Your house should be a reflection of your sense of style and personality. Even if you’re renting and can’t make permanent changes to your abode, there are plenty of ways to add character and colour that are not simply reserved for those who own their own property.
People often ask, why bother? ‘My biggest answer to this question is with another – why should I live with rental optic white walls and bare bulbs just because of my financial reality?’ journalist and renter Katherine Ormerod explains in her article on the highs and lows of creating a non-permanent family home. ‘Our homes are our sanctuaries, and they’re also the base from which we foster our mental health. If we feel disconnected and depressed by our surroundings at home, guess what? We feel depressed and disconnected too. I don’t want that for myself and I definitely don’t want that for my kids.’
With more of us renting than ever before (one in five households in England and Wales now rent, according to the 2021 census results), it’s no surprise that there are more accounts across Instagram and TikTok brimming with DIY and decorating design inspiration specifically for rented spaces.
These accounts are packed with unique ways to add colour and character to often stark-white or greige interiors while keeping your deposit intact. Find everything from creative paint projects that aren’t just for the walls to kitchen-storage upgrades, peel and stick wallpaper and tiles solutions, faux fireplaces and fresh ways to upgrade a sad-looking bathroom without a renovation.
Read on for a starting point for creative accounts to follow for rental-friendly design ideas.
LA-based renter Marco Zamora is a must-follow for colourful rental-friendly hacks. He lives in a 1920s flat with an open-spaced living room and French windows and his refresh projects include everything from adding peel-and-stick tile stickers to his kitchen floor to a unique wooden doorway inspired by his Mexican heritage to reshape the kitchen entrance.
At 40, Katherine Ormerod has spent most of her life renting. She has lamented the highs and lows of creating a non-permanent family home, having moved into her West London home – which she shares with her family. She has creative ways to hide rental quirks like not-so-aesthetically-pleasing silvery carpets with playful charm and often affordable purchases. ‘I have decorated every single flat and house I’ve lived in,’ Katherine Ormerod says in her article. ‘There was the defunct fireplace I hand-painted in a Broughton Street in Edinburgh, the huge French posters I pinned to every wall in a bijoux maisonette above a bank, the perfectly proportioned shoe shelves I added to a Queen’s Park two-bed I lived in with my boyfriend and brother… Wherever I lay my spirit level – that’s my home.’
As the handle suggests, stylist and creative consultant Gillian Lawlee, @my.life.in.colour, loves colour. Having moved from her LA cottage to a rented home in Cork in Ireland, Gillian’s IG followers can expect to see her signature smart ways of incorporating colour beyond a painted wall, from trims to vintage furniture, colourful artwork and textiles.
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