Have you seen Sarah Akwisombe's stunning home on the cover of our latest issue of HomeStyle? If you have, you'll know how beautiful her interior's are - and if you haven't, be sure to take a look! Highly resourceful, Sarah's compiled some super tips for Weroom blog to help all of you renters out there to make the place you're renting seem like home, by injecting some personality into your home.
When you live a flatshare, or any rented home, the changes you can make are often limited. If you don’t want to risk losing your deposit and you don’t have a huge budget to spend it can be hard to add a personal touch to your room. Sometimes landlords may not be overly keen for you to redecorate, even though a refresh may actually make the property more appealing in the long run. Bare in mind tastes are different and changes you make may not be the next tenants first choice.
Weroom has teamed up with interior designer Sarah Akwisombe to give you some inspiration.
So here are her ideas on how to brighten up your home with little risk and little budget:
1. Artwork – Pimp your walls damage free!
“A gallery wall is such a cool way to instantly brighten up your pad, and Command 3m strips can make it happen, damage free. The strips are like Velcro that stick onto the wall via an adhesive back. I know it sounds a bit dodgy, but the genius part is that it has some kind of wizardry that allows you to remove the strip and leave ZERO residue. Alternatively, frame large scale pieces of art and prop them up on a sideboard or surface for a contemporary look. Want to go bigger? SurfaceView.com offer very large format ‘epic posters’ that can be blue tacked to the wall to create a big statement without the permanent commitment.”
2. Washi Tape – The easiest way to transform your room.
“Washi tape originates from Japan and is like masking tape but way cooler! It comes in a variety of colours and patterns and the only limit here is your imagination. It’s really easy to peel off so can be used to highlight areas with great effect. Think about blue tacking pictures to the wall and then framing them with washi tape. What about lining the inside of a door frame or even the door itself? Personally, I enjoy creating graphic wall murals that can totally transform a room. Here’s your chance to get really creative and have fun with it.”
3. Lighting – Brighten up your home!
“So much can be achieved purely with lighting. I once read a quote from Aaron Rose that summed it up – “In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary”. As a rule of thumb in interior design we recommend that each room should have 5-8 light sources. If you have space, work in a floor lamp that’s both decorative and casts a nice glow in the room. Table lamps also help to add another layer, and candles can be great for mood and atmosphere. I personally love LED strips. Readily available and affordable, they are the perfect way to backlight something to add interest and depth. Try the back of a TV for instance, to create a cosy glow when watching a movie at nighttime. Also check with your landlord if you would be allowed to change lampshades or light fittings, as this can be a great way to add a little bit of personality.”
4. Retro furniture – Make your place unique with some oldschool bargains.
“I’m a big fan of retro furniture. I think people can see a typical style in their heads when the word ‘retro’ is banded about, but don’t let that put you off. Modern furniture at the moment is very influenced by midcentury Scandinavian design, so you’re likely to find lines and shapes that occur in off the shelf pieces at a fraction of the price. Not only that, they will add interesting depth to your place and provide much needed storage that can sometimes be off limits if you can’t (for instance) put up shelves. Head over to eBay and get browsing. You’ll be shocked at some of the bargain prices available!”
5. Accessories – Details are a big deal.
“Get accessorizing like mad! A few well placed ornaments and objet d’art (if you want to get all fancy with it) can provide interesting focal points and conversation starters. Interesting accessories don’t need to cost the earth either, try scouring vintage markets or charity shops for unique pieces that have a history. You can also pick up inexpensive bits on the high street too, check out places like H&M home, Zara Home or West Elm to add a bit of chic cool that can distract from the areas you don’t want to focus on.”
6. Soft furnishings – Get cozy!
“Curtains / window dressings are a bit overlooked in most rentals but can add a lot of drama and comfort to a space. If you already have a curtain pole up then it’s very easy to switch out the landlords curtains with a fresher more contemporary pair that are to your taste. Cushions and throws also go a long way when it comes to diverting your attention from less interesting walls, and again the high street shops have a fab selection of modern prints, patterns and fabrics that can update your interior instantly.”
7. Peel off wallpapers or stickers – No commitments here.
“If paint or artwork alone won’t satisfy your creative cravings then investigate the newly established temporary wallpapers and stickers. Born with the rental market in mind, these peel off papers are super easy to apply and peel off after use like a sticky label with virtually no residue. The wallpaper is still quite a new thing to market, so you may have to do some research around which companies offer wallpaper that won’t leave marks. Wall stickers are much more common though and there are loads of great options out there. As a concept I think it’s a great idea and really allows you the creative freedom to go all out, even when renting.”
8. Plants – Fresh air and endless choices.
“Greenery is huge right now. The indoor plant has really made its comeback and the variety on offer can make for a really fun display. From cacti and succulents to towering Edwardian style palms there really is something for everyone. Use smaller little plants in bathrooms and kitchens to liven them up. Bigger indoor plants like palms or monsterosa can cover up boring corners or unsightly bunches of wires. Most of all, plants breathe life into a room that can seem stale, helping it to feel fresh and homely.”
9. Paint – Go colorful!
“Ok, I know not every renter is allowed to paint walls, but it’s worth asking your landlord if you could do it on the basis that you will paint them back to the original colour on leaving. Painting is a fairly inexpensive way to dramatically change a room’s style and vibe, and it doesn’t take too long either. If they’re ok with it ensure that you really go overboard with protecting surfaces and flooring. Plastic sheets can be bought from local DIY shops (layer up to be absolutely certain you won’t leave any marks) and use masking tape to tape off windows, skirting and anything else that could be ruined with a stray splash of paint.”
10. Rugs – Warm feet and lower bills. It’s a win-win situation.
“When I moved into my second rental the landlord had decided that floor tiles (yep, the type found in 70s office blocks) were an acceptable look. Obviously as a creative they drove me mad, but rather than ripping them up and paying my own cash to have the floor replaced I instead invested in a large, patterned rug that would cover most of the floor space and provide a healthy distraction from the unsightly tiles below. There are many benefits other than distraction though, such as the added insulation, which will keep your room warm and as you own the rug you can take it on to your next place or eventually your own home.”
Tutorial and images are courtesy of Weroom and Sarah Akwiombe