Don’t let renting cramp your style

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PA Photo/Handout
Our home should be a place where we can truly feel ourselves - but millions of us are living in someone else’s property.

Tenants have to cope with decor choices that aren’t theirs and landlords’ rules on what they can and cannot do to rooms. To add to the frustration - especially for decor divas - current spiralling house prices mean it could be years before many can make the giant financial leap onto the property ladder.

After living in 12 rented homes, Joanna Thornhill knows exactly what it’s like to “have a sinking heart as you look at wallpaper that doesn’t appeal and furniture that’s seen better days, and to be unable to make even basic cosmetic alterations”.

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She has come to the rescue with her new book, Home For Now, which bursts with inspiring ideas, practical advice, projects and tips to transform rooms without breaking the rules or busting the budget. It’s just as suitable for those who are nesting temporarily in their first-bought house or flat, before investing in their ‘forever’ home.

“I’ve found through personal experience and through visiting a range of homes for the book, that rather than feeling burdened by the challenges of living in a place that cannot really be changed, it’s possible to be empowered by those circumstances.

“Underwhelming or disheartening spaces can be transformed with a bit of creativity, imagination and a minimal outlay. Small changes, easy DIY projects and a little reorganisation can make a space you’ll truly love that you’ll be proud to call home.”

Follow her suggestions for rescuing rented spaces, and you’ll find you don’t want your tenancy to end!

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Boring walls - especially in an unappealing shade - can really impact on the atmosphere of a home. “Don’t be daunted, with a little thinking outside the box there’s no reason why patterned walls can’t be a part of any home, without breaking any of your tenancy rules,” says Thornhill.

Pictures and photos instantly personalise a space but hanging these up can be a problem if the landlord will object to potential damage of walls from hooks and nails.

“Removable wall stickers, and increasingly, removable murals and even wallpapers have risen in popularity in recent years,” says Thornhill.

Make the most of paint leftovers or tester pots and create your own inexpensive artwork with a cheap canvas. Dab on different colours to create an abstract pattern, or echo colours which are already featured in the room. Lean against a wall on a shelf or centre-stage on a mantel, or use to cover up a fire place.