How to decorate your rental – without losing your deposit!

Deposits can be pretty hefty, and a serious cause of stress when you’re a young renter. The main reason that tenants tend to lose their deposit is because of cleaning, followed by a lack of maintenance, such as overgrown gardens. The third biggest reason for deposit deductions is direct damage to the property and its contents. Most of these are fairly easy to fix before moving out – having a big house clean or tidy up of the garden should be quite feasible. If you really want to avoid any deposit deductions, then you can get contents insurance from Urban Jungle, which comes with Tenants Liability Insurance included – it covers you against accidental damage caused by you to your landlord’s things!

As for direct damage to the property and its contents, it’s important to know the difference between damage and “wear and tear”. You’re not liable for wear and tear, and that shouldn’t be deducted from your deposit, so if your landlord’s ancient sofa dies from old age, that isn’t on you. If you spill your dinner over the new sofa, or fall into the banister rail and break it, then that’s your fault.

Without further ado, here are some cheap and easy ways to make your rental feel like home, without pissing off your landlord!

#1 – Plants

Plants can instantly transform a lifeless and drab room into a vibrant and zen space. There are hundreds of varieties, many of which only cost a couple of pounds, so you can mix and match to your heart’s content. Whether you prefer a beautiful bouquet, a low-effort succulent, or a mini herb garden in your kitchen, there’s a plant out there for you. They look great everywhere, from bedrooms to living rooms to bathrooms, and clean the air while they’re at it!

A potted plant is easy to place in the room – it can go on any flat surface, including the floor, so you can move it around as much as you like without having to buy new furniture, aside from the occasional new pot if you want to shake things up. This also makes them ideal for if you move, as you can take your plant with you wherever you go. In terms of deposit stress, you won’t be getting any sleepless nights here – so long as you don’t break a pot and get soil everywhere, they’re pretty neat.

#2 – Throws and blankets

Throws and blankets serve two purposes – they can give the room more personality, and they also come in extremely handy when it’s cold. They’re versatile, so can decorate a sofa, be used as a tablecloth, go on the walls as a hanging, or just be kept near in case you need warming up. A throw comes in particularly handy if you don’t like your landlord’s furniture and want to cover it up or make it more comfortable. You can also be seasonal with your blankets, and save the extra warm ones for winter, and bring out some lighter, more colourful ones in Summer.

#3 – Posters and pictures

Just because you’re not allowed to drill holes in the walls doesn’t mean you can’t have posters or pictures up! There are a lot of ways to get around this. If you’re lucky, your building will have picture rails, so all you need to do is hang some hooks and attach wire to your frames. If not, you need only prop your frames against the wall, or use a non-stick hook. Art prints can do wonders for giving a room more character, and can be bought cheaply online or at markets. Alternatively, putting up your own photos can instantly make a rental feel more like your home. All you need for this is picture frames which have their own stand.

#4 – Be thoughtful about furniture placement

You don’t need to be a feng shui expert to arrange a room nicely. Don’t assume that the landlord’s laid out the room in the best possible way when you move in – they likely haven’t put much thought into it. Simply moving a sofa or bookcase can make a huge difference to the look and feel of the room. If you’ve got a small place, you want to create the illusion of space, and making the room easy to move about in can do just that. Rearranging furniture to make the most of the natural light in the room is also key, it will make the room feel bigger, and will most likely improve your mood as well.

#5 – Use rugs to cover up ugly flooring

This one’s fairly simple – if you’re not a fan of the flooring, cover it up! Although rugs can get pretty expensive, you can also find great value ones online, either at places like IKEA or on second hand sites like eBay. Having rugs can also be great in winter as it helps to insulate the floors.

#6 Don’t be afraid to introduce new items

As a renter, you often want to keep your baggage to a minimum. That being said, don’t be afraid to build up a collection of furniture or objects that you really like – you can keep it small, maybe only a blanket, some books, or even your favourite mug. It might be that you already have some things you always bring with you, but you can also check out what’s available on sites like eBay, Gumtree, Etsy or FreeCycle – or check out your local charity shop or market. Having one or two things which are genuinely ‘yours’ can help make you feel at home, and make the place feel less like an IKEA showroom.

It’s easy to feel like a passenger at your rental instead of a resident, but that’s easier to fix than you might think. You might not be able to paint the walls or change the furniture, but you can give the place your own touch really easily. If you’re worried about having too much stuff, a lot of the suggestions above also serve a function, such as keeping you warm in winter, cleaning the air, or making your rental brighter. You don’t need to make any big investments in terms of space or money, and you can do everything while staying on your landlord’s good side!