Ways to make your rented flat a home

When living in a rented flat — or even a rented room in a shared house — it’s usually difficult to make any major changes to make the place feel livable and yours.

Here are five ways that you can improve the feel of the rooms in your rented flat.

Think about balance

A room feels more pleasant if it has a sense of balance. That means that the colours and furniture in the room should not all be bunched up together.

This can be especially the case for rented properties, where there is nothing fixed to the walls and often a lot of large, white (or cream!) space.

Try to avoid grouping all light coloured things at eye level, and all dark-coloured things at floor level.

This means, for example, to avoid dark coloured low sofas against un-decorated white walls.

Mix and match colours at all eye levels to maintain a sense of balance.

Maintain proportion in your furniture choices

The proportions of furniture should match the size of the room. Placing a huge sofa in a small room will make the space feel cramped.

Pick a sofa that will leave plenty of breathing space around it, and will not dominate the room.

If you have wooden floors, show them off. Allow the light to catch the wood and reflect off it. This will increase the sense of space.

Soften hard edges and contrasting colours

If you have a lot of hard edges in the appearance of your room, or if you have a lot of dark furniture with white walls, then you can reduce the harsh appearance of these with soft furnishings. Use throws, rugs and lampshades to subtly alter the appearance of the room, by adding texture and colour.

You can throw a rug underneath your sofa or coffee table, or pick a lamp with a textured, light-filtering shade.

For example, if you have a dark coloured sofa — perhaps one you can’t throw away — add lighter coloured throws and scatter cushions to break up the solid dark colour.

Add greenery with plants

Plants are inexpensive and add immediate colour to any room.

Choose architectural types such as yucca (which is always easily obtainable from IKEA!) or a palm.  These can add real interest to an unloved corner.

Combine them with a sleek planter like the Design Project by John Lewis No.160 Indoor Planter.

Some plants, such as mother-in-law’s tongue, thrive happily in low light conditions — which is perfect if you’ve got a limited track record of success in keeping houseplants.

Add art or furniture at eye level

Add something to help break up the open expanses of walls. For many people, this means adding art, such as posters or prints.

To avoid the feeling of being in a student flat, choose to frame your prints. Blu-tack’d posters is not a great look.

If you can’t fix things to the walls, then pick a nice tall floor lamp which will direct the eyes away from large, undecorated walls. Or, add a tall plant such as a large palm, or an indoor tree like a weeping fig.


Whatever you choose to go with, less is definitely more when furnishing a rented apartment. You don’t need to splurge on furnishings. A few carefully selected pieces will last you for a very long time.

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