Like many people, my husband and I live in a rental property. It works for us – whilst we’re still deciding what we want to do and where we want to be, we have the freedom to move easily. We can save for travels rather than a new bathroom, or repairs to the roof. It satisfies my spirit of adventure while still giving the comfort of my own home, my own space.
Our house is beautiful. It’s an old 1900’s terrace, with big bright rooms, original cornicing and all kinds of quirky features. The sun shines brightly into the bathroom each morning, making getting out of bed and into the shower that little bit easier. The cream exterior stands out against its mottled grey neighbours, bringing light to the street. The bay window frames the living room, reminding me of the house I grew up in. It feels like home.
The only problem is that some of the other bits, the standard rental features, I can’t change. The old lino in the kitchen that feels sticky beneath your feet. The speckled brown carpet that, though new, is resolutely practical and not the slightest bit pretty. The magnolia paint on every single wall. They’re the parts that I’d change in a heartbeat if I could, that I’d transform into the image of Pinterest boards that I’ve spent hours populating and dreaming over.
But actually, I’ve come to the realisation that there’s no point being frustrated – that the Pinterest fantasies can wait until the time is right for us to buy our own home, and there’s actually a lot we can do to make space more ‘us’ without changing the walls or floors.
This corner has become one of my favourite places in the whole house. The angular yellow feature chair sits in sharp contrast to the classic curves of our beloved grey chesterfield sofa, sourced from a vintage store in North Manchester, and brings vibrancy and colour to the open plan lounge-diner. After searching high and low for a yellow armchair [they’re surprisingly hard to find!], we eventually found this one in Ikea. The monochrome cushion and oversized lighting increase the cosy-factor and add depth and interest to the space, making this corner a lovely place to relax with a book or watch TV. It’s my spot of sunshine!
Adding personality is easier than you may think. Colours, interesting lighting, different textures and prints go a long way towards making your spaces more ‘you’. The good thing about rental neutrals are that they are just that – neutral. Almost all colours and prints will work with them, and it’s easy to mix it up again when you fancy a change.
In the end, that beige carpet that you hate so much – people won’t notice. The snazzy yellow chair, on the other hand, they certainly will!
How have you added personality into a rental? I’d love to see your pictures!