Interior Design Tips for Making your Rental Property Feel like Home – Without Upsetting the Landlord.

Cosy well decorated flat.

When we don’t own the spaces we live in, the tendency is to think that there’s no point in spending time and money on making them feel like home.  This can be particularly true when you’re on a short-term lease or have plans to relocate in the near future.


Regardless of how long we intend to be living in a particular space, however, bringing little touches of personality and expression into it can work wonders in making us feel more settled and content.  What’s more, there are plenty of ways you can go about achieving it – without risking your deposit.


Below is a list of some of the easier and most cost-effective ways you can add little personalised details into your rented scheme.


First thing’s First – Always Check with the Owner of the Property


Different landlords have differing rules on what can and can’t be done.  Talk to them before you make any concrete plans.  If you’re unsure of repercussions and there’s no mention of particular points in your contract, ask them to write it down for your reference – you wouldn’t want a misunderstanding to cost you your deposit.



Most landlords probably wouldn’t take too kindly to their pristine, newly-painted walls being painted over or pocked with pinholes, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things you can do…


  • Temporary wallpaper or contact paper – Several types of temporary wallpaper are on  the market these days, most of which are available in a dizzying number of designs and patterns and colours.  A lot come with a peel-and-stick method of application, which not only allows for easy removal but provides the option of repositioning them whenever you like.


  • Self-adhesive tiles – It may feel like your bathroom or kitchen is off limits when it comes to the walls, given that any change would usually mean a big financial outlay.  Luckily, self-adhesive tiles pose no such problem – and if you really like them, you can take them with you when you leave.


  • Artwork and framed pictures –You needn’t bash holes in the walls to get your favourite piece of art or family photo on display.  Command Strips and similar products allow things to be hung without the need for nails or other attachments.  Another alternative is to tilt and layer them on a shelf or other horizontal surface against the wall.




Along with electrical fittings, the floor of your property is up there with the trickiest when it comes to adding a hint of personal flare, but there are still options worth considering…


  • Rugs – Carpets can easily get dirty and the colour could be one that is not your cup of tea, whereas tiled and lino floors can feel a little impersonal and traditional wooden ones a little cold.  If this is true, a rug could be just what you need.  As much an insurance policy against accidental stains as they are a potential fashion statement in their own right, they have the added bonus of being able to roll them up and take them with you to your next home, whenever that may be.
  • Welcome mats – A place to wipe your shoes at the front door of your home is first and foremost a matter of function, but it’s also a nice way to bring a bit of character to the property.  Make it something true to your interests and eye-catching: it’ll be the first thing you or any guests will see.


Furniture and Storage


This is one area where you can really show some of your style.  Even the most restrictive rental agreements will allow for the inclusion of at least some of the following:

  • Multi-functional pieces – Furniture that is multi-functional can save precious space and money and can make the place more adaptable to different uses.  A clever, good-looking piece is always a worthwhile investment.
  • Storage – Items that use the most of the space available will not only look great but will help keep things organised.  If room is at a particular premium, look out for pieces that can fold away or are stackable.
  • Soft furnishings and throws – Curtains, cushions, covers and throws are all effective ways of adding texture and colour without compromising the décor.




As well as offering an opportunity to breathe some colour into a room, houseplants are also proven to enhance your sense of well-being and boost your mood and health.  Peace Lilies and Rubber Plants are eternal favourites – and require little knowledge or fuss to keep healthy, too.  Succulents are growing in their popularity, but take care when buying more exotic plants that they come from licensed purveyors.




Lamps come in all shapes and sizes – and for good reason.  Depending on the position of your property, the size and number of windows and outdoor objects that could reduce the amount of natural light that filters through to your indoor space, the type of lighting you require will change.


Table lamps are good for focused areas of light, whereas floor-standing ones are better for a more ambient casting.  A configuration of the two in various points around the home will often be ideal.



No two outdoor spaces are the same.  Some properties have a full garden, others have a terrace plot and some are restricted to a modest balcony.  Within these sizeable variables there will always be an opportunity for small decorative flourishes.


  • Outdoor rugs and throws – Rugs are a great way to make an outside area more comfortable and they and throws provide colour and character.
  • Chairs, tables and accessories – Garden furniture can often be folded away, saving on space when you’re not using them.  Floor cushions can increase seating and can be easily stored.  An outdoor fire can bring a point of decorative focus as well as heat and light.
  • Container pots and window boxes – Gardening enthusiasts needn’t go without.  Many kinds of plants can be grown in pots.  Micro tomatoes and herbs are good for window grow-boxes.
  • Chimes, bird boxes and insect hotels – If there’s anywhere in your outdoor space that allows for things to be hung up, there are plenty of options.  Wind chimes are a popular choice as they are not only aesthetically pleasing but they produce a soothing sound.  For those who enjoy seeing a bit of nature on their doorstep, bird boxes and insect hotels tend to be affordable and effective – you can even build your own.


Make Yourself at Home…


Decorating a space we don’t own might seem like a counterproductive move, but more often than not you’ll be surprised how much room there is for self-expression.  As long as you call a space home, there’s every reason to make it feel more homely.