How to decorate a rental (without losing your deposit)

Anyone who has ever tried to decorate a rental apartment or house knows it is quite a challenge to make it completely to your taste. Not too bad if you’re only going to live there briefly, but if you are planning to stay longer term, then what do you do? Today I am sharing some great ideas on how to decorate a rental without making your landlord go mad.

HOW TO DECORATE YOUR RENTALWITHOUT LOSING YOUR DEPOSIT

Decorate a rental: from magnolia to magnificent

Rules about decorating rentals vary per country, as in the Netherlands, where most rentals are unfurnished, it is usually OK to paint walls. You are usually allowed to change other things around the house, as long as it’s put back to what it was before. If it is improving the place somehow you may be able to negotiate a discount on a month’s rent. Laying new flooring for example.

In Britain I have seen that many rentals are furnished and have magnolia (ugh) walls and often are a bit trickier to make you feel at home. In Spain, where we recently moved to, we were lucky to find a house that was unfurnished, which again is not always the case – many rentals are full of other people’s stuff. Unfurnished meant that at least all our own furniture could move in too. But how much can you change in terms of wall colours….hanging pictures, the look of the kitchen and bathroom?

Here are a few tips and ideas on how to jazz up that rental without losing your deposit!


Removable wallpaper to decorate your rental

I have not tried this, but I have heard these wallpapers are as easy to put up as they are to take back down again. Doesn’t this wall look amazing? The shop Betapet on Etsy sells a fantastic collection of self adhesive wallpapers in a wide range of patterns and prints, from subtle geometrics to bold florals.

Removable wallpaper botanical
removable wallpaper chevron


Tile decals to decorate your rental

Nothing worse than ugly dated tiles in the kitchen or bathroom, to clash with any nice modern kitchenware or towels you may own. There are many companies nowadays selling tile stickers, self adhesive and easy to stick on and take back off. HomeArtStickers on Etsy has hundreds of different stickers for both floor and wall tiles, so take your pick.

Decorate rental ideas
tile stickers kitchen

Curtains…and using fabric as wall covering

Don’t like the curtains in your rental? Fold them up nicely and store them away. Replace them with your own. Job done. But have you ever thought about using fabric as wall covering? Yes! Attaching fabric to the wall can be done in a variety of renter-friendly ways: staple gun, upholstery tacks, upholstery strips, liquid starch and some drawing pins to name a few. When it is time to move out, simply remove the fabric and take it with you. Check out this blog by Sincerely, Sara D, where you can find a handy tutorial on how to DIY a fabric wall.

fabric wall tutorial

Decorate your rental with Washi tape

I have seen this done on Pinterest and I love how versatile this stuff is. You can decorate virtually anything with washi tape and it doesn’t leave any damage. Create a confetti wall, a chevron pattern, words, lines, mountain shapes, the options are endless. Decorate walls, but don’t forget the doors, the edges of shelves, the back of cupboards or create ‘picture frames’ with the tape. In kids rooms you can really go to town with this stuff. How about a house? Or a road? Or a bear? With the geometric trend still going strong, your rental flat will look very modern in a flash. To find washi tape try your favourite stationary shop for some or order them in sets from Etsy.

mural-de-quadros-emoldurados-com-washi-tape.jpg
washi tape kids room
washi tape door decoration

Change the light shades in your rental

You probably thought of this one yourself, but if not, go and change out your light shades. We arrived in an unfurnished house in Spain, which meant bare wires hanging from the ceiling, so we have to do even more than just changing out a shade (!), but mostly you’ll find dusty old shades or other light fittings that are easily replaceable while you are living there. A nice shade can really set the mood for a room, so pick wisely to make an impact. Try Artisanti for some elegant, quality lighting.


Decorate your rental: Cover the floor

Cream carpet? Ugly tiles? Invest in a nice big rug to cover that up. Check Kukoon for some regular offers and free delivery in the UK.

vintage distressed rug


Self adhesive picture hooks

You may find a few conveniently placed screws in the walls of your rental already, in which case, just hang up your framed artwork straight away. If not, and the landlord doesn’t want you to add any more holes to the walls, try heavy duty self adhesive hooks.

Self adhesive picture hooks
animal prints for kids room

Happy rental decorating!

What inspired me this week: simplicity, texture and botanical wall art

Autumn is here and it seems everyone has got the de-clutter and home-making bug. Have you noticed? It is obviously time to get cosy inside again. I love looking at interiors that make me feel calm, such as this gorgeous room by Australian designers Doherty Design Studio in Melbourne. Beautiful textures, monochrome palette and timeless furniture create a peaceful space. Botanical wall art and house plants are also key ingredients.

I love how the mustard colour is repeated in the picture. And a fiddle leaf fig tree is always a winner.

These pictures are taken in my own home. The pottery is part of the stock I am gathering for my upcoming pop-up store Vintage Haus. This is a Scottish pottery jug and a coffee pot in one of my favourite midcentury designs ‘Chevron’ by Denby. I still need to find more things to add to the shop collection, but it is a nice start.

Botanics are very much on trend right now and as I love a bit of green, I created a little corner with a print and a vintage globe. I found this piece of botanical wall art on canvas in a home decor boutique in the Netherlands recently.

Our bedroom has an ever growing gallery wall. Blue is a great calming colour for the bedroom, so I try to stick to that with the artworks, which are a mix of cheap carboot sale finds, photographs and an abstract acrylic painting I made myself.

What inspired you this week?

What inspired me this week: simplicity, texture and botanical accents

Autumn is here and it seems everyone has got the declutter and home-making bug. Have you noticed? It is obviously time to get cosy inside again. I love looking at interiors that make me feel calm, such as this gorgeous room by Australian designers Doherty Design Studio in Melbourne. Beautiful textures, monochrome palette and timeless furniture create a peaceful space.

I love how the mustard colour is repeated in the picture. And a fiddle leaf fig tree is always a winner.

These pictures are taken in my own home. The pottery is part of the stock I am gathering for my upcoming pop-up store Vintage Haus. This is a Scottish pottery jug and a coffee pot in one of my favourite midcentury designs ‘Chevron’ by Denby. I still need to find more things to add to the shop collection, but it is a nice start.

Botanics are very much on trend right now and as I love a bit of green, I created a little corner with a print on canvas and a vintage globe.

Our bedroom has an ever growing gallery wall. Blue is a great calming colour for the bedroom, so I try to stick to that with the artworks, which are a mix of cheap carboot sale finds, photographs and an abstract acrylic painting I made myself.

What inspired you this week?

Tan leather sofas, my new found love.

Maybe it’s the Spring in the air, maybe it’s the fact that I’ve been sitting on the same boring black sofa for years now (my husband “bought it for life” when he was still a bachelor, so I said we could keep it for a bit longer…), but I fancy a change. Not a life change, a sofa change. Normally I would choose a fabric one, either wool or linen, but with two cats and a toddler I think leather is probably not a bad idea. So I’ve been browsing – yes you guessed it – Pinterest, and here’s some pictures of beauties I wanted to share with you today.

Tan leather seems to mix with quite a few colour schemes and styles, whether contemporary, retro or classic. I also love the mix of grey walls and tan leather, combined with some ethnic accent cushions. Natural wooden floors and kelim wool rugs combine well too.

Gorgeous vintage leather sofa and chair with great contemporary art and natural floor boards (http://pinterest.com/pin/486881409685166222/)
I love the graphic rug, ethnic cushions and metal side tables in this picture. A white backdrop is perfect to make the colours pop. http://pinterest.com/pin/486881409685166213/
Lovely retro sofa against a grey wall with art display. Great bog floor cushion too. http://pinterest.com/pin/486881409685166220/
Wonderful big artworks behind this beauty. Looks like a cosy sofa to snuggle up in with those cushions http://pinterest.com/pin/486881409685166217/
Beautiful simple shape, not too bulky and a adding great warmth to the deep grey back wall. http://pinterest.com/pin/486881409685104938/
Great retro room with this tan sofa, grey wall and purple accessories http://pinterest.com/pin/562105597210729702/