House & Home: 10 tips for decorating your rented home

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I’ve dedicated today’s House & Home post to sharing a few tips for decorating your rented accommodation. I’ve lived in lots of rented accommodation since my university days and I’ve realised that making them feel comfortable and cosy is very important. The idea for this post came to mind after I shared my top life tips for anyone moving out for the first time.

It’s easy to push decorating your rented space to one side, I know I can be guilty of that from time to time. I’ve often said ‘when I buy somewhere I’ll do X or invest in Y‘ but then I give myself a good kick and remember that I need to make my current space comfortable and a pleasure to be in. Making the effort to change your rented living space into a home can play a huge part in your happiness levels.

Right, let’s get into the list:

Mirrors: A couple of mirrors around the flat/house will help to create the illusion of space and bring more light into the room. This is a particularly useful trick if you’re in a small flat. I’m a big fan of oversized mirrors, the kind you can get away with leaning against the bedroom wall, unless you have small children. 

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 17.14.10Image from Ikea

Rugs: This is a very important one. A good quality rug will bring comfort into your home and also help to cover up a dull carpet or old laminate flooring.

Painting: If the paint job is bad (dark and dull) then go ahead and ask the landlord if you can give it a refresh. If you can, then keep it simple and go for something neutral and light to really open up the space. If you can’t paint the walls then don’t worry. Think about painting some of your furniture. The Dulux Decorator Centre is packed full of everything you’ll need to restore old and boring furniture. My friend Sophie recently completed a fun upcyclying project to create more storage and seating in her rented home.

Yankee Candle: Pure Essence

Candles: This is a very simple idea. Using candles to create a warming or relaxed atmosphere in your home can make it very welcoming. At the moment I’m enjoying Fig Tree from Orla Kiely, Shea Butter from Yankee Candle and during the winter months and I like anything with a bit of orange and spice. If you haven’t tried the Woodwick candles then make sure you change that this autumn.

– Invest in quality items: I’m not talking about the big things but more in terms of coffee tables, bedside tables, TV stand, draws and desks. These items will often transition nicely into your first home and if they don’t you can sell them on to someone else. I always think it’s better to invest a little more money into quality items so that you don’t have to buy twice.

Beautiful bedding: This is one of my favourite ways to make my bedroom feel homely. I would suggest going for neutral colours. I personally like white bedding and then brighten things up with colourful toppers and cushions.

Throws: If your rented accommodation has an old sofa in (like mine) then you’ll want to do this. I have about 4 different throws (2 for winter and 2 for summer). I alternate between these throughout the year and it really makes sitting on the sofa much more comfortable.


Flowers: This is a very obvious but often overlooked tip. A bunch of your favourite flowers in a vase will really brighten up a room. At the moment I really like sunflowers and tulips.

Kitchen accessories: A cheerful mug for your morning cuppa and a good quality kettle will go a long way in your rented home. Investing in quality will also mean that these items will move on with you to your next rental or even your forever home.

Decals: This isn’t a personal favourite of mine but I know it’s one a lot of people use. Decals are stickers for walls. They’re easy to remove and don’t damage the wall, basically they’re landlord friendly. I think these are particularly fun if you have small children and want to brighten up their bedroom. Bouf have a good selection of wall decals.

Finally, I know it’s hard but try not to collect too much stuff. Do regular charity shop runs and let someone else enjoy the things you no longer use.

Unless you plan on staying in the same place for a very long time then I don’t suggest investing too much money into changing the base decor, even if your landlord allows you too. Put that money aside for when you buy your first home.

How do you put your stamp on rented accommodation?