It is undoubtedly tricky to add personal touches to a rented property. I’ve been living in one for a few months now with my boyfriend and, whilst the flat is a decent place to lay our heads, it doesn’t feel like our home. As we’ll be staying here for a few months until we can buy our own property (almost certainly into 2016), I am determined to perk it up and make it feel as personal as possible, in the interim! I know a lot of other people who are in similar situations in England, an overpopulated country, with over-inflated house prices. Tenants in a rented property are extremely limited, as to the physical changes they’re allowed to make (i.e. physical changes to the property, such as painting walls or refitting fixtures) and are often at the mercy of unscrupulous landlords/ladies. We’re lucky in this respect, as our landlady is very professional, fair and approachable.
Having given it some thought, these are the things I’m planning on doing, to make my rented property feel more homely!
Make your bed a beautiful place to lay your head
We are in desperate need of new bed linen and I’ve taken a liking to a plain charcoal set from Next as a start. This is a very basic set, so I’m hoping to add some extra detail and luxury with a couple of cushions and a throw from H&M Home. A beautiful bed should be your sanctuary, so it’s a great idea to create somewhere that acts as a haven of rest and luxury for yourself. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money (God knows, I would love to buy everything from The White Company but that’s not happening!) and should be tailored to your own individual taste. There are no rules; create a bed that feels like heaven to you.
Adopt some houseplants
I have my eye on a number of delicate cacti plants, which I feel will flourish in our light, airy kitchen and my lackadaisical attitude to watering (cacti only need a light misting every couple of weeks). They’re inexpensive and look fantastic when displayed neatly along a windowsill. I’m a nature and animal lover; as I can’t have a doggy yet, a few plants will be a good place to start, with far less commitment! Fresh flowers, living salads and potted herbs also add natural beauty to the home, if you don’t fancy looking after a cactus plant or ten.
Add a gentle fragrance
I will have to tread carefully here. My boyfriend has an incredibly sensitive nose and retreats in horror, if I so much as light a scented candle in the next room. Unfortunately, our property has a slightly musty smell (due to the age of the building), which I am determined to temporarily stave off. In the past, I enjoyed using Heyland & Whittle Diffusers, particularly Neroli & Rose. Diffusers are long lasting and often give a stronger fragrance than scented candles. They’re a relatively expensive purchase to begin with but once the fragrance has run out, you can simply buy a refill for a lower price (the reeds may or may not also need to be replaced). I’ve recently bought a Muji Jasmine & Olive Candle, which smells absolutely beautiful and is a bargain for £3.50. Their aroma diffusers look fantastic, I hope to buy one of these for our next property!
Think about lighting
A dark property can appear unwelcoming and, if you spend enough time in it, make you feel depressed. To combat this, especially as we’re advancing rapidly towards winter, look for elegant lamps and candle holders for your property. John Lewis has some beautiful lighting solutions, including this one, which I might buy in the next couple of months! Those who know me well will realise I’m a total hippy and therefore tempted to buy this amazing Buddha candle holder from TK Maxx, for the purpose of creating a meditation space. If you’re lighting candles on a regular basis in any property, please be careful to avoid damage and do not leave them unattended at any time.
Cleanliness and functionality are essential
Life is just easier when our possessions are simple to find. It’s also so much nicer to come home to a clean kitchen, without a huge pile of dishes to wash. Keeping on top of cleaning is, personally, calming to me. On the other hand, I’m yet to get to grips with functionality! I do know where most of my possessions are but it does make things more pleasant if you’re an organised soul. Try to make your clothing storage make sense (i.e. ensuring warmer clothes are now in reach, with summer wear stored at the back of your wardrobe/cupboards), store kitchen and bathroom items logically and try not to leave too many possessions on view. I am wholly guilty of this, as I have too many shoes and far too little shoe storage! They are now in boxes, so I feel slightly redeemed.
I hope this rings true with any of you out there who are renting at the moment! As soon as I’ve followed my own advice, I’ll update you with some pictures. If you have any extra tips for personalising a rented property, please let me know!.