Living in a rental can be limiting in terms of what you can and can’t do to the property in terms of rental decorating ideas. But Instagrammer @ohsorented has risen to the challenge in her London apartment with clever ideas, hacks and savvy solutions that show just how creative you can get.
‘After a year of renting a room in a flatshare, I was more than ready to live on my own,’ she says about her property journey. ‘It took me some time to find my ideal place as I specifically wanted to live in a new-build apartment, so I moved back in with my family while I flat-hunted.’
‘Although I love the character of older properties, often the décor can be tired and tatty. By contrast, this brand new modern flat had freshly painted walls and large windows with city views. I loved that it was a blank box that I could make my own.’
‘When viewing the flat, I took tons of photos and mapped out the floorplan. I wanted to fill my new open-plan home with colour so I started Pinterest boards for each area. It’s a rental, so I was restricted a little with what I could change, but my plan was to invest in furniture made in natural materials like cane and light woods – that way I could build up layers of colour with inexpensive accessories that I could change easily.’
‘I chose two key colours for each room that would contrast against the white walls and called my home vibe “Colourful Scandi”.’
‘I didn’t own any big pieces of furniture, but I did have boxes of art, prints and accessories. Before moving in, I used my savings to order a new living room sofa, bed and dining table. Then, on the day of my big move, I hired a van and – with the help of my family and boyfriend – we carried my belongings up to the eighth floor of my new apartment.’
Chic WFH area
‘As I was going to be spending a bulk of my time working in the living room, I focused my energy in making this space feel homely and comfortable. It was nerve wracking ordering big ticket items online as I didn’t want to make any expensive mistakes. But when my sofa-in-a-box from Snug was delivered, I adored the green colour and the velvet upholstery. And as it’s in a timeless shape, I know it will last me forever.’
‘On moving in, I needed a space to work from home so I created a home office in the corner of the living room using a desk and cane chair from French Connection.’
Relaxed seating area
The flat had ugly radiators that were an eyesore, so to cover them up I used B&Q covers, which I customised with cane webbing. I’d never done any DIY before, and I’m not the biggest fan of following instructions, but they came out really well. I bought colourful accessories like plant pots, vases, candles from small independent shops found on Etsy to display on top of my new radiator covers.’
Open-plan kitchen area
‘After a month, I turned my attention to the kitchen. There wasn’t a splashback in here, which isn’t practical for cooking meals, so I covered the walls with removable vinyl stick-on tiles in a star pattern, from The Loft & Us, to echo the design of expensive handmade tiles I’d seen online. The end result is so good that they look real at first glance!’
‘I treated myself to a peppermint-coloured kettle and toaster, and I even found a microwave with a wooden handle for that natural touch.’
Cosy dining spot
‘Open-plan living works so well in this small flat. It never feels enclosed or cramped in here. I love to move things from room to room to freshen up the space. My Made.com cake stand picks out the green tones in my home, while the cocktail trolley from Swoon adds a touch of glam.'
‘After six months, my boyfriend moved in with me and we had to find storage space for his belongings. I found the pink chest of drawers at Dunelm to slot into the narrow hallway space, which he could store his clothes in. Above, I created a gallery wall and it’s the first thing you see when you step into my flat.’
‘My decorative coat hook is fixed to the wall with heavy-duty command strips, but I make sure I only hang lightweight scarves on it. Command strips have been a lifesaver for fixing things in place without damaging the walls.’
Relaxed bedroom scheme
‘For my bedroom, I bought a divan bed with large drawers to store clothes in. Then, I attached a freestanding cane La Redoute headboard, so the bed takes centre stage in the room. I bought light wooden bedroom furniture to create a relaxing environment and made another cane radiator cover to give me more shelf space.’
‘My dad helped me fix up the curtain pole so I could hang sheers at the large windows. Although, I now regret not hanging blackout curtains in here as it’s such a light and bright room especially in the mornings!’
‘This chest of drawers was an investment piece, but it’s such a handy storage solution in my tiny bedroom.’
‘The last area I styled was my bathroom. I did think of using sticky vinyl over the wall and floor tiles but wasn’t sure how hard wearing it would be. Instead, I added a stick-on glass film to the shower screen to create a reed-effect.
‘I found it hard to come across colourful bathroom storage until I found this pink craft trolley from Hobbycraft, which is both practical and pretty.’
Complementary colour scheme
‘There are lots of positives of renting a new build. Everything is brand new and it’s easy to stamp your mark on your home, but one of the downsides is you can come across construction problems.’
‘My toilet had a big leak not long after moving in and all the hallway flooring had to be replaced, which was stressful. Luckily nothing I’ve done to my home is permanent, so when I move out this flat will go back to being an empty shell. Although this isn’t my forever home, I don’t let the fact that I rent get in the way of decorating my home just how I want.’
‘My rented home makes me feel positive and upbeat. It’s important for me to have a relaxing space to come home to and I love spending time here. I could never live in a neutral home as I’d get bored so quickly, while a home filled with colour brings me lots of joy. As a creative person, it’s great to have a home that inspires me daily.’
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Lisa is Deputy Editor of Style at Home magazine and regularly contributes to sister title Ideal Home. She has written about interiors for more than 25 years and about pretty much every area of the home, from shopping and decorating, crafts and DIY to real home transformations and kitchen and bathroom makeovers. Homes and interiors have always been a passion and she never tires of nosying around gorgeous homes, whether on TV, online, in print or in person.
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