Personalising a rented flat

These days there are more people like myself heading toward their 30’s with no prospects of owning their own home.  A mixture of circumstances has left us millennials struggling to gain the kind of assets our parents had at our age. For myself, living in London, it doesn’t even seem like a distance probability.

The prospect of long term renting can be both daunting and restricting, especially when you want to live somewhere that feels like your own.  Living in a flat where you have to ask permission before you even hang a picture is disheartening, but there are still ways you can make your rental space feel like your own.  Here are a few things I am doing to make our flat a personal space.

Play with colour in your decorative items

This is the one thing I get the most joy out of with out flat the most.  Ok so you can’t choose the wall colour or the curtains, but you can still use personal items that add colour to complement or contrast each other and bring a real sense of personality to your home.  I’m loving the turquoise elements of our living room, and the mint green and pastel pinks of our kitchen.  The bathroom is a traditional nautical style with blues and whites used in our accessories to bring some life into the plain white room.

Lighting , lighting, lighting

I don’t think there is anything that can make a difference to any home more than good lighting.  Maybe it’s the old lighting engineer in me but I am very serious when it comes to lighting, it’s the first thing I take note of when hunting for a place to live.

The first thing you need to do is make the most of any natural light you have available. Our flat has a nice large skylight in the kitchen and a smaller one in the living room, but when we moved in they were both covered in algae on the outside.  I made it my mission to find a way of cleaning them (we live on the top floor so not the easiest thing to do) and it made such a big difference!  Finding a way to hold back curtains can help natural light get in, it’s amazing what a big difference it can make to a room.
Now this is the UK so natural light isn’t always available unfortunately.  My old boss told me she never puts on overhead lighting, preferring instead the warm and homely effects of lamps instead.  I was looking for a couple of lamps to do exactly that when Valuelights got in touch to ask if I wanted to try a couple of their products.  I chose the Tripod Floor Lamp in copper with a white shade for the living room (a very blog-friendly colour combo) and the Industrial Style Fishermen’s Touch Table lamp in brass (the copper had sold out) for the bedroom.  Often I find that I use these lamps now and nothing else, it definitely does make for a nicer, warmer light that transforms our flat into a cosy retreat. The standing lamps tri-corner design has a 50’s/ atomic vibe to it that I continue throughout the flat, where as the vintage design of the Fisherman’s lamp makes a real talking point.

Candles might not give out much light but they are another way of bringing warmth into a home and can really bring a space together. Along with the added scents and colours that match any room I almost can’t live without them!

Inject your personality onto the walls

Adding your own unique items to the walls where you can makes any space feel like your own.  Our flat, like many others, has a stipulation that we can’t drive any nails or screws into the walls without pre-approval, so we’ve made the most out of the existing ones and let that dedicate where we place our most adored items.  Our kitchen has a 50’s vintage feel I’ve achieved by adding simple touches like this clock from Asda (that you might have seen in my vintage home wear post post) and the homemade bunting.  We have personal art prints and vintage posters that show off both of our loves.
Side note: how badass is this floral stag?  I placed it in the entryway to our flat and It’s so unique I adore it, I added the lights I got in my Hygge Kit to add a bit of warmth.

Invest in good storage

When you are living in a flat, especially in a city like me, storage space can be the hugely important, otherwise your home will just look like a cluttered mess!  This is particularly prevalent for myself and my partner who are both mild hoarders at heart.  We are lucky that our flat has loft space, but when things need to be reached with ease it isn’t really practical (especially as I am too short reach it!).  We recently bought some storage from Wilko’s that was not only cheap and practical but also fit with our nautical aesthetic.  It’s filled with bath bombs, spare bottles of shampoo, conditioner and all the other items we don’t need our visitors to see.  It makes the rest of the home neater, and adds style too. Plus none of it is fixed, so it can come with us when we move.

Things I’d like to add

Our flat is a work in progress, I know what both myself and my partner like in a home and I wanted it to represent us both, but I had no grand plan for making it come together. We just save up and get things when we can.  Here are a few things I’d like to get when I see the right eventually:


Like so many rented flats ours has hard flooring throughout. While this is great for keeping things clean it is not as cosy as having carpets and hard on the feet.  I’d really love to get a couple of rugs to bring some colour and softness into the rooms.

Removable wallpaper

This is something I only came across recently but I think it’s such a great idea!  It’s exactly as it sounds, wallpaper that adheres to your wall then just peels off when it needs to be removed, leaving no residue!  Our flat has this yellow colour in some rooms that I really don’t like, and covering up a wall or two with this would look fab, and we could take it with us to our next flat!  I think it would make a great background for Youtube videos too.

So there you have just a few of my ideas, but if you have any of your own tips you want to share please pop them in the comments below, I am always looking for ways to rejuvenate our spaces!

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