What I have learnt… 3 top tips to decorating and renting

Moving to London is packed with all kinds of life lessons, and one of the biggest is finding a place to call home. As an experienced renter and mover (9 times as of writing this!), I have selected 3 main tips for making a place home even when it is a temporary stay, and thought to share them with you.

Read them below…

Small changes make a big difference.

Replacing small fittings, such as cupboard knobs, lampshades and door handles that can seem permanent fixtures can make a huge difference and breathe new life into tired fittings.

Our flat is a mid-20th Century building, and the built-in features show their age. The handles were dated and made the cupboards look dull. We bought these cast iron handles from Yester Home and changed all of the pulls. I just unscrewed the handles, filled the holes where needed and painted the repair and voila! They look as good as new!

Changing them is easy, and you can always revert back to the originals if your landlord asks you to before moving.

Before and After changing the cupboard handles. Much better!
Ta dah! A simple upgrade, a HUGE improvement.
A playful leather pulls for our son’s wardrobe

Another common offender in UK rentals is cheap, old lampshades. There are plenty of companies that offer stylish, affordable lampshades in every style; changing them immediately refreshes a room.

Extra tip: Safely store the original handles and lampshades to put back if asked by your landlord.

It’s all about communication

Setting a good tone of communication with your landlord or agent from the day you move in makes life easier. Make a detailed list of everything in the flat when you move in and report all the items that show signs of damage. This covers your back when you move out and opens the conversation to ask about how much you can decorate or change things in the place.

Any reasonable landlord will be happy to allow a caring tenant make decorative changes if this will make their stay more comfortable and stay for longer.

I always ask to decorate walls and hanging art and reassure them that I will make good any holes in the wall when moving out.

Made to last and to work hard

Many friends tell me they will not spend money on furniture when they rent. But I ask: why not? Most furniture pieces can go with you when you move, and if they are good quality, they will last!

Our first big purchase for our home was our sofa. We had suffered through enough uncomfortable, ugly, old sofas and it was a main concern of my husband to have a comfortable place to watch TV. For me, it was about the look and storage.

Our requirement was for a sofa that would be multi-use and comfortable

We invested in a sofa from Sofa.com that doubles as a guest bed, storage, and seats us comfortably. It looks good and works hard. We spent a little extra for a piece to last that can be re-upholstered when it starts looking tired.

The rest of the living room pieces were selected and laid out around it.

We brought pieces from our previous semi-furnished flat. Those careful purchases fitted in the other rooms and saved us having to completely furnish a home from scratch.

My first furniture purchase. The Ghost chair. It has followed me on every move.

My first furniture purchase has moved with me 8 times!

Extra tip: If you are unsure of where to begin with decorations, a great start is to get PLANTS! Plants bring life, calmness and warmth to a home. They constantly grow and change, adding interest to a room.

My small plant collection at its beginnings.
It keeps growing!

BONUS!

I couldn’t resist adding one more tip to the list.

Along with furniture, the main item every household needs is a decent toolbox. Start with a basic set of tools and slowly add to it. You can make small repairs and maintenance work around your home without needing to ring a handyman!

Next, add sample pots of paint matching your wall colours to make small repairs.

My first tool-set was the IKEA box and I have built on it over the years. So many things can be fixed with a screwdriver, hammer and drill!

So there you have it, my top tips for renters.

Click here for my interview with Jessica de Velazquez from Interiors by Jessica where I talk about my tips and more.Click here for the cupboard handles.

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