10 Ways to Love Your Rented Home post Lockdown [No Painting Required]

A rental home is synonymous with monochrome and interminable tones of off-white and bland decor. This ubiquitous rental white has become the mainstay of the rental market to make rental properties all things to all people. This may be a logical approach since a subjective choice of finishes may prove a deal breaker. However, living amongst blandness during the lockdown months could have lead the rental generation feel not only a sheer boredom with their understated surroundings but also a profound sense of misery.

Rental House Boredom & Blandness - the Lethal Lockdown Combo

Natasha Bernal in her article in the Wired magazine  describes the negative effect the lockdown on productivity and focus: ‘chronic low-grade stress, which was triggered by the coronavirus lockdown, and has sent our bodies into overdrive and is wearing down creativity and concentration’.

This coupled with the lack of external stimuli (okay, we were allowed out for a bit of exercise) and the endless greying surroundings  of a rental house does not bode well for a happy home, let alone a happy rental home dweller as the places we live in not only shape our feelings but also the decisions we make

10 Ways to Love Your Rented Home post Lockdown No Painting Required
Image Credit: Unsplash

A cognitive neuroscientist, Colin Ellard has conducted extensive research on the relationship between the place and mind. In his interview with the Australian ABC programme, he stresses that:

everybody knows that where you are influences what you do and how you feel. Certain kinds of shapes are instinctively more appealing than others.

Moreover, Psychology Today specifically identifies the beige world as ‘understimulating – and that can be stressful’. There is a proven effect between colour and your mind and mood and we are urged to choose colour and ‘don’t opt out and live in a beige world. Humans are more comfortable in spaces with color than in those without.’ 

10 Ways to Love Your Rented Home post Lockdown No Painting Required
Kings Road, London, Photographer: Toa Heftiba

So if the dull and understated will not cut it, how to approach a rental home decor post lockdown to achieve a new-found joy in the restrictive palette and surroundings? How to inject it  with not only an enduring sense of fun, energy and humour but also take the rental decorating proverbial bull by its horns and furnish your home with carefree abandon? Have no fear. Follow these steps to find yourself in a space that puts a smile on your face and a spring in your step.

10 Easy Ways to Decorate a Rental Home (and Love it Again).

Tip 1. Find yourself a new bed buddy – first things first, quality sleep is paramount so banish those washed out sheets and replaces them with a vibrant bedding set or two. What could be better than sliding into fresh sheets and look forward to a technicolour dream?  Missoni and Liberty are the firm favourites. 

Tip 2. Light up your life – to create an inviting and intimate atmosphere without breaking the bank is to add a freestanding floor lamp or a couple of well-placed table lamps. Opt for a statement floor lamp to liven up a neglected dark corner. There is a plethora of lights to choose from but this particular fixture, Theia, by Marset particularly takes my fancy.

When it comes to table lamps, forego the conventional interior design wisdom of selecting only matching items. Instead, choose pieces of different heights but similar or contrasting in colour and place these in a group to create a curated display. Dipping Lights by, again, Marset are a great illustration of how to create a cluster arrangement

10 Ways to Love Your Rented Home post Lockdown No Painting Required
Dipping Light, Marset
10 Ways to Love Your Rented Home post Lockdown No Painting Required
Theia Floor, Marset

Tip 3. Add a pouf that doubles up as a coffee table and an additional seat. If your lounge could do with a coffee table but you are not sure about committing to a big ticket item, a pouf that doubles up as an additional seating and coffee or side table is a smart way to liven up your rental home. Be sure to choose a piece that is not only functional and sturdy enough to hold a tray with drinks but also adds a touch of fun.  This outstanding piece by Normal Copenhagen is an understated yet luxurious way to decorate a rental home.

Tip 4. If you are feeling particularly uninspired when it comes to your rental home, rearranging your furniture could provide a welcome boost not only to your surroundings but also to your well-being. Gaining a new perspective on your newly arranged living room or bedroom is a tried a tested way to make your rental house feel refreshed and welcoming again.  

Tip 5. Living in a rental property does not have to mean that your home is drab and dull. Investing in art that you love and pieces that you can take with you to your next home is a future-proof and clever approach to making your rental home swoon worthy. Add a knock-off-your-feet sculpture to an unloved corner or an unexpected place such as bathroom if the space allows (images needed with art pieces) and watch your mood and well-being leap in the positive territory.

10 Ways to Love Your Rented Home post Lockdown No Painting Required
Table Totems, Ashley Hicks

Tip 6. A new pair of curtains or blinds can have a big impact. Not only will it give a room an instant lift, it will also bring a new colour dimension to your rented interior. Depending on how the light moves throughout the day and reflects fabric colour hues, you will be able to experience new atmosphere.

10 Ways to Love Your Rented Home post Lockdown No Painting Required
Belgravia Residence, FifteenFifteen

Tip 7. Divide and Conquer – if you live in an open plan rental property and you are craving extra room or a specific space, try incorporating a screen or a room divider. Delineating different activity areas in an open plan living, such as a home office or a reading nook will make your rental space feel more considered and homely. Opt screens that are see-through to maintain visual connection with the rest of the space and to avoid the room from feeling boxed in. You can always fold these away when not needed. Pols Potten and Nordic House pieces are both functional and beautiful – what more could we want?

Tip 8. High rise level living does not mean living with high levels of stress. Create your own urban jungle and surround yourself with plants. Ellard’s research points out that: ‘even a relatively modest exposure, like sitting on a bench in a small urban park, can have as profound an effect on your psychology as being immersed in a deep forest.’ Immersing yourself in potted greenery can positive effects such as reduction of the stress hormone, cortisol, and better night’s sleep. If you are not naturally green-fingered, start with succulents and ferns, these are the stalwarts and will remain verdant all year round.  

Tip 9. If you are feeling inspired, take advantage of this unique decorating trend – sticky tape. This latest craze, Haru Stuck-on Design, has been imported to us from Japan. It is a collection of multi-coloured and patterned washi tapes on a grand scale. These temporary embellishments can be applied to almost any surface of the room. Design possibilities are endless: add a border to a tired wall, create your own wall art, divide smaller spaces into different zones. As with any rental home interior decoration, you can always remove it once you leave. So why not give this smart solution a go? Everything else Japanese is either exquisite, exclusive or exceptional. This also gets my vote.

Image Credit: Elle Decoration
Image Credit: Elle Decoration

Tip 10. A new set of cushions is bound to liven up a tired sofa or a bored-looking bedroom. The more, the merrier – throw together as many cushions as your heart desires to create a sumptuous display. Be sure to combine different sizes and patterns coupled with a few anchor pieces in one colour only. I offer 20% off my current cushion collections (visit my online boutique, and use code BLOG2020

10 Ways to Love Your Rented Home post Lockdown No Painting Required
Montezuma Collection, FifteenFifteen

Header image credit: Baikie Corr

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