How to make rental accommodation actually look good

It is no secret that London property prices are in a league of their own, which forces a lot of people to rent. The problem with that, is that some (not all) London landlords care about one thing and one thing only – money. The cost of rent is often over half of a persons salary but the standard of accommodation, more often than not, doesn’t quite reflect that price. The walls are often peeling or in need of touching up, carpets can be threadbare, mildew stained bathrooms and kitchens that need 1000 bottles of bleach thrown at them.

Ok, ok so not all flats are THAT bad, but they are decorated in a more practical than attractive fashion. When we moved, I looked at about 12 truly terrible places before somehow managing to find ours which is small but at least it is neutrally decorated.

We have gone from a house which we designed ourselves, to three rooms. This is typical of London or other big cities and part of every day life. Obviously this does automatically define certain limits to how much we can do to it as you can’t knock down walls, replace bathrooms or often even paint walls, but don’t fear! There are certain things which you can do!

Personalise it where possible. Create the kind of atmosphere you want in a home. If that is a hygge/scandi feel then use that colour palette of woods, neutrals and maybe even some eucalyptus which always looks fab. If you want a cosy feel then don’t be too precious, rather, add cushions, rugs, candles and fairy lights. For those of you more edgy than I am – go nuts! Add art to the walls (just make sure you use no nails or something that doesn’t mark the walls), bold colours and don’t be afraid to mismatch.

Whatever your style, you will probably need to think smart about storage. If are in need of more hanging space and you can bare it, I am a huge fan of the exposed hanging rails which you could either make yourself or get from suppliers such as Etsy or Not On The High Street.


Threadbare carpets? No problem! You can get rugs so cheaply these days from everyday shops such as Homesense or IKEA. For something a little more luxurious then faux fur rugs can cover any patchiness or stains in smaller areas where a whole rug may not look right.

Our flat barely gets any direct sunlight which can make it seem really dull. You often can’t be picky about which aspect your house/flat faces, so try to embrace it and add candles or funky lamps in the corners to create a nice glow instead of more harsh lighting.

The majority of flats in London don’t have much of a garden, if any at all! I’m not much of a gardener, but indoor plants or window boxes are great, you can even grow herbs in them. Some plants are excellent air cleansers and look great at the same time – try Patch Garden who are able to tell you exactly what plant will be best suited for the area you want it. Takes the stress out of plant buying and your urban jungle is delivered to your door with lifetime care support!


Finally, this is an obvious but not always feasible one – go part furnished/unfurnished. This automatically allows you to put in good pieces of furniture such as coffee tables, beds and feature chairs. Coughing up the money to buy these all new can be expensive, but if you already have a few of those pieces knocking around then it is definitely worth it.

I know I’m not preaching anything new here, but sometimes when you think something is too ugly for redemption, there is normally something that can be done! Have you got any other tips for me which have got you through making your rental home your own style?

Rosie x

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