How to make your rental feel like a home

Living in a rental home can often feel impersonable and lack the real reflection of the person living in it. Many rental spaces have blank white walls, limited decor touches and without prior written agreement with your landlord, you can't paint the place, hang anything off the walls or get rid of any furniture.

However all is not lost. I am going to show you how to decorate your rental space so not only will you be able to make a house a home, but also get your deposit back!

1. Work with what you’ve got

Before you head out to IKEA, assess what you already have. Is your space carpeted or has it got solid wood floors? Painted walls with some pre-existing hooks? Are there existing shelves up in alcoves and do you have ample storage for all your things? Can you move the furniture around in the room to create more space, or even divide the space up to create a reading nook or a zen yoga area? Be creative, think outside the box and try to re-use as much of what is already there. Once you have assessed the basics, you can start thinking about adding decor touches to compliment the space.

2. Rugs

Katie Martinez Design Styling: Kendra Smoot Photography: María Esme del Río

If you aren’t loving the existing floor covering, a quick way to update the space is by layering the floor with a rug or two. Rugs are a great way to refresh a space - they’re high impact and low maintenance. You can pick up some fairly affordable ones from the highstreet (link here to the full rental shop).

3. Soft furnishings - cushions, throws, bedding

I often find a great way to bring a whole room together is by choosing soft furnishings that compliment the rest of the decor. Cushions and throws go a long way in your living space, and work well in a bedroom too. Choose a lovely bed linen and don’t forget display cushions here too. You can even add a throw to just drape over the end of your bed or a chair in the corner to create your cosy reading nook.

4. Standing decor - mirrors, art, plants

Hanging things on the wall the wall is not the only way to decorate your space. Why not stand your wall art leaning on the floor or on a bookshelf or mantel. You could get a free standing mirror & prop it up against a wall - I much prefer this than hanging them anyways. Plants are another great way of bringing some life into a room. Not only do they help clean the air but they could add some interest in a forgotten corner.

5. Small multi-functional furniture pieces

If you need to get some extra storage space into your room, buy some small furniture pieces which can double up as decorative too. A coat rack and rail is great to add some much needed wardrobe space, and if you neatly display some of your best pieces of clothing, you can make it look good too. Need a step-stool to reach those extra storage boxes above the wardrobe? Why not buy one that look good so you can keep it out as a decorative piece too?. A storage trunk is another great practical piece, but can double up as a seat / side table too.

6. Stick on Wallpaper & murals

This seems to be the latest decor trend and I can see why - they’re so easy to put up but take down. I have never been a fan of wallpaper, but with these new modern prints, I am loving how people are using them to create more of a feature wall and mural.

7. Light it up

Most rentals come with limited lighting options. Why not spruce up your ceiling pendant light with a new shade. If this isn’t an option, add a standing floor lamp or some nice side table lamps with dimmer switches instead. This allows you to direct the light to suit your mood. Switch to a low light for when you want to practice some Yin yoga, or turn the brightness up for some reading time before bed.

8. Speak to your Landlord

If you really want to hang that poster or paint those drab magnolia walls, why not ask your landlord? You might be surprised. If you offer to repaint a whole room, it saves them from doing it in the future. The worst they can do is say no. You could also agree to do what you like to the place as long as you return things to their original state when you leave. Just make sure you get any agreement in writing before you make any changes.

Shop my the full look here.