Make Your (Temporary) Mark on a Rented Room
Nahhh… this is not a list of lame ‘tips’ that you actually already knew. We’ll whizz past ‘use bluetack instead of nails to hang pictures’ and dive straight into the bracing depths of washi tape, printable bunting, and how to rummage-in-a-skip-to-find-a-slatted-door-to-repaint-and-use-as-an-epic-storage-wall. Oh yes we will. Here’s how to spice up bland rented-room décor while keeping your landlord as sweet as pie :)
Pardon, whati tape? - Jazzy Japanese sellotape. You can stick it straight onto walls, and it comes in squillions of incredible patterns and humming colours. If you’re feeling arty-farty, create a design around a door or a geometric mash-up behind your bed head as wall art. Otherwise, frame blue-tacked photographs or posters with it – and not just one! Create a cluster of different sized photos and posters, use different tapes: black, white, checked, striped, spotty…
But wait for it... the best bit is yet to come! It really is ridiculously easy to remove, and that’s what makes it just perfect for your rented room.
Courtesy: Ricota Não Derrete
Snaffle up higgledy-piggledy jam jars of different shapes and sizes to keep whatever you like in: hairbands, tea bags, or the contents of the would-be man drawer (if only you had a spare drawer), and store them on shelves. It’s all about poundland and those odd little kitchenware-come-hardware shops where you’ll find jars and pots, boxes and baskets, all extremely cheaply. Using things you already own to ‘decorate’ your rented room will make the place feel comfortingly ‘you’.
A rug brings brightness and comfort – temporarily! Just whisk it away when you need to move on, or if you get bored with it, swap it for another Persian delight on Swapz. Swapz is similar to freecycle, but instead of just giving away your old stuff and perhaps collecting someone else’s, you swap belongings. A rug for a rug. For a full explanation of the wonders of freecycle see furnish you flatshare for free.
If sewing’s an absolute no-go, then A Thrifty Mrs has some incredible printable templates. And stop right now thinking that bunting’s for little children or old ladies – you’ve clearly not yet seen this garland of watermelon slices.
However, if sewing IS your thing, then keep your eye out for fabuloso fabrics in shops and at markets. Chop your findings into triangles using pinking shears (those scissors your grandma has with the wiggly zigzag blades), and sew them on to a piece of ribbon. Hang the bunting between corners of your room to rekindle a festival feeling.
Curtains are easily removed, swapped for your own, and then the old ones rehung when it’s time to move out. Thick curtains not only muffle car honks and crying babies, but also choosing a chirpy print puts your stamp on the room, temporarily, of course.
You’ve made it as a young professional in the Big Smoke, but now you’re pining for your childhood green green garden. Solution: a plant or a bright bunch of flowers to plonk on the kitchen table.
Courtesy: Mary Marcher
If you’re not a ‘flower person’ (who is one of those, anyway?), or need to leach a little enthusiasm from a flower-fanatic, try Columbia Road Flower Market. Seriously, go. You WILL find something you love.
TABLECLOTH, TEATOWELS & A CROCKERY COCKTAIL
As for kitchen crockery: mix it, muddle it. Switch up different patterns and colours. Like one plate at this market, one bowl at that? - buy them both! Everything’s mix and match, and meant to be like that. Plus, if something breaks in transit between flats, you haven’t lost a part of a set that you’ll never find again. There was no set. Combine this cocktail with a bright, vintage, or bold tablecloth and even the flattest of kitchens will fizz over.
Courtesy: Mary Marcher
Dudes, a lamp. They’re oh-so cheap: Ikea, Argos, markets, charity shops, your parents’ attic… do we have to spell it out? The YMCA charity shop at Kings Walk Shopping Centre is a homeware haven; or if you’re out East then take a dip in the Oxfam shop on Kingsland Road – one of the biggest charity shops in London!
Do you long for hooks to hang pots, pans and utensils from in your weeny kitchen? Dream of a mounted magnetic strip for knives, or to be able to perfectly align your pictures on nails? All those things you thought you could never have in your renting life, with this organisation station, you can.
First, find a slatted door that fits the space you’ve got. You’ll be leaning it up against a wall, so make sure it’s sturdy and really the right size for the job. Look on freecycle, at the tip, at recycling centres, in furniture charity shops.
Second, clean and paint the door, just how you like it. For advice on the perfect paint type, and how to get a crisp colourpop dip, hop over to C.R.A.F.T.
Now hang hooks straight from the slats, and for the magnetic strip and picture nails, invite your dad over to do a bit of drilling. Choose storage devices that work for your kitchen situation: you could try tea towel rails, or small wire rack trays to store sandwich bags, pegs, or spices in. Whatever you need to find a home for, find one on the door-that’s-not-a-door-anymore!
Written by: Flora Blower