Get it covered
David Cormack (cormarcarpets.co.uk) says: ‘A new carpet is an inexpensive way of refreshing a room. Swapping a tired old carpet will have enormous impact and make rooms more up-to-date, fresher and look cleaner. Remember, grey is here to stay. Easy on the eye, it’s a staple in many interior design schemes. Lead, stone and silver look great when mixed with complementary hues such as blush pinks, sunny yellows, icy blues, or even layered with other shades. Look out for Cormar’s Soft Focus in Starlight, Sensation in Basalt or Apollo Elite in Grey Partridge (pictured above).’
Tape it easy
Russell Whitehead (above, left, with partner Jordan Cluroe) from design studio 2LG (2lgstudio.com) says: ‘Try using decorative Washi tape on your walls. It is a new product that comes in hundreds of colours and different widths, so you can create your own graphic impact on your walls without damaging paintwork. We use Haru Stuck-On Design. It is easy to use, and you can get really creative with borders or diagonal stripes.’
Fiona Barratt (fionabarrattinteriors.com) says: ‘Make a statement with artwork and accessories. Choosing brightly-coloured and textural artwork and objects can help make a space feel vibrant and energetic, as well as distracting attention away from the less desirable areas of the rented space. Websites such as Degree Art (degreeart.com) are brilliant for sourcing affordable artwork. It acts as a platform for university graduates to display their pieces.’
Show it off
Stylist and art expert Gabriella Khalil says: ‘Shelving is a great way to transform a bland wall into an interesting and thoughtful space. Shelves can act as a perfect backdrop for your home library or collection of objects. When I am trying to elevate an interior, I tend to stay away from too many personal photo frames and focus on combining interesting books, sculptural decor pieces and fun artwork instead. Alternatively, add interesting fabric inlays to create a focal feature and completely transform the wall.’ Gabriella suggests the brass cylinder flying shelf from Ferm. gabriellakhalil.com
Chanel de Kock from thejoyofplants.co.uk says: ‘When your rental comes with restrictions like being unable to drill holes or make permanent alterations, plants offer a temporary dimension. Plants help to relieve stress, but also clean the air by removing toxins. They can change the climate, as they evaporate water to cool themselves and their surrounding environment, a process called transpiration, so can keep your property cool, too.’ Ficus elastica (rubber plant) and Ficus lyrata (fiddle-leaf fig, pictured) are jungle plants that can handle the heat.
Sculpt your style
Daniel Lee-Jacobs (pictured above) is director of ArtsHaus (artshaus.co.uk): ‘Think about sculptures and ceramics. Small sculptures, decorative bowls and plates, or coloured/cut glass can make fantastic additions which bring personality. While inexpensive, they’re still full of character and elegance and are easily transported for the inevitable move.’
‘Most rental flats are furnished in a way that will not offend,’ says Harriet Forde (hf-design.co.uk). ‘The upside is that it becomes a canvas for your personality. The most fun way to do this is removable wallpaper. There are a myriad of styles from stripes to old bricks. Take them down without damaging the walls when it’s time to hand back the keys.’ Try the banana leaf wallpaper (pictured) from Esty (etsy.com/uk).
‘Think out of the box,’ says Naunain Ahmad, creative director of interior design firm Collage Consultants (collageconsultants.co.uk). ‘Look out for second-hand vintage furniture like 1960s chairs as accents, or buy an old statement lamp to blend with a contemporary sofa. Always go for cheaper stuff as you don’t know when you will have to move, or whether the new place will accommodate your favorite pieces or not. Add a free-standing mirror or a large piece of art to add colour.’
Stick with it
Interior designer Kia Stanford (kiadesigns.co.uk) says: ‘Not allowed to put up artwork because you can’t put holes in the wall? Try Sugru (sugru.com), it can hold quite a bit of weight and doesn’t mark walls. It means you can live out your gallery dreams without the anxiety of a big bill at the end of your tenancy. Still want to push things a little further? Try magnetic paint — it’s completely clear and can turn an entire wall into the best note board. Shh, no one will ever know.’
Jayson Branch (pictured above), creative director at Castrads (castrads.com) says: ‘Boilers, especially in kitchens, can be an eyesore and if you are in rented property, there isn’t a lot you can do with it. A practical way to cover it is by constructing an MDF surround with just a top, front and sides to it. It sits on top of the boiler and can be removed when access is needed. Paint the MDF with chalkboard or magnetic paint for use as a noticeboard so it becomes a multi-tasking, useful household item.’