how to transform a house with a creative style and a reversible DIY


Emma Jane Palin negotiated changes to her rented home which the owners then chose to keep for future tenants (@emmajanepalin)

Making your home a home is no easy task, especially if you are one of the five UK households in rented accommodation.

According to activists from Generation Rent, over 13 million people in the UK rent their homes from a private owner, which is 20 percent of the overall population and 29 percent if you look at London alone.

With every tenancy comes the likelihood of complicated tenancies that limit the changes a tenant can make, and as I have discovered in my own time, deliver rent inner inspiration, comes the stigma that we can’t make a home our own.

But as Dylan once sang “times, they are a-changin”. The BBC’s recent “Flat Out Fabulous” saw interior designer Whinnie Williams and co-host Tyler West tending to unloved rentals across the country.

From using dust-proof sheets as curtains to spray painting antiques, the show is a lesson in how to update your rental home inexpensively, and no wall of magnolia will stop Williams and West in their quest to make rental homes fabulous.

On a daily basis, Instagram has become a hub of rental interior inspiration. Before buying my own home a few months ago, I was part of the gang, offering tips and advice to reluctant tenants who wanted to renovate their space without losing their deposit.

Thanks to Medina Grillo’s #HowIRent hashtag and my own #MyRentedAbode community, I have gained confidence over the years and have been able to dictate rental contracts on my own terms. I sanded the floors, painted the walls and removed the woodchip wallpaper. As a result, a number of the rentals I have lived in have kept the changes I made and have been able to increase the monthly rent as a result.

While I may have moved on to new ventures, if you are looking for tips on how to inject color and style into your own rental home, there is still a lot of inspiration to be found. Below, five familiar Instagram faces share their most quirky tips on decorating their rented homes. Think of this as your rental renovation 101.

Kristabel plummer


“I actually like having white walls in my house because it means I can be pretty daring in my choices,” says lifestyle content creator Kristabel Plummer. “You can definitely get creative with stylish shelving, wall decorations and upholstery. “

Her north London-based apartment is a lesson in how to decorate with color, without even looking at a paintbrush. “The IKEA Billy Bookcase is a great blank canvas to work on, especially if you don’t have fireplaces or quirky items like I do. Play with books, candles, plants, and even holiday trinkets.

Plummer’s walls are filled with artwork, and in the living room, a woven basket wall offers color, pattern, and texture. To get the look, Plummer recommends experimenting with different sizes and patterns. “I love stores like The Kenyan Crafts Company and La Basketry for all the intricate designs. The control hooks will be your friend, they can support the weight and are so easy to remove.



Convenient areas such as the kitchen and bathroom are often a common problem for tenants, with limited options for reversible changes. Step into Amara from The Pajama Hub whose house is filled with easy crafts and creative tips that go way beyond the norm. In fact, Amara has just been recruited as a B&Q Change Actor with the goal of inspiring others. “I’m inspired by Pinterest and Instagram,” says Amara. “Once I like the idea, I work out a method to bring it into my rental while making it removable.

In her bathroom, Amara created a signature geometric wall using self-adhesive tiles, finishing the look with sleek gold lighting. “The light fixtures above the mirror were glued with gorilla glue to peel and stick tiles,” she explains. “I removed the wiring from the inside to make them as light as possible. Instead of normal bulbs, I used Puck lights from Amazon, and they work with a remote control.

As Amara repeats, you shouldn’t feel limited with self-adhesive tiles. There are many options available from B&Q and Dunelm in a variety of colors and patterns. “They can be used to create a signature wall, update a tired-looking floor, renovate a boring kitchen, or add character to a staircase. “

Charlotte jacklin


Content creator and avowed flower lover Charlotte Jacklin lives in a 3 bedroom property in Lincoln. She created a fake fireplace there and recently renovated her kitchen with permission from her owner.

“I know scalloped things are very popular right now, but I also think they’re really classic, I’ve never met a scallop that I didn’t like. interiors or on my clothes, ”Jacklin says. Inspired by Matilda Goad’s scallop-garnished housewares, she got down to work improving her kitchen shelves with a reversible DIY. “Once I found the scalloped MDF trim, I knew this was it; it’s from a seller on eBay. I stuck them on the IKEA shelves we already had, before filling them and sanding them, then painted them in Lick Pink 02, the same color as the walls. I really love the way they really make anything on the shelves stand out.

In addition to asking your landlord’s permission for larger work, Jacklin advises changing the light fixtures in your home to a look that works best for you. John Lewis,, and Dunelm all have affordable, stylish, and stylish options. “Of course, when we leave, we’ll swap them. You can extend this to faucets, toilet seats and sockets, remember to keep everything in a safe place.

Zeena shah


“The easiest way my husband and I could do with our rented space was to add things that we liked to the space. My husband loves plants and started hanging them on our picture rails when we moved in, since then our indoor jungle has grown and that really makes our space unique to us.

That’s not to say Shah avoided decorating in her rented Art Deco apartment, opting instead for additions that she can easily paint. “Our room was very bare and boring in crisp white. It wasn’t very us. So, without committing to painting the entire wall, we decided to create a scalloped painted element behind the bed. It really is a fake headboard, it gives the room a focal point.

Shah recommends using trial paint cans to get the look at an affordable price, and also supports Posca pens for adding smaller details. “You can draw on a solid shade to add a unique color and pattern if you’re not ready for the walls,” she explains.

Steph kaluza


Think outside the box with your rental updates. How can you improve existing fixtures and accessories? Poorly placed radiators, with peeling paint or unidentified stains from previous tenants, are another problem for the majority of tenants.

Indoor instagramer Steph Kaluza chose to DIY her own radiator covers using a base model bought from B&Q. She removed the original center inserts and replaced them with cane straps, secured with each tenant’s best friend, the stapler.

While covering the unsightly radiators of her one-bed London apartment, the blankets also provided space for slanted prints and stylish decor.

For those less inclined to DIY, Steph recommends “making furniture the center of the room” as a great way to look away from plain walls. “Put on a high-end piece of furniture, choose a colorful coffee table or find a unique TV stand. “

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