As the economy continues to wobble, more people are opting, or being forced, to rent rather than buy their homes. And, in particular, more young families are now renting. But even if you don't own your property, you can still stamp your personality on it and make it feel like home, without risking losing your deposit. Here's how:
Decals aren't just for kids, I like this fun spiral staircase one, £40, from www.spincollective.co.uk
Do clever things with your wallls
You need to go through your rental agreement with a fine tooth comb, before making any irreversible changes to your property. Some landlords will allow you to wallpaper or paint the walls, as long as it will be viewed as an improvement or if you agree to repaint or paper it in its original state at the end of your lease. Decals or wall stickers that peel off without a trace can be the ideal alternative.
Butterfly tile wall stickers, £20 for 36, www.spincollective.co.uk
Those bland tiles, landlords like to sensibly clad bathroom and kitchen walls with, can be jazzed up with tile stickers too.
3M Command strips and hooks adhere objects to walls and remove cleanly
And, you can personalise your walls with prints and photographs. Or adorn them with a piece of original art. And, if you're worried about knocking nails into walls you don't own, try 3M Command
strips and picture hooks. These adhesive strips of various sizes can hold quite heavy pieces to walls and they remove off cleanly when you're done. I've tried them. I found they did the trick and came off without a mark.
This original artwork by Alan Sastre can be bought for £400 or rented for £25 a month with a view to buying later through RiseArt.com
If you know where to look, original art can be quite reasonably priced. Art college degree shows, Etsy
and Rise Art
are good places to search out. Rise Art was set up to make original collectable art affordable and you can find work on their site for far less than a £100 and they offer monthly rental and rent to buy options too.
I love this Kids Bear rug, from £189 at www.kelaty.com
When landlords dress their properties in preparation for rent, they tend to clothe their floors in hardwearing vinyls, engineered wood and neutral carpets. So warm and brighten up bland floors with a rug. The brighter it is and the more irregular the shape, the more individual your room will look. And it's not just living rooms that will benefit from rugs, they work just as well in bedrooms and hallways too.
Bespoke etch effect window film from £45 per square metre at www.purlfrost.com
You don't have to live with everything your landlord leaves you. Pack away any curtains or blinds that were up when you moved in and replace them for the period of your occupation with some that are more to your taste. Switch nasty nets with more stylish window film, think about putting on your own toilet seat and shower curtain and you don't need to live with their lampshades either.
Juneberry and Bird cushion, £44 http://lornasyson.co.uk
Dress up the furniture
For the final touch, jazz up the furniture. Use cushions and throws to spruce up sofas and extra pillows and a bedspread to smarten up the beds. Then really make the place your own by filling the shelves and window sills with your pretty bits and pieces: books, vases, mirrors, photo frames and other treasured mementos.