Living the Rented Life

Are you renting whilst saving up for your dream home deposit? Typically, our clients tend to be homeowners who are in the process of renovating their very own dream home. But, interior design is not restricted to homeowners. Interior design for renting can be just as achievable.

The road to buying your forever home is not always straight forward. The property market is incredibly volatile (especially at the moment), and it’s not usually as easy as choosing to save up and then buying straight away. It also doesn’t mean that renters should be forced to live with an interior that they aren’t happy with!

Even in rented properties, our interiors should reflect our personalities. In 2020 it was recorded that there were almost 4.5 million homes in the UK occupied by private renters, which amounted to almost 20% of all dwellings. When you couple those figures with the necessity to make a house feel like a home, you can tell why renters can often feel disconnected with where they’re living. 

Interior Design by Keyhole Interiors | Photography by Kathryn Taylor
Interior Design by Keyhole Interiors | Photography by Kathryn Taylor

Yes, you can quite easily go on a spending spree in a desperate attempt to bring in furniture and decorative items that speak to you, but sometimes furniture just isn’t enough! The key is to know how to make effective choices which doesn’t waste your hard-earned money, without making drastic or irreversible changes which could upset your landlord. This is where we come in!

If you’re looking to spruce up your rented space, which perhaps goes beyond hanging up photos on the walls, have a read of our industry top tips below to get started. Once you’re ready to bite the bullet, why not give us a call to do all the hard work for you?

Before you get started:

  • Check your tenancy agreement – check the wording of your agreement to see whether your landlord has stipulated if they will allow redecoration. It is also worth checking how much of the cost they would be willing to cover if the home is in desperate need of maintenance. 
  • Maintain communication – healthy communication with your landlord is absolutely key. Have an upfront conversation, outlining all of your interior design plans for your rental from the offset for the best results. If you’re thinking big and expect your proposed changes will affect the fabric of the building in any way then disclose this from the off, discuss potential changes, and make sure that you get approval (back this up in writing to be extra sure!).
Interior Design by Keyhole Interiors | Photography by Kathryn Taylor
Interior Design by Keyhole Interiors | Photography by Kathryn Taylor

Key interior design features for renters to tackle:

  • Neutrals – it goes without saying that landlord and landladies prefer neutral colours. They are inoffensive, usually to everyone’s taste and easy to maintain. If you’re limited to a neutral backdrop, you can layer the space with other colours. This doesn’t need to be bright and garish choice; just enough to counterbalance against the neutral.  
  • Comfort – This swiftly brings us on to our next point: carefully consider your soft furnishings in your rented home. As Andrew Buchanan says in House & Garden’s article, ‘Don’t underestimate the power of cushions. They can instantly add flashes of colour to a space and make it feel more homely’. 
Interior Design by Keyhole Interiors | Photography by Kathryn Taylor
Interior Design by Keyhole Interiors | Photography by Kathryn Taylor
  • Investment – as we mentioned earlier, if you’re saving up for your forever home, you can’t afford to waste money on buying new furniture for every move. Instead, we can help you to choose investment pieces which will last forever, and can make the move with you. This will also give you less to do when you do eventually move into your permanent home! 
  • Elevate – it’s amazing how some small changes can really impact the feel of a space. Take windows for example. Elevate the space by simply changing your curtains (length, fabric and print), the curtain rail and the windowsill ornaments. Try looking at a room through a fresh pair of eyes. How would a visitor into your room feel in this space? This can take some practice, but can really help when trying to identify where a room falls short. 
  • The details – one of the quickest and cheapest ways to liven up your rented space is through the fixtures and fittings. This is often forgotten about, but updating handles and door knobs throughout is the easiest way to elevate a room. As Abbie de Bunsen says ‘Ironmongery is like jewellery and can upgrade the feel of the whole space’.

Looking for interior design rental inspiration?

Here are a handful of our favourite Instagram interior design influencers who also just so happen to be renters. Take a look at their rented spaces for added inspiration.

  • Grillo Designs

Grillo Designs, run by Medina Grillo, is all about upcycling and turning pre-loved items into useful yet beautiful pieces. The idea behind the Grillo Designs ethos is to prevent spending unnecessarily on furnishings which later have to be discarded. Medina’s home is beautiful; see for yourself over on Instagram, or visit the Grillo website here

  • Fabric of my Life

Kate’s journey of renting a home in Cheshire is all documented on her website which she’s been using since 2009. Kate’s home is filled with aesthetically pleasing pieces, put together effortlessly. She also has a separate account (@fabricofthenorth) for advocating Northern independent businesses (which we absolutely love!) You can find out more about Kate over on Instagram, or on the Fabric of my Life website here

  • Emma Jane Palin

Emma may be moving into her own home very soon, but she has rented for years and blogged about her rental struggles extensively. Emma has an incredibly eclectic style, and she demonstrates that it is possible to make a rented house reflect your personal style. We would really recommend you check out her website which can be found here, and find her over on Instagram.

If you’re a renter and you’d like to find out more about how we could help you to create your very own renter’s paradise, get in touch with us today. 

To see more from our previous projects, take a look over at our portfolio. You can also keep up with what we’re doing on our social media channels: follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.


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