Please join us in welcoming our special guest blogger, Clare Weeks, Ealing Interior Designer and Stylist at My-Studio.

By guest blogger:  Clare Weeks

Tenants often ask me how they can create a smart, stylish space without risking their hard-earned deposits.

With so many landlords trying to keep their properties “neutral” and in good condition for the next tenant, it may sometimes feel like the landlord will hunt you down and spray you beige if you dare to do anything different.  Something like painting a door, ripping out a fitting, making a hole in a wall or any other heinous decorating crime could mean that you risk your deposit.

But you don’t have to accept a life of relentless neutrality just because you’re renting. Thinking like a designer or stylist means finding creative ways to add your personality to your home.

Here are six simple tips that will take you on a design journey that even the most conservative landlords will love (and, if you’re smart about it, help you pay for it):

Start with the floors

Can’t bear the beige haze carpets or dodgy lino in your rental? Don’t panic. Reach for large, over-scale rugs to cover the boring floors. Your rugs will add pattern (geometrics), texture (flokati) and colour (we love colour).

Not only does it give you the look you desire but it also protects rental floors (and by definition your precious deposit) from damage so you can, if you’re anything like me, invest in future design pieces.

Style your walls

You probably can’t paste wallpaper. But you can hang a huge panel of wallpaper or canvas from a bulldog clip. It’s simple, hole-free and, ta-dah, means you are adding your own choice of pattern and colour. And, precisely because it isn’t permanent, you can update the panel every time you feel like a change of style. You should also look to hang pictures using adhesives that won’t damage the wall or paint.

Layer with textiles

Let’s face it rentals are usually furnished with lowest-common-denominator design you wouldn’t pick out yourself. So you need to up the comfort by adding throws, blankets and cushions to your boring beige furniture. Layering with textiles will build up colour, texture, pattern and make your space feel more luxurious. I love to add merino wool, velvets and felts for texture, with punchy, edgy florals to provide a flash of bright colour to a monochrome scheme.

Go vintage

Buy your own vintage furniture and lighting pieces to mix with your now-styled furniture. Balancing traditional and contemporary furniture delivers an edgy and exciting look.

You have a number of options if you’re looking to source vintage and antique pieces in your designs for every budget:

  • – Established area like Golbourne Road (on Fridays and Saturdays).
  • – London dealers like Circus Antiques or Bent Ply constantly deliver the goods
  • – Markets like Ardingly or, my personal favourite, Sunbury are great days out. Try Sunbury every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month.

Scale up your furniture

Put your energy into choosing a couple of larger pieces of furniture. Avoid spreading yourself (and your budget) too thin. For example a pair of vintage armchairs will balance the sofa and stops the layout from becoming too rigid.

Now for the fun bit.

Layer with accessories

Accessorising is a stylist’s magic wand. And don’t stop too soon. Go mad with lighting, ceramics, vases, mirrors, window treatments and artwork. Lighting should be warm, soft and layered with a mix of floor lamps and table lamps (the more the better). If you’re unsure of colour or pattern, base your scheme around an item you feel drawn to – a piece of fabric, a photo, a Pop artwork, to create the rental home that you love.

Follow these six tips and you can create something stunning and personal. And here’s one bonus tip: a good landlord will listen to your plans and they just might – and I know this from experience – help fund great design that adds style and value for both of you.

If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Good luck.

More about Clare

Clare Weeks is an Ealing Interior Designer & Stylist at My-Studio.

My-Studio logoMy-Studio founder Clare Weeks has designed and delivered some of the UK’s most contemporary and innovative interior design projects – both residential and commercial.

She has worked for high-profile clients alongside top London designers, including Suzy Hoodless, who Harper’s Bazaar called “Britain’s brightest taste-maker.”

Clare’s recent interiors projects include a West London family townhouse and styling luxury show homes for London developers, as well as previous projects including an award-winning Knightsbridge restaurant and a Baccarat event at Monocle magazine for London Design Week.

Clare trained at The Interior Design School in London, following in the footsteps of renowned designers such as Nicky Dobree and Annemarie van Riet.

She set up My-Studio to draw on a mix of styles that build a clear and distinctive look for confident clients who want something different.

Get in touch.

T: 020 3294 6679

Twitter: @My__Studio

Facebook: My Studio Facebook Page

Pinterest: My Studio Pinterest Boards

Thanks to Clare for sharing her expert tips for making the most of your rental property! Just because you are renting doesn’t mean you can’t make it yours!

Remember if you have questions about what you can and can’t do when you rent property, Tweet us your questions @Northfieldslive or ask your question via our Facebook page.