Thursday, 21 June 2018

Turning a Rented House into a Home

It's now been two years since Tom and I moved out of our student house and into our own house (how quickly has that gone?!). We all know that there are certain limitations on how much you can do to put your own stamp on the a rented property; you can't go knocking down walls or ripping out the kitchen, but there are loads of ways you can turn your standard house into a home! 

Whilst in our student house we decorated our individual rooms; moving to a house meant that we suddenly had five rooms to decorate, in a way that both of us were happy with. Luckily Tom's quite chilled with decorations, but there were still certain things he wanted in the house so we had to reach a compromise on some specific items (e.g. Tom's Ipswich Town merch).

So when you come into our house you are immediately in the kitchen. Despite having one cupboard each in our student house we have easily filled up the cupboards we have now. It's so much easier having designated cupboards for different things, and as our kitchen is fairly small we've tried to not to crowd the worktops with items. As the kitchen walls are tiled we are not able to put up any clocks/pictures etc, so we have covered one side of our fridge in magnets.

Moving through our kitchen you then come to the lounge. The big things like the sofa/dining table/coffee table/mirror belong to our landlord so we didn't have to worry about splashing out on these items, but everything else we've added ourselves. I think a big point is that although you may rent a house that is furnished, you can still add in your own pieces of furniture to suit your needs. One of my favourite areas of the lounge is the picture wall behind the sofa, which we continue to add to. (I know not all landlords allow people to put things on the wall, but ours were happy with it as long as we fill the holes in when we leave). Having the big mirror on the wall where I would assume used to be a fire place, really opens up the room and makes it seem a lot bigger than it actually is.

As you can probably tell Tom and I love a good film which is why we have an extensive DVD library in our lounge. When we were looking round this house I could see where our furniture would fit into this room, and we've put two bookcases together to create a mantelpiece type area below the mirror, and means that all of our DVD's are out where we can see them together. On top of the bookcases we have a couple of plants (ones that don't take much to look after!), a few candles and pictures, and to make it more cosy I've interspersed a set of fairy lights which we can turn on in the evening.

This big bookcase on the right was left here by the previous tenants as when we looked round they said they were going to get rid of it when they moved out so I asked if they could leave it for us. It's not great for books because there's no back and there's obviously been something heavy on some of the shelves as they're not quite straight, so I turned this into a decorative area that's still functional. We store our cookbooks on the bottom shelf, and then the rest of the shelves house different decorative items - the majority of these we already had when we moved in so it was just about putting them out in a way where they worked together.

We're very lucky in that our bedroom is large and can accommodate a lot of storage - again the big things like the bed, a couple of the chest of drawers and our wardrobe belong to our landlord, but we've added in bedside drawers, a dressing table, and we've bought another chest of drawers. Again we have some pictures on the walls, and we also have a tv where we can watch films and also play on our Playstation One! On our chest of drawers we have different objects that we've collected together over the years.

We live in a terraced house, and we're lucky that we have the extra space of having our bathroom go over the alleyway, which means we gain a second bedroom. Our bathroom is small and again we can't put anything on the wall because it's tiled, but doing small things like using a patterned shower curtain makes the room feel like ours.

Our second bedroom houses all of our books and has all my craft bits in. I'm going to be cheeky and not show you this room quite yet because we want to redesign how we use this room and I want to be able to show you the process of this in another post!

Living in a rented house doesn't mean that you can't make it into your own home and design things your own way. Even if it comes with furniture you can still buy your own, and move your landlords about to accommodate what you need - our bed was the other way round when we moved in but by moving it to where it is now we opened up a lot more of the space available to us. Always check with your landlord if they're happy for you to put things on the wall, and if not there's plenty of ways you can still put up pictures to make it personal to you. Also rented or not, it's always good to keep in mind that it is never going to be exactly how you want it right away and you'll find you change things as you live in the space and redesign as you go along (a perfect example of this is how we are planning to redesign our second bedroom into a proper office space). I hope that you've enjoyed having a look into our we have decorated our home and I hope it's provided some inspiration for you in your space.

Jess x 


  1. Your home looks really comfortable. I can see how you made your rental house into your home.


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