
Even the most agreeable of landlords are unlikely to want you messing around with their floor finishes but rugs are your friend. Not only will they add colour & texture to a space, they can also provide an acoustic value and will absorb sound in a space with a lot of hard surfaces. They are a great opportunity to bring your personality to the fore front in your home. Now your only concern is where to get your rugs from, and if you were to pay a visit to Bazaar Velvet, your search for a rug may turn out to be much shorter than initially anticipated.
Ugly couch? Cover it! There are plenty of options out there for throws & cosy couch blankets. My all-time favourite is the Avoca woollen blankets. Perfect for snuggling down in the evening as you binge watch your favourite TV series. Go on, we all do it!!
Cushions can add fun & vibrancy to your home. You can have them personalised to suit you “Home Sweet Apartment” is one I had! Etsy.com is great for all this kind of stuff (they make great gifts also!)
Your cushions can be a nice neutral colour or material that simply adds a nice layer of detail & comfort to the décor.
Chances are your landlord may have graced you place with a wall clock; change it out for something that suits your style more. Check out these options from Bluesuntee.com.
A statement vase is always an easy way to enhance your decor. TK MAXX or IKEA are great for this sort of things.
These are a little difficult to work with but depending on how your curtains are hung you do have the option of replacing your curtains with ready-made ones more suited to your tastes. These can then travel with you to your next abode. Penny’s & IKEA are great for cost effective ready-made curtains.
There is a great opportunity to play with patterns here if you’re brave. Or for the really adventurous you could jump on the ombre trend and dip dye your curtains!
Chances are you are stuck with the furniture you get but there’s no reason why you can’t introduce some of your own pieces to make a statement. Years ago I invested in an Eileen Grey Bibendum chair & it has literally travelled from home to home with me.
Your chair doesn’t have to cost the earth; there are plenty of great options around from the likes of blue sun tree. Etc.
Maybe your dining chairs could be replaced with something cooler? A naff table is always granted forgiveness when it’s rolling with great chairs! You could look into a site like furniture in fashion, to find something like a High Gloss Dining Table And 4 Chairs Sets, if this is what you are after.
Interesting side tables for your bed or living area are compact ways to introduce your own style into the space. A chair makes an unexpected ted bedside table, a stack of books makes for a cool side
Like the floor finishes, it’s a little harder to inject your own taste into the bathroom so why not try an adventurous shower curtain? Treat yourself to luxurious towels; it’s a simple and easy way to feel like you’re living the dream a little! Always have luxury soap, there’s nothing worse than chasing a soap bar around a tiny pedestal sink!
Your bedroom should be your sanctuary, low lighting, good storage (check out Ikea for get portable storage solutions). The most important bedroom item is great bedding. We spend, ( if we’re lucky) 8 hours a day in our beds, so make it count. Debenhams, Dunnes & TK MAXX are great for beautiful bedding. As well as these stores, you could also look into a site like https://www.leesa.com/pages/leesa-vs-casper, where you can compare the best mattresses on the market. This way, you are able to make the best decision and add something new to your bedroom.
Other elements which will add to the overall experience within your home will be the little things. Consider investing in some kitchen wares that speak of you. There’s nothing like a beautiful wine glass to make you feel fabulous (I would advise wine in it of course)
A quirky teapot or kettle is an easy fun way to inject personality into your home.
Finally before you carry out any works aim to get rid of what you don’t want/need of your own belongings. The more stuff you have the less space you have to live in. Be realistic about your budget & what it will buy but other than that….. now go forth & beautify!
Written by Aoife Rhattigan, Creative Director at RESTLESS DESIGN_ & Presenter of RTE’s Design Doctors.
RESTLESS DESIGN_ can help you with your refurbishment project.
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