I believe we are most happy when an interior is harmonious and in tune with our lifestyle. Our home is an extension of who we are and should reflect our personalities and style. Ignore trends, they come and go. Design your pad on how you feel or how you want to feel when living in it. Be bold and creative and most importantly go with your gut instinct. Your gut never lies.
Whether it is your own home or you are renting there’s nothing stopping you from putting your unique stamp on it. A few of my friends are moving into rental properties and have been asking what they can do to make it feel like home with all the restrictions that come with a rental property. Here are a few of my tips but I know there are many more. So if you have any great tips please share your comments below:
1. Add character to your rental property with inexpensive vintage pieces that you can pick up from any car boot sale. Display things that are meaningful to you or that you are passionate about. For example I love vintage cameras, fresh flowers, old photos, large metal letters and paintings by J.H Lynch. Take your pieces and arrange with attitude by displaying your finds in layers and different heights. Don’t be too formulaic; just have fun and go with your gut.
2. Use old fruit and wine cases to show off your treasures. It’s inexpensive and adds loads of character. You can strip them down and paint them or leave them in their natural state. You can even add wheels and use them for storage. eBay have a good selection to choose from.
3. Bedroom desire. If you’re on a shoe-string budget buy big items like beds and wardrobes from Ikea. Create a bespoke look by adding layers and textures to your bed. Fur is great for adding texture and a bit of luxury (the fake kind of course). Flowers are always a nice touch especially if you put them in old jars or water jugs. Take down any mental blinds and add curtains to soften the room. Creating different focal points using art is a great way to distract the eye from any bland furniture. When I say art it could be anything from an expensive investment piece or a magazine cutting that you have framed.
4. Give a plain or old chair some va-va-voom by throwing over a sheepskin rug. Sheepskin also looks great on a bed or wooden floor and creates a more cosy look.
5. Cover up dull or unsightly carpet using rugs. Be bold and go for bright colours, patterns and textures. No one will even look twice at the drab carpet.
6. Plants and flowers are such a nice way to lift a room. I don’t know about you but I feel more grounded when I’m surrounded by plants. Again don’t waste money on expensive vases. Look for recycled glass, jars, milk bottles or use old tea tins for extra character.
7. Don’t conform. Group pieces of art and objects of different sizes, shape and colour to create an interesting wall feature. Asymmetrical arrangements can make a space feel more laid-back and fun. If your landlord doesn’t allow you to hang pictures then just lean your pictures against the wall. Create different heights using piles of magazines or use a side table to display your art.
8. I’ve always been a big fan of wallpaper but it’s unlikely that you will be able to wallpaper a wall in a rental apartment. So what’s the alternative? For a dramatic look frame wallpaper using a large ornate frame and lean it against a wall.
9. Add a bit of rock n roll. A tip from Abigail Ahern: Copy Kate Moss by scrawling over an oil painting. You can grab old oil paintings for a bargain at any car boot sale or flea market. I would use bright coloured paint for extra contrast.
10. Blackboard paint looks great on a wall but if you’re renting what is the alternative? Make your own blackboard and either hang it up or lean it against a wall. They are really easy to make. All you need to do is buy a frame and ask your local hardware store to cut an MDF board to size. If you’re in the UK B&Q will do this free of charge. Paint the MDF board with blackboard paint and then fasten to the back of the frame using a stable gun. Here is one that I made for our house many moons ago.
11. Soft furnishings are a great way to add personality. Choose a colour pallet of say three to four colours and layer pillows, throws and floor rugs. Try to make it look three-dimensional to help the room feel cosy and more homely.