Make your home your cas­tle

How do I give my rented home per­son­al­ity?

Weekend Herald - Canvas - - CONTENTS - Tracey Strange

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.

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