Moving to a rental property can be problematic for the would-be interior decorator. As you aren’t technically in your own space, you may feel restricted with what you can accomplish. So how do you marry these two ideas – the need to decorate and the need to be in rental property – together?
Luckily, you aren’t completely at a loss. Even if money and space are tight, there are some avenues to explore. Here are eight top tips that can hopefully shed some light on the decorating rental property conundrum.
Know your rights
Firstly, you need to know your rights with the landlord. They will of course have a set of rules they expect you to abide by whilst you live in their property.
But there are also rights that you can exercise too. You have the right to challenge the landlord if he or she isn’t holding up their end of the bargain, or is imposing cruel or unfair rules. Knowing these rules inside and out will also help you protect your deposit, a must in rental properties.
Another important thing to consider is contents cover. Regardless of if you are house or flat sharing, or are living in the house with just your family, it is very unwise to not have contents cover.
The virtues of content cover when sharing a property with strangers should be pretty obvious. If you are out of the property all day whilst others are at home, any would-be opportunistic thieves would have free reign to take what they wanted. Yes, you’ll have a lock on your door, but what are the chances you’ll be able to keep everything you own in your room at all times?
But even if you are alone in the house, the landlord can still get access to the house. This is highly unlikely, of course, and may seem like we are presuming the worst of people, but for a relatively small cost, you remove all of the risk of renting property.
OK, now to turn our focus more towards decorating. When first viewing the property, you need to do quite a few checks. Damp & mould, cracks in the walls and ceiling, and issues with plumbing can be detrimental to both your decorating efforts and your quality of life in general.
The more extensive the checks, the more likely you are to find a good property. So flick the light switches, check the plugs and see if you get mobile phone signal everywhere in the house.
One last point before we truly move on to redecorating – it’s essential you get the landlord to show you where all the houses utilities are. You’ll want to find the gas meter for when the gas man comes to check it. You’ll need to know where the fuse box is should the electricity go out. And you need to know where the water stopcock is, should something start leaking in your shared bathroom.
The first thing you must check before redecorating is if you are allowed to redecorate the property freely, and if you are, to what extent. Landlords will have guidelines on redecorating, ranging from just having a final say to a total ban on it. Again, this is information you need to find out before you sign the contract for the property.
When viewing the property for the first time, it is important to take pictures of it. Going off memory alone is often not good enough, so having a physical reminder of the property is advisable. Plus, that means in the time between agreeing to move in and actually moving, you can start to buy up new items for your new home, matching them to your pictures of the house instead of wondering “Will this suit the room?”
Some rental properties will be bare, allowing you to fill them with whatever you want. Some will be partially furnished, which usually means items like the oven and the fridge come as standard. And some properties will come with a full set of furniture to begin with. If you enjoy decorating with furniture, it will be best to seek out an unfurnished property. But if your flat or house is fully furnished, you can still decorate with items like pillows, throws and small furnishings (like small coffee tables).
If you are a little low on money following the move, don’t fret. There are several online communities dedicated to the art of “freecycling”. These websites play host to hundreds and thousands of free items of furniture, that the owner either wants rid of in a hurry, or just feels like giving away for free. These websites are monitored internally to make sure people aren’t just giving away junk, so it can be a great way of redecorating your new property on a bare minimum budget.