On the list of things you should never do as a tenant is decorating – at least, not without asking your landlord first.
Many landlords will be open to the idea of tenants decorating, particularly if said tenants will be covering the costs.
But most will either want a say on colours and style, or they’ll want you to make everything neutral again before you leave.
But fear not, there are plenty of things you can do to make your rental property feel like home…
How to hang pictures without nails – and other ways of making a rental property feel like home
Renting brings with it many benefits, but one of the downsides for many tenants is not being able to decorate as they would if they were buying their own home.
But there are plenty of steps you can take to make even the most neutral of rental properties fit in with your taste and style.
How to make a rental feel like home
1. Hanging pictures without nails
One of the best ways to add a touch of style to your rental property is through pictures or wall art.
However, some landlords insert clauses into their tenancy agreements either banning hanging pictures with nails altogether or, more commonly, requesting that all holes are made good at the end of your tenancy.
But even if you don’t want to spend the final few days of your tenancy with a pot of filler and a paint brush, that doesn’t mean you can’t hang your favourite pictures.
The best way to hang your imagery is using a self-adhesive strip.
All you have to do is peel back one side of the strip and stick it to your picture frame before peeling back the other side and sticking to your wall.
But remember to mark out where you want to stick your frame first and make sure you have everything level.
2. Invest in lighting
Even if your rental property has been sent from magnolia heaven (or hell), that doesn’t mean you can’t inject some life into proceedings without a paint brush or hammer and nails.
Lighting is everything when trying to bring out the best in a rental property, so invest your time (and money) looking for signature lamps and characterful shades to add colour and zest to your home’s best rooms.
You can also change up bland white pendants for spectacular fixed lights without having to worry as you can simply replace the pendant when your tenancy is up and take your light with you to your next property.
3. Rent unfurnished and buy well
If you rent a furnished property, it can be tricky to inject your own personality on your rental property.
So, if possible, rent an unfurnished home and buy sensibly.
That means picking up items of furniture that reflect you, work in your rental home but will also work in another property when it’s time to leave.
Focus on three or four striking pieces, such as a dining room table, classic sofa or Chesterfield – all of which should be timeless pieces that will age gracefully and maintain their sense of style.
4. Hide bad flooring or old carpets
While you could always request your landlord changes ageing carpets or flooring, the reality is this may not happen until the end of your tenancy.
So, if you need to conceal either, look at the potential of rugs.
Investing in a quality rug or two can have a long-term benefit in the same way investing in timeless furniture does – because you can take rugs with you when you leave and make them work in a new property.
Even the most neutral rug can add real zing to a room, while colourful rugs can really bring out a rental property’s hidden personality.
5. Be creative with soft furnishings
So, you might not be able to liven up a living room wall with a splash of colour, or add some texture to your bedroom’s feature wall with a vibrant wallpaper.
But all is not lost.
Colour and texture can come from your soft furnishings, if you do them well.
Think colourful cushions for the living room and ravishing bed linen in the master bedroom.
If done properly, soft furnishings can really make your rooms come alive – perhaps even more than a can of emulsion.
Your rental property decoration questions answered
Who is responsible for decorating rental property?
Your landlord is responsible for decorating your rental property.
Usually, landlords will decorate their properties prior to each new tenancy, unless previous tenants have really looked after the walls and no painting work is required.
However, most landlords opt for neutral tones so as to appeal to wider demographics of renters, so often rental properties will be a triumph of magnolia or off-white.
If you view a rental property prior to existing tenants moving out, consider asking the landlord if they would let you decorate before you start your own tenancy.
If you don’t ask, you don’t get, and many landlords will simply be glad that they don’t have to pay painters and decorators to do the work for them.
Does my landlord have to replace my carpet?
Your landlord is obliged to ensure your rental property is safe and habitable.
So, if the property’s carpet is worn and could be deemed a trip hazard, or tacks are sticking through, your landlord should replace it.
Moreover, if your rental property carpet is mouldy or unsanitary due to extreme wear and tear, it should be replaced by your landlord.
How often does a landlord have to replace a carpet?
Whether or not your landlord replaces a carpet will depend more on wear and tear than time.
Good tenants will take care of a carpet and look after it, whereas other tenants may not.
So, the lifecycle of a rental property carpet depends more on the tenants and traffic than it does any kind of timeframe.
Your landlord should replace a carpet once it becomes worn to the point of being a hazard.
Can you change curtains in a rental?
You should check this with your landlord, but generally you should be able to change the curtains in a rental property.
Most landlords will insist that the curtains that come as part of the property are reinstated at the end of your tenancy agreement, however.
What changes can you make to a rented property?
Most landlords will be open to you hanging pictures and other items so long as any damage to walls is made good before the end of your tenancy agreement.
However, some landlords will stipulate in their tenancy agreement if nails can’t be used to hang items to walls, so always make sure you read the agreement in full so you know what’s permitted and what isn’t.