For a large part of – and becoming increasingly more likely, for the entirety of – our lives, we live in rented spaces. This is by and large a great thing for us all, it gives us the possibility of living all over the place during our lives, but there are downsides to it. Ignoring the fact that we don’t own a house, the next biggest problem is definitely decorating. Or, at least, the challenge of making the space feel personal. A place that feels like a home, although it may not be one for long. Painting walls is completely out of the question, and if you know you’re leaving in a year even rearranging feels unnecessary. So, here are a few easy fixes for how to liven up your apartment, even if it’s rented.
Focus On Lighting
Always begin with lighting. If you walk into a room and something doesn’t quite work, it’s almost always the lighting. For a rented space, it’s not worth going through the stress of fitted lights or pendants. Desk lamps and floor lamps will be your friend, particularly the Handvark Black Studio Floor Lamp. The minimal, slim-line lamp has a raw industrial look that takes inspiration from traditional photo lamps and casts a warm beam wherever it’s pointed. The fact that it’s so easy to install and so timeless in its design, it will be destined to be a focal point in your next rental property too.
If you’re looking for something a little smaller, try the Menu Black Phare LED Lamp. The functional, structural design of the Menu light has become iconic, originally designed for apartment no.50 at Le Corbusier’s ‘Cite Radieuse’ in Marseille, because it is centred around the concept of being a ‘versatile everyday companion’. Something you can rely on, then.
Invest In High-Quality Audio
Decorating a rental property has a lot of benefits that you may not think of immediately. Don’t look at decorating as less than decorating a home you own, but an opportunity that not owning affords you; so, you can focus on decorating energy into more of the fun stuff – and, more importantly, the items that will travel with you. Those special purchases don’t get more desirable than audio, especially when they look as good as the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay A9 Speaker.
The classic multi-room speaker not only looks great thanks to its slim and sculpted design, but it’s one of those special pieces that will look great no matter where you live. Plus, it works with everything too. You can easily connect wirelessly to any device and enjoy the powerful 480-watt sound in whatever colour, fabric and material that you choose.
Experiment With Soft Furnishings
Soft furnishings added around the house – in the form of bedding, cushions, rugs and throws – is the easiest way to add personality to a rented property with minimal effort. Experimenting with texture will not only make the space feel a lot homier but will also elevate the dynamism of the space through the contrast of colour, comfort and texture. One of the most important and most general rules of creating a calm space is to minimise everything. So, opt to build a base of neutral colours for soft furnishings – including a neutral coloured bedroom such as the good-looking bed linen from House Babylon or the understated designs of the Undercover Tencel Bedding.
You can adopt the same neutral colour palette across other key soft furnishings such as a Grey Nordic Knots Rug and the coordinating Design House Stockholm Knot Cushion. These key colours will form the foundation for every room – and for any other house you may move to – and after that, the smaller touches of cushions, art and accessories will add character and colour to the interior.
UndercoverPonto Tencel Complete Set£200
VifaSlate Black Helsinki Speaker£378
HANDVÄRKBlack Studio Floor Lamp£660
GEJSTBlack Nebl Large Planter£95
Design House StockholmWhite Grey Knot Cushion£105
MenuMirror Polished Brass JWDA Table Lamp£180
FeldsparWhite Stem Vase£90
Fritz HansenLacquered Ash Basket£210
NorthernDark Grey Daybe Armrest£2,545
NorthernBlack Nook Ladder£190
MenuBlack Phare LED Lamp£140 £112
Bang & OlufsenBlack / Rosewood Beoplay A9 Speaker£1,990
Rise & FallSuper Luxe 600 Full Duvet Set£149
AmalgamFerrari 250LM, Le Mans 1965 1:18 Scale Model £540
A Day's MarchOff White Lambswool Sweater £75
Add Indoor Plants
There’s no denying that natural elements like plants can bring a fair amount of variety to your home, but best of all, there’s absolutely no wall-mounting required, so there’s no stress of leaving any lasting damage. Especially, if you pick out a few low-maintenance plants and a vases like the Gejst Nebl Mega Planter. This misted, matte glass planter plays with perception, rousing curiosity in anyone that walks by. Essentially, Gejst has transformed a planter into something forward-thinking and exciting.
Consider Smart Storage Furniture
Hidden storage – or storage that is so well-designed that it doesn’t even look like storage – is a good place to start when it comes to building up a multi-functional interior. With its geometric shape and bold, graphic outline, the Northern vertical frame could pass as a sculptural focal point in the home but that would be overlooking the fact that this multi-functional design provides a holder for clothing and textiles, a stand for household accessories or a frame where pictures and lights can be attached. It’s lightweight and portable and has the special ability of keeping objects and accessories out of the way while storing them in plain view.
Utilise Art & Decoration
When it comes to looking for the right pieces of art and home decoration, the tactic is to remember you’re looking for ways to change a room that won’t impact it irreversibly. That’s why small candles, sculptures and accessories like the Fritz Hansen Basket and the Feldspar Stem Vase are real winners. The neutral colours and textured surfaces of both accessories are intriguing enough to spark attention and beautifully crafted that they will remain timeless in the face of trends and whatever the next interior you find home in.
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Looking for more design inspiration? Then check out 4 tips to make your bedroom calmer and more relaxing.