House rental tips for tenants, curtains and blinds

It’s been one whole year since I launched my website and started writing this blog!  *does a Happy Birthday jig*, So I felt it time for a few tweaks to both. For the past few weeks I’ve been tied up in a world of “widgets” and “plug ins” with Josie from Josie K Designs who originally built my site and has been helping me with my new shop page. Josie is brilliant and has to be one of the most patient people that I know, I guess you have to be doing her job… I would’ve smashed the computer up with a hammer several hundred times by now! I’ve just launched a brand new, exciting product which is my Express E-Stying package. You can read all about it here but in a nutshell it is my way of offering an affordable styling service wherever in the world you may be as it is all done via email. It would also make a great gift… don’t forget Mother’s day is just around the corner! This is just one of the services that I provide, you can view my full list of styling options from paint consultations to full room restyle here. Gift Vouchers also also available. 

Anyway, sorry to digress! One of the first blog posts that I wrote was my House rental tips for tenants –  part 1 {paint}. I’m not sure where that year has gone or why it’s taken me so long to write part 2 but here it is!

Many people rent for different reasons and the rental market is expected to continue growing throughout 2017. Most feel that when you are renting you have to just reside there and make do until your circumstances change and you are in a position to buy your own house but that is definitely not the case. You don’t have to own a house to make it feel like home, we have been renting for 7 years now and that time has flown over. I would have gone crazy if I hadn’t put my own stamp on the 2 houses that we’ve rented. Yes it seems bonkers spending money on someone else’s house but as long as you make clever choices and spend your money on the things that you can take with you then it’s not so bonkers! Painting is different obviously, you can’t take it with you but it’s a total game changer and you can pick a tin of paint up for next to nothing so as long as you’re willing to do the elbow work it won’t cost much at all. Most landlords will agree to this if it is repainted to the original colour when you move out. (Although they are bound to love what you’ve done so much that they ask you to leave it that way!) 

Once you’ve painted and moved all your furniture into place one thing that will stand out like a sore thumb is the curtains or blinds. In our living room we had freshly painted Stiffkey Blue walls then orangey, patterned curtains with pelmet and tie backs which just didn’t fit the look that I was after. Most tenants sign a contract for at least 6 months and that’s a lot of hours with those curtains! So obviously check with your landlords first but I can’t see it being a problem taking them down and stowing them away. I was worried that I would offend them by saying “can we take the curtains down” in other words “we don’t like your curtains” but remember the house you are renting will be kitted out for that purpose, it’s not their home so I’m sure they won’t take it personally.

Here’s the before and after photo of our living room. Even if you imagine taking all the furniture and accessories out of the room you can see that painting plus changing the curtains has made a huge difference.

Kerry Lockwood - In Detail, Living room curtains

Kerry Lockwood - In Detail, living room curtains blog

You don’t have to spend a fortune on new window dressings but I think it is one of the easiest and quickest ways to infuse style into a space. Custom made curtains can be expensive but store-bought can be very reasonable and best of all they can easily go with you when you move out.

Here’s the plan:

First decide whether you want curtains or blinds. 

If you go for curtains:

There may already be a curtain pole up but if not go for an extendable one. Ikea’s Racka rods are super inexpensive, have a basic, classic style, choice of black or white and extend from 120cm to 210cm length. The position can also be adjusted, allowing curtains to be hung either close to the window or further out. Perfect for most windows and more important they are reusable! I don’t know about you but I haven’t come across a pretty curtain pole yet so this will do the job as good as any other! 

Go long! If they are too long, you can shorten them by “hemming” them with tape which will allow them to be used again regardless of the ceiling height in your new space.

As I mentioned above, buy ready made, they are much cheaper. Mine were Dunelm but our last rented property was a barn conversion and had huge floor to ceiling windows. I bought ready made curtains from B&Q of all places, they have a great range that won’t break the bank. When we moved I brought them with us and reused them in our guest room. IKEA also all have a great, inexpensive range.

Below is the before and after of our bedroom. We took the same steps, painted then replaced the curtains.  You can read about when I decided to take up the carpet and stain the floor here.

IMG_0953

Dark bedroom

If you go for blinds:

Blinds can be a bit more tricky to get right in a rented property, mainly because there’s no saying how wide windows will be in each home. If you’re like me you’ll prefer an inset, custom made blind but whilst renting it would be better to go down the practical route of hanging it outside so that you have more chance of it fitting different window types when you move.

If your rented house already has blinds they can easily be changed like for like – whether you have a roller, vertical or a venetian blind, just make sure you keep the original fittings for when you move out.

Depending on the type of blinds you go for they can be picked up fairly cheap. Homebase, Dunelm, La Redoute (watch out for discount codes), B&Q, Wilko, Argos & IKEA all offer a good range of reasonably priced ones.

Even better you may be good with a sewing machine or have a fabulous Mum/Gran/Great Aunt… get my drift! that can knock you up a roman blind or pair of curtains out of some cheap fabric. There are lots of tutorials over on YouTube.

Kerry Lockwood In Detail blog, curtains for rented home

Source: IKEA

Are you a tenant living in a rented house? Have you made many changes? Has this post inspired you to go for it? I would love to hear from you.

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