Thought you couldn't make your own mark on a rental property? Think again. The tenants of this three-bedroom Victorian house have redecorated and added their own character throughout
When the tenants first looked around this beautiful house in Somerset, they said ‘yes’ to it straightaway. ‘We’re both artists working from home, and we could hardly believe how much space there was,’ they say. ‘It had masses of character too, and period features like the fireplaces, wooden floors and picture rails were right up our street.’
Even though they are renting, the tenants have still been able to decorate and make certain changes to the house. Since moving in in 2008, they’ve repainted all of the rooms, sticking with neutral colours that complement the traditional style of the old house. ‘We wanted it to feel bright and fresh, and not do anything too extreme. We definitely wanted it to feel homely though, and to reflect us. Our style is a mix of old and new, and we want our home to be inspiring and full of character.’
The tenants have treated the pale walls as a background and built up pattern and colour through photographs, pretty china, fabrics, bunting, old books, cushions and painted furniture. ‘In a rented home you need to weigh up how much to invest in fixtures, so virtually everything we’ve added can come with us when we eventually move from here.’
While most of the furniture has been inherited or bought second-hand by the tenants, certain items came with the house, such as this beautiful old dresser. ‘The storage is really useful and, as I collect vintage teacups, it’s perfect.’
‘My mum made the pretty gingham curtains. I like their country look and the fact they tie in well with my vintage blue and white china pieces.’
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The tenants wanted the house to feel cosier, so over time they have laid new laminate flooring in the conservatory and reinstated the doors separating it from the kitchen. ‘We have our dining table there now, and a play corner, so it’s ideal when our friends with children come round.’
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The snug originally had bright red walls, which made the small room a little too dark. The tenants painted them a soft green instead, and hung old family photos in mismatched frames, which their children love looking at.
This beautiful fireplace, paired with the ornate mirror, is a fabulous focal point in the living room. Mismatched furniture, artwork and books make it a particularly cosy room, especially when combined with a large rug.
‘I’ve put down a big rug in the living room because, although I love the original floor boards, they’re quite draughty.’
This enormous mirror, inherited from a family member, makes the living room seem larger while also making a bold style statement.
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The main bedroom has been given a shabby-chic country feel with a white wooden bed, cosy throws and an antique dressing table.
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The tenants’ son and daughter share the big front bedroom. The parents felt strongly that their children should each have their own area within the room, so they spent time planning how to make the most of the space.
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Each child has their own area, plus there’s a comfy reading corner and a craft table. ‘It has become a multi-functional room and they both love playing in there.’
The tenants laid pale, wood-look flooring to freshen up the bathroom. The wooden towel rail is a beautiful piece that was inherited by the tenant.
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‘One of the best aspects of this house is how flexible and adaptable it is. It was just the two of us at first, but we’re now a family of four and we’ve had no problems rearranging the house as our needs have changed.’