Make your home your castle
How do I give my rented home personality?
The ways to add individuality to a rented home are pretty similar to those for a property you own. Painting walls or replacing light fittings might be out but there’s plenty that can be done — easily and on a budget — to personalise a space without wrecking your relationship with a landlord. Book, books and more books. Book displays — on the floor, coffee table, beside the bed, on a stand in the kitchen — are no-brainers. Books make a home feel warmer and more welcoming. Art. If you can’t hang it, prop it against walls or on a mantel, line it up on shelving, stick it up with removable washi tape or create framed displays on occasional tables. And while you are at it, consider displaying your hobby. Music stands and instruments, paintings in progress, a handmade quilt, perfume bottles displayed glamorously on mirrored trays, even massed cookbooks are the proper definition of meaningful decorator accents. Travel plans. Creating a travel “story” on a corkboard or bulletin board is a creative way of sharing life’s details. Pin postcards, mementoes, maps, photos, etc. Travel not your thing? Display invitations and calendars; cute notes and inspirational quotes; shopping lists and family photos. It’s not what you put up but the relevance it has to you that creates the interest — both for you and for visitors. Decorate the sofa. Feather your nest — and don’t waste money on the cheap stuff. Good cushions — quality fabrics, feather inners — can be relatively expensive but they are never a waste of money, adding comfort, colour and texture. Consider the senses. Scented candles, potted plants and flowers are obvious mood-makers. But don’t be stingy. Most things are more compelling when massed. Pick one spot for flowers; one for a few candles and then move the displays around as they are replaced. Ditch the overheads. You might not be able to change the pendants but you can definitely add personality with table lamps. If the budget is tight, consider inexpensive seed lights (wire-strung LEDs) — arrange them in glass vases, wind them into wreaths, hang them on foliage, wind them around a table centrepiece. Few people are too old for fairy lights. Build up the colour. Colour is perhaps the best way of showing your individuality. Throws, rugs, cushions, furniture: layer them to add a sense of permanence to your temporary space. Get styling. You’ll find no end of advice on how to create decor vignettes — essentially a collection of personal objects such as lamps, books and vases displayed on a tabletop or mantel. Odd numbers of items work better than even, vignettes always look best with at least one natural item, and be mindful of creating depth with different heights.
Not allowed to paint the walls? Paint furniture instead to tie it in with the decor of a rented home. Wallpaper by Cole & Son.