Even if you don’t own your home you can still live beautifully and make your rental property feel special with some creative ideas that don’t cost the earth. When it comes to landlord limitations that prevent you from hanging artwork or painting walls, take inspiration from these nifty styling tips that will help you inject personality and character into any drab, lifeless spaces without leaving a trace and sacrificing your bond.

Spacious living room with gray sofa and modern decor.

1. Put your personality on display

If your walls are plain and uninspiring, create a distraction with interesting decorative displays that will divert the attention away from the dull walls. Second hand treasures and vintage finds are guaranteed to spark up conversations and won’t break into your bank balance, while a curated collection of beautiful objects, such as glassware or ceramics, will evoke admiration and inject tonnes of personality into your rental.

Christmas fireplace

2. Repurpose salvaged finds

From roadside treasures to second hand bargains, there’s a whole heap of low cost, even free, ways of bringing a touch of eclectic personality to your rental. Look out for old fruit crates that can make brilliant bathroom storage or a quirky bedside table. And what about an old tin trunk that will make a standout coffee table? Keep an open mind and try to see items in fresh new ways – as the saying goes; someone’s junk is someone else’s treasure!

3. Change light shades

Light fittings can play a large part in achieving a particular interior trend and also help to create a relaxed ambience. Quite often, the light fittings in rentals are out of date and uninspiring, so it pays to invest in a couple of new shades as a temporary replacement. For an instant impact, go for bold colours or patterns that will add a lively feel, while a simple neutral shade will freshen even the plainest of rooms. Just be look sure to keep the original shades so you can re-hang them when you move out.

4.Rugs and throws are your best friends

‘Covering up’ and ‘disguising’ are the buzzwords when it comes to bringing temporary personality to your space without causing any damage or spending a fortune. Rugs are brilliant for covering up an unsightly carpet, as well as bringing warmth and comfort to cold, hard floors. Small rugs, or mats, are also a great way of adding character in kitchens that are lacking colour and style. What’s more, you can pick up low cost, bang on trend bargains in stores such as Kmart, Target and Ikea.
Similarly, throws can make an instant style statement in a living room by disguising old chairs and sofas. Choose colours, textures and patterns that accentuate your personality and style, and continue the look around the room with complementing accessories that tie a theme together.

brown blanket on sofa with lamp in living room at home

5. Colour code your bookshelves

This is a super simple, and free, way of bringing colour and interest to shelves. Organise your books by colour for a visual hit and you’ll shelves will become the focal point of the room; great if you need a distraction from the ugly carpet or wallpaper.

6. Add life with greenery

Indoor plants were once seen as dusty clutter and chucked out with the chintz, but they are enjoying a renaissance, with bold cacti and interesting succulents adding sculpture to modern interiors. This is great news for renters as plants are an easy way to introduce instant shape and colour into a scheme. Choose oversized plants for impact, such as Fiddle Leaf Fig and Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, and max out with one or two for an even bigger statement. Track down unusual planters from salvage yards for added drama.

A woman watering her plants in a sunroom.

7. Create some glamour in the bedroom

Any bedroom can be given a sophisticated makeover by simply changing the bed linen and adding some decorative cushions. Patterned or coloured bed linen can make a plain room sing, but for a boutique hotel feel, stick to crisp white sheets and add a throw at the end for a luxurious layered look.

8. Work with what you have

If you are lucky enough to have some original features, such as fireplaces or ornate skirting boards, emphasise them with eye-catching touches. Try leaning empty picture frames, ornate mirrors or colourful prints on mantelpieces or against the wall when you can’t fix them with nails, as they will still create a cool display. If you don’t want to stretch to a costly print, try framing illustrations from magazines and then these can be changed whenever you feel like a new look.

Room with carpet, flooring, sofa, bookcase and modern pendant lamp.


Written by Jason Barnett & Louise O’Bryan