Top 10 tips for making your rented house a home.

April 11, 2013

I’ve recently moved house to a gorgeous pub conversion in East London. As much as I miss Canonbury and the local Stoke Newington’s village feel, going East has its benefits. You have the beautiful Victoria park with a boating lake and Broadway market‘s quirky stalls on a Saturday where you could kit yourself out as a hipster in one lazy amble through it, fresh organically pressed kumquat juice in hand.

With moving comes readjusting to a new space. Luckily I have built a collection of furniture over the years from various second hand shops and good old freecycle. Not so lucky though when you have to actually move the darn things, cue back ache and raw hands. How do you make it fit and look good in a new place? What if you don’t have anything to bring to your new place and what are the “must haves” to really make it feel like home? In no particular order……

1. A comfortable bed – this is worth the investment as you spend 8 hours a day here and it’s your recharging time. I realise this applies to bought homes too but a good mattress really is a life changer.

2. Lighting – in particular lamps and fairy lights. You can transform a room using low lighting. I despise overhead spot lights, not only do they give me a migraine but they can make the most beautiful person look very unattractive. Try standing underneath one. You might notice they have them in some restaurants, not exactly the best start to a romantic meal. Get low watt bulbs for the lamps, with the fairy lights if you tac them around a window frame they will illuminate the room with a soft glow. You can also get battery pack fairy lights that you can move about the home. Make sure you have a supply of tea lights at all times for dinner parties or chilled nights in.

3. Fragrance – we all love a nice fragrance and this is one of the first things people will notice about your home before they even set foot in the door. Try getting a couple of diffusers, one for the living room and one for the bedroom. My personal favourite is the fresh linen diffuser from Lily Flame. Also all of their candles smell so good you could eat them. (I couldn’t find any nice pictures of diffusers so here’s some more fairy lights)

4. Plants – they will literally bring life to a room. Here’s the science bit – they give out Oxygen (yes, how clever I am) but also remove carbon dioxide therefore removing smells from the home that might not be so pleasant.  The best low maintenance plants I’ve found are peace lily’s as they droop right down when they’re thirsty so you know when they really need watering, which is about once every two weeks. Also if you can’t afford fresh flowers every week then invest in some silk flowers, they’ll never know.

5. Framed pictures – notice the “framed” part, this is important. If you invest in a well framed picture it will transform a room. If you have a poster or photograph you love, get it framed or even better find an old frame and paint it a colour or just slick white – art gallery style. In the words of Beyonce “if you like then you should have put a….” maybe not.

6. Mirrors – they make small spaces seem bigger but also add other aspects to a room. By creating reflections you almost create other parts of the space, sounds a bit out there but try placing them in corners. You should have a mirror in your bedroom, hallway and living room if you can. The more opulent the better.

7. Rugs – rented properties aren’t known for having the nicest carpets or floors so you can change that rather quickly with a good rug. Go for something textured or patterned as long as your furniture is fairly plain.

8. Dining table and chairs – even if it’s a simple coffee table that you can all sit on cushions Moroccan style it’s great to have a space to eat comfortably other than off your lap. If possible get an extend-able table and fold up chairs if you’re lacking space. You can get some bargains at flea markets around London, there is the vintage furniture flea market on Sunday 21st April at York Hall, Bethnal Green which is worth a visit.

9. Throws, blankets and cushions– these will soften a room and make times on the sofa a lot cosier, if you get patterned or textured blankets you can layer them to add your own style to the place. If your sofa is a little dull try a brightly coloured throw. A faux fur throw at the end of the bed adds a luxurious feel. Cushions can be patterned or plain but make sure their filling is feathers if you can, the synthetic versions are never very comfortable.

10. Kitchen appliances – having nice appliances like a good quality kettle and toaster will make your mornings before work feel a lot easier. Currently I have neither, so putting on the grill and boiling up a pan of water is getting rather tiresome. Good quality pots and pans go without saying but also if you happen to get your hands on some nice old tins, pots or dishes they will add colour and life to your kitchen. I have quite a few dishes from my Mum which add family “history” to the kitchen. Kitchens don’t have to be all about utensils and appliances, I have a little brightly coloured porcelain rabbit hiding between in my herb pots.

I hope this has been helpful in some way, if you just try a couple of these tips they really will transform your home and it will make a small but noticeable difference.

All images can be found on my Pinterest Apartment mood board

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