The day we moved in!
I constantly get asked why I put so much time, energy and money into decorating a rented home that doesn’t belong to us. So I’ve been thinking about writing this blog post for a while now, but what prompted me to finally do it was a comment on one of my Instagram posts asking for help on how she can free up her mindset about decorating a rented house without always feeling that it’s someone else’s house.
If you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ll be aware of our circumstances and the reason that we rent but if not I’ll update you.
So we bought a house in Yorkshire Just over 11 years ago but after living there for two years my husband, who works in radio, got offered a position at a radio station in Newcastle so long story short we decided to up sticks and go for it. The housing market wasn’t in a great position at this point so rather than sell we decided to rent our house out and then rent up in Newcastle/Northumberland. We found a gorgeous barn conversion and stayed there for 5 years but then we wanted to be more central for schools etc so we started searching and found the perfect 5 bed, Victorian terraced house in the centre of town, with a 10 minute walk to school and shops, it was perfect. The house had previously been rented out and was in need of modernizing, the decor was not my taste. Luckily the landlords were lovely and happy for us to decorate and make changes. Here are a couple of before and after photo’s to show you the work we have done.
So when it comes to mindset here are our main considerations:
1.We’re in a great location
2. The size of the house is perfect.
3. We have happy tenants in our house, which we are in no rush to sell as we save for a more of a deposit to buy locally.
4. Our landlords are happy to rent the house out long term.
5. The landlords are very easy going and allow us to decorate the house how we like.
We knew from renting previously that 6 months soon passes, before we knew it, we had been renting for 5 years! So when we moved into this house we kind of knew we’d be staying at least 5 years. 4 of which have already flown by and none of our circumstances have changed, the kids are happy, we’re happy, so I would say we’re here for at least another 5! Can you imagine if I’d been holding out on decorating just because it was someone else’s house!!!
Would I have done so much to the house if I knew that we had definite plans to move on after 6 months? No of course not but I would still have painted. I’ve said it a million times but painting is by far the most transformative thing you can do. It gives you a great backdrop for your furniture and totally changes the vibe of the room. Our kitchen was orange and our bathroom was yellow. So at first I just painted both rooms white and it immediately transformed them back to a calmer space. The bathroom suite isn’t ideal but against white walls and some art it doesn’t look half as bad. We are very lucky as our landlords allow us to paint. However if you’re struggling with getting permission I’ve previously written a blog post to help overcome reluctant landlords which you will find here.
So I guess that’s the 1st question you have to ask yourself. How long are you going to be staying? Be realistic. Are you renting while you save for a mortgage? Are you renting due to circumstances? Maybe school catchment area? You might think it’s only going to be 6 months but as I said earlier, 6 months comes and goes so fast. If you’re likely to be in longer then does it matter if you have to buy a couple of tins of paint? Or even the odd pair of curtains? You can pick them up really cheap, so even if your cash flow isn’t great or you are saving every penny for your dream home, it only means sacrificing a meal out or a couple of bottles of wine! That’s how I look at it anyway! You don’t have to pay a decorator, just do it yourself… anyone can paint… it doesn’t have to be perfect! Then even if you move out after 6 months or a year, you won’t feel as though you’ve been living in limbo. You can pick up a 10L tub of paint for around £15, 10 Litres goes a long way.
My next piece of advice would be if you need furnitire, look for statement pieces that you will love forever. You can take them with you and they will be a great focal point in any room. Why bother buying that cheap chest of drawers or cheap bed just to “last” until you move. You’re always going to need a chest of drawers and a bed so invest in good ones that you will want to take with you when you move. I’ve made that mistake so many times where I’ve bought something to to tide us over, such a waste of money in the long run!
Everyone of us has different circumstances and more and more people are renting these days but you don’t have to put your life on hold, it doesn’t have to feel like someone else’s house. Here are a few fellow renters that you may already follow on Instagram but never even knew they rented.
Dan’s gorgeously stylish apartment. Find him at _Millergrey
Pati’s deliciously dark home. See more at Patirobins
Emma uses colour beautifully in her rented home. Find her at Emmajanepalin
Hayley has some really creative ideas to make her rented house feel like home. See more here at iamhayleystuart
I really hope this helps to free up your mindset. Life is too short to live in a home that doesn’t make you smile. I have written a whole series with lots of rental tips for tenants which you can find here. Some of the titles include, Overcoming reluctant landlords, Tips for buying curtains & blinds, 10 kitchen updates for our rental home and many more. If there are any areas that you’d specifically like me to cover then leave a message in the comments below.
If you are struggling with any area of your home then get in touch. I would love to help.