We all know that being experimental with interior design can be tricky while renting a place. You want to re-decorate, update furniture and put your own stamp on it, but often you can feel restrained by your landlord. Well, because we are aware of this dilemma, we have caught up with Kristabel from IWantYouToKnow to find out her top tips for decorating a rented room.
“I’ve definitely gone on a journey when it comes to interiors. Like most of us, I had the Pinterest board filled with gallery walls and copper lamps, but it took me a while to figure out what would actually work for me in reality. When I moved into my flatshare a few years ago, I probably went a bit overboard in certain homeware stores and picked up so many things without thinking. I dread to think of the money I’ve wasted on plastic tubs that didn’t really go with anything.
Decorating a rented room – tips by Kristabel
In a similar way to my wardrobe, I now tend to shop for homeware with a bit of a plan. The main challenge is that I have limited space. Although I have prints in the hallway and managed to wangle three kitchen cupboards, my room is the only place where I can be completely selfish when it comes to decor. I also have to be practical, so if I spot a bargain Wes Anderson-style chair, I have to realistically consider whether it will fit.
Since I’m in the midst of clearing things out, I thought I’d share a few things I’ve realised over the past three years.
Get to know your space
It can be tempting to buy absolutely everything within a few days of moving in but it’s best to wait until you’ve lived in the space to see what you really need. What are the areas that you naturally gravitate to and are there any styles that you prefer?
Even though decorating a rented room can be frustrating, start shopping around and gathering as much inspiration as possible. It’s also worth checking the inventory to see what needs to stay in the room and what you could potentially replace (the previous tenant left all kinds of random furniture that wasn’t to my taste). I’m definitely tempted to switch my shoe rack with something that’s a little more me.
Scandi Shoe Rack £70 at John Lewis
Add personality with soft furnishings
What’s with all the boring beige carpets that seem to be ubiquitous in flatshares? I try to see having a blank canvas as a positive thing. Having restrictions is a good way to ease yourself into styling a room (I imagine I’d get indecisive over paint colours) and there’s so much choice when it comes to soft furnishings.
My thing is going a bit crazy with cushions, modern art and Orla Kiely bedding. Also a strategically placed rug can hide any mess left by previous inhabitants (I like this one from House Of Fraser) and after a while, you’ll barely notice that you didn’t choose the carpet.
Bedding from £28 at John Lewis
Cushion £44 at John Lewis
Rug from £125 at House of Fraser
One of my best decisions was thinking out of the box when it comes to how I display things. I bought a wire bookcase instead of a dressing table and use a combination of acrylic storage, patterned plates and trays to showcase my jewellery and makeup. This means that everything can get repurposed when I eventually move and I can create an arrangement that looks unique.
Transparent Cosmetic Organiser £14.99 at New Look
Yamazaki Tosca Accessory Tray £15 at John Lewis
West Elm Crockery Set from £6 at John Lewis
Make a multifunctional room cosy
Since my room also doubles up as an office, I’ve now added extra lighting and candles for when I watch to switch off in the evening. A new floor lamp has made all the difference. It’s similar to this gold John Lewis style and the metallic finish means that it’s versatile enough for future situations. I’ve also added my favourite White Company candle to the mix. Their prices are lower than certain luxury brands, but they’re still of comparable quality and handmade in the UK.
Floor Lamp £55 at John Lewis
Cassis Collection from £12 at The White Company
Storage is everything
I’m probably the worst at getting rid of things, so I’ve learned to maximise every nook and cranny for storage. This is particularly important when you’re decorating a rented room. Somehow I manage to fit everything in suitcases, under bed storage and slightly more photogenic baskets on top of the wardrobe. This year might also be the first time I invest in some vacuum bags for my out of season clothing. It’s definitely less glamorous than everything else, but means that I can make room for that dream chair!
Linea Water Hyacinth Boxes £30 at House of Fraser
JML Vac Pack (Large) £17.99 at Littlewoods
October 4th 2017 - by @CollectPlus