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Decorating In A Rental Property: The Dos And Dont’s

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We all love to express ourselves and highlight what makes us who we are. Individuality is an essential part of being human and whether it’s our choice of clothes, car or living spaces, we all have our own way of letting our personality shine.

Adding flair to your living space is an important process when settling into a rental, not only for expressing individuality, but also for your wellbeing, as it has been shown to boost your mood and productivity. In fact, research shows that poor mental health can be significantly improved by interior decorating. 

Making a rental property tailored to your personal style can be a daunting task, one with many hurdles. Fussy landlords, frustrating rules and a lack of ownership as a renter can all throw a spanner in the works when decorating your interior. Some landlords are stricter than others so it’s important to have a solid grasp of what you can and can’t do when moving in. Normally, a list of conditions is included in your rental contract, but if you’re ever in doubt, the best course of action is to check with your landlord before your start hammering nails into the walls. Don’t make any assumptions or try to lie, or you could be faced with a withheld deposit further down the line!

There’s a certain level of restraint always required when renting, even when you want to show your creative side. Don’t make any permanent changes to the interior fittings of the property. You don’t own it and will have to return it to its original state when you leave, so no extensions, new wallpaper or walk-in wardrobes, please!

Some landlords can be flexible with wall features, so you may be able to drill some holes to hang art or pictures, but again, you should always check with them first. If your flat is unfurnished, be as creative as you want with furnishings, as long as it doesn’t damage the property and can be easily removed at the end of your tenancy.

If you’re dealing with a particularly scrupulous landlord, you may need to be a little more creative with personalising your interior. Lucky for you, we’ve made a handy list of ideas for interior decorating when under strict rules.

Welcome to the jungle
House plants are scientifically proven to have mental health benefits and after all, who doesn’t love to walk into a room and see a bit of luscious foliage? Cacti, succulents and monsteras are all easy, low-commitment house plants to care for. Pair them up with some attractive ceramic pots and you will instantly spruce up your room.

Let there be light!
Are the lampshades in your new rental not to your taste? You can replace these up easily to fit your style and as long as you keep the old ones in a safe storage space, they’re easy to change back once you move. You can also easily brighten up a room by adding multiple light sources with table lamps. They are usually low cost whether you source them second-hand for brand new.

Prop it up
If your landlord is fussy about wall hangings you can easily compromise by propping art or mirrors up against the walls. You can use a desk or mantelpiece as a platform without any nails or glue. Be creative about how you can display your art in this way, or use sites like Pinterest for inspiration.

Soft furnishings
This is where you can truly get creative. Soft furnishings are the most versatile way to add heaps of character to a room. Rugs, pillows and throws will all bring colour and personality to a room and can be easily sourced from your nearest charity shop or homeware store.

The little details
The objects that have personal meaning to you are at the heart of your home. Peppering your home with relics, photographs and ornaments that relate to you is the most sure-fire way to inject personality into each room. Whether it’s your curated collection of books, favourite smelling candle (burn with caution!) or prized childhood teddy, let these objects breathe life into your home and tell the story of who you are.

Having a strict landlord doesn’t mean you’re doomed to live in a space without character. Research, resourcefulness and a little creativity will set you on your way to having an interior that really makes your house feel like a home. 

If you’re looking to rent a property, get in touch with one of our estate agents, who would be happy to provide you with more information at

About Rea Estates:

At Rea Estates, we provide award-winning services to a wide range of clients and we are highly specialised in all aspects of sales, lettings and management.

We sell, let, and manage property across the greater Belfast area and North Down. We also provide comprehensive property investment services, including property sourcing and property procurement, refurbishment and project management, and tenant sourcing and tenancy management. Our property services are entirely bespoke based entirely on the requirements of the client.