So you live in rented digs. You can’t paint the walls or pull up the carpet lest you face the wrath of your landlord and a lot of the time it feels like the home you’re in doesn’t do a great job of reflecting you, or comforting you in tougher times. Living in a temporary home or rented room can cramp your style, especially if you’re a creative person with a big vision for the space you want live in.
Sadly, if you’re renting, you won’t be able to make any massive changes to your home, but you can make some small, smart ones in order to transform your space from a beige box into an eclectic wonderland, a cosy snug or minimalist Scandi-Inspired sanctuary. I looked to my friends at Cox & Cox, a wonderful UK indie store of gorgeous handpicked pieces, for a few tips, bits and tricks to help with making your rental look more than just a little happier and homelier.
Soft furnishings give a room character
Believe it or not, rugs, throws and cushions lend a room way more personality than wall colour ever could. I happen to think soft tones and textures are great for making your surroundings seem cosier and more welcoming. Plus, whatever colour your walls and floor are, a few tactfully-chosen pillowcases and fluffy blankets are a great basis for whatever theme or look you choose.
If eclectic and boho is up your street, but your space is small and a bit magnolia try this beautiful Beni Ourain-inspired runner rug for size. Or, if you love a pop of colour, my favourite Cox & Cox floor covering is the Ophelia rug, a striped beauty in perfect shades of blue and pink. Lastly, perfect for resting your feet on, doubling up as an extra chair or a place to stack those books and mags you’re reading, this soft Chunky Knit Mini Stool made from pure wool and eucalyptus wood is a perfect example of a classic piece made modern and great for lending a small space a cosy vibe.
Make your bedroom a special space
Your bedroom is your sanctuary so transforming it from a cluttered space with somebody else’s personality all over it into a relaxing place that feels like home is vital to your sense of wellbeing. Over the years, I’ve learnt that a well-placed cushion can really soften a room and endow it with a sense of character, if a temporary one. A brilliant mix of my favourite tones and textures, these velvet and linen blush-pink cushions are the ones for me; and if pink isn’t your fave they come in other colours too.
Seeing as your bed will be at the centre of this space, consider that bed linen can make a huge impact on how you perceive a room. Pick yours totally selfishly and go for all the colours and textures you love. I’m particularly taken with this grey linen set, which feels wonderful on your skin in the summer months. Anything that stacks and features neutral wood tones is always a good idea for a bedroom too. Space saving and Scandinavian, these pretty Lina Side Tables are perfect for the side of the bed and feature a handy lip to stop your phone or glass of water toppling off during the night.
Make your storage count
Storing all your clutter can be a pain in a rented home. It’s not like you can start installing walk-in wardrobes willy-nilly so being smart about storage is always a good idea. If you’re the sort of person who often finds that a floordrobe can take place of neatly-organised piles of clothes, I suggest trying out a set of Ladder Shelves. Their clever use of negative space means they won’t obstruct too much of a wall and they’re the perfect place to hang clothes, throws, towels, linen and more.
And for all the other stuff? A beautiful woven basket looks pretty decorative but is also the perfect vessel for storing just about anything. I love this set of three woven baskets in natural shades. Ten times better than a set of stacked plastic boxes and infinitely more good looking. Store books, tech, toys, craft supplies, even your dirty laundry in this lovely trio and you might start feeling a little better about the way your room looks.
Bring in some green
Plant pots and vases, real plants and fake ones too; these are great if you’re a busy person or live in a home or room that doesn’t get much sun during the day. Cox & Cox’s collection of faux plants is super convincing and certainly had me fooled. To kick off your collection of imitation greens, give this wee Potted Aloe a go. If you’re a little more green-fingered and can keep your house plants in good shape, I recommend an injection of grey concrete by way of this duo of planters.
Concrete might seem a little heavy an industrial for a home, but it’s great for balancing textures and preventing your space from looking too soft and fluffy. Plus, it’s a material having a moment with just about every interiors trend featuring it in some shape or form. Flowers and sprays of green foliage are a joy in any space and can lend your room a breath of fresh air. Whatever you pick, just make sure you have a lovely vase to do them justice. Keep the concrete vibe going with the Milo Vase, one of our favourite pieces on the Cox & Cox site.
Invest in decorative pieces
If your budget is tight and investing in furniture isn’t for you, play off those lovely linens and cosy cushions with a few beautiful things that you feel really showcase the character of the place you want to call home. Metallic accents are a great way to lend a room a little pizzaz and mirrors, like this jazzy vintage-style number, can really brighten and enlarge a space.
I also love this light, white ceramic bowl, great for keeping jewellery, your keys, or keepsakes in. Though, perhaps if light and white is less your thing and mood lighting’s more up your street, try these brushed copper candlesticks. Copper is really having a moment and looks so warm against soft pinks and greys by candlelight. All these pieces really give a sense of depth, shade and light so are great for making a big impact in a small way. So there you have it, little by little, no matter the colour of the walls, with a few bright ideas you can make any house a home.