bright and bold living room

How To Redecorate Your Rented Home (without Losing Your Deposit!)

Published 8th July 2021
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After spending lots of time indoors recently, we’re all sick of staring at our bedroom wallpaper and our living room furniture... that’s why now is the perfect time for an interior décor refresh! But if you’re not a dab hand with a hammer and a saw, revamping your rooms can be a pretty daunting prospect - and that’s if you’re lucky enough to own your home! For renters, there is the security deposit hanging over your head like the Sword of Damocles, so options can feel pretty minimal.

Fortunately, there are ways of redecorating your home without upsetting your landlord (or your bank account!). In this blog, we’ll present a list of temporary and easily reversed home decorating hacks that will soon see your rooms looking unrecognisable in the best way possible! Step aside Bobby Berk, there’s a new interior design expert in town! Spoiler: it’s you!

Augment your home with ornaments


Ornaments are a great, general-purpose way to redecorate your home that even the most uncompromising landlord won’t complain about. They’re also the simplest decorations to set up and a great way to express your personality in your living room or bedroom. Whether you’re buying shelf ornaments or table trinkets, all you need to do is order from OnBuy, unbox them, then plonk them down in an unoccupied space - it’s really that easy! 

What you choose as ornaments is entirely up to you. If you’re an incorrigible bookworm, some fancy bookends can really help to snazz up your shelves and keep your collection organised. Are you a fan of franchises, cult classics, and binge-worthy box sets? Freestanding film, TV, and game merchandise can make terrific table ornaments or dazzling desk displays, and are a fab way of injecting personality into your space. Alternatively, if style is your speciality, you can also pick specific ornaments based on the feel or aesthetic of the room they’ll occupy. Wooden ornaments will cement a rustic theme, whereas ornaments made from black glass reinforce a sense of glamour in a more modern-looking room.

Your kitchen is also a prime spot for ornaments. When buying knick-knacks for your kitchen, it’s best to buy shelf ornaments to keep your work surfaces clear. Animal and nature-themed ornaments and decorative signs look especially good here. You can also combine kitchen business with pleasure and buy some fancy kitchen roll holders, mug trees, and other practical ornaments-come-accessories that are as fashionable as they are functional.

Green up your home with houseplants

a collection of small houseplants

Another easy way to reinvent your indoors is to grab a few houseplants. Since they come in their own plant pots, it’s a simple task to remove them from your home if you move, and even the most animal-adverse landlord won’t object to a silent creature that doesn’t leave any mess behind; they do say that houseplants are the new pets!

You don’t have to be a green-fingered wonder to keep houseplants alive. One tip is to position your new flora friends in different rooms depending on their perfect climate. Desert-dwellers like yucca and other succulents will prefer your bedroom, whereas moisture-loving jungle plants like orchids will love the humidity coming off boiling pots in your kitchen or the steamy shower in your bathroom. Many houseplants, like spider plants and Zanzibar Gems, are famously hard to kill. These nigh-on-indestructible plants will thrive even if your rooms don’t get the best sunlight or you miss a watering or two.

Use Washi Tape to unstick yourself

Rolls of coloured Washi tape

Sticky tape and Blu Tack might be the most popular way of fixing flat decorations to your walls, but they can be a little too effective. When you tear them away from your walls, they tend to bring a chunk of paint (as well as your security deposit) along with them! If you still want to tape up decorations while preserving your walls, try using Washi Tape instead! Washi Tape is a low-tack masking tape produced in Japan. Despite being fairly sticky on one side, it rarely leaves residue behind, making it perfect for putting up lightweight wall art like posters or prints in rented accommodation.

Unlike regular masking tape, Washi Tape is available in all sorts of fantastic colours and designs. From block pastel colours to geometric patterns and tiny illustrations, this collection of tape can be a decoration all on its own! They make a beautiful border to wind around light switches, or you can mix and match colours to create striking multihued hallway arches. And when you move house, you can just peel the tape off without having to worry about grease spots or chipped paint - phew!

Wake up your bedroom

modern styled rustic wood bedroom

Introducing new colours to a room can utterly transform its look and mood. As a renter, you probably can’t repaint your walls, so you’ll need to find alternate sources. Since your bed is the most important part of your bedroom (the clue is in the name, after all), a colourful bedspread is a great way to augment the vibe. Bedspreads with just one solid colour will give off a contemporary feel, whereas patterns can make the room feel more cosy. Have a browse of our bedding sets category for matching bedding, or mix and match quilts, bedspreads, sheets, and pillowcases.

When choosing new bed linen, make sure to coordinate the colours with the paint or wallpaper on your bedroom wall, otherwise you’ll get a nasty clash of colours. For instance, if your bedroom walls are painted a dark, forestry green, pick a neutral bedspread. You can complement your colourful bedding with a flattering bed throw or some decorative cushions. Try to find accenting accessories that compliment your bedspread’s primary colour: in our dark green example, good colours for a bed throw would be deep purples or bright, mustard yellows. Our blankets and bed throws selection also has a wide range of colourful accessories, so whatever hue your bedspread is, you’ll find a shade to match it.

Get a living room you feel you can live in

modern black and white living room with gallery wall

Just as a bed throw can add a vibrant highlight to your bedspread, a sofa throw can do the same to your settee. These home décor accessories serve a dual purpose in that they can add new life to your lounge, while also performing as a comfy blanket when the weather turns cold. Sofa throws come in all sorts of colours, patterns, and fabrics; try to find one made from a thicker, coarser fabric than your sumptuously soft sofa. A buildup of thick fabrics like denim, corduroy, and sheepskin creates a diversity of fabric textures that looks good and feels even better. 

Once you’ve given your sofa a new look, you can follow it up with an attractive floor rug. First thing’s first, you’ll want to narrow your choices down to those that are the right size for your living room. For smaller rooms, try a square one that breaks up the carpet. For larger spaces, eye-catching shapes like faux hides or circular rugs can really make an impact. As with all accessories, try to select rugs that work well with the parts of your living room that you can’t change. For a wide variety of floor rugs, check out our dedicated category.

How about a rug on your wall? Yes, you did read that right! Wall hangings, including tapestries, sheets, macrame décor, and other upright decorations, are surprisingly lightweight and shouldn’t concern your landlord if you hang them up properly. Try to prioritise width over length when choosing your wall hangings, as they will take up more blank space in your living room.

Washi Tape isn’t strong enough to keep large wall hangings up, but a good alternative is Command Strips. These velcro-like adhesives are strong enough to hold up all sorts of things, and they will peel right off your wall without leaving a mark.

Get amped with lamps

styled lamps in a row

Another way to brighten up a tired-looking room (quite literally) is by getting some new lighting. You can’t add new wiring to a rented home, so extra ceiling lights are out of the question. Instead, try turning to table lamps and floor lamps. Floor lamps are better for larger spaces like living rooms, and if you have an armchair, they make a perfect reading light. On the other hand, table lamps work really well on your chests of drawers, bedside tables, and other cabinets, making them ideal for cosy bedrooms or studies. 

Go one step further and creatively decorate your new light with a unique lamp shade. Whether you go for a classic tapered drum, a cosmopolitan square design, or something more novel like a purely decorative wireframe ‘shade’, they’re another great way of adding individual flair to any room. If you need to freshen up a child’s bedroom, there’s a great range of fun light shade featuring their favourite characters, shows and films, animals and dinosaurs that they’re sure to love!

Security deposit secured

piggy bank with coins stacked infront of it

Those are our suggestions for deposit-defending home décor decisions! None of the home beautifying tips we’ve mentioned here should cause you to turn in your deposit, but it’s a good idea to inform your landlord of any semi-permanent changes to their property - no matter how minor - before you start. That way, you can set to work on redecorating your den of zen with confidence. Some might say that it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission, but this is certainly not one of those times! 

This was but a taste of the home design tips that OnBuy has to offer. We believe that your garden is an extension of your home, and should be given just as much love as your interior. So, if your green space is in need of some TLC, our dedicated outdoor and living blogs are here to help! From creating the ultimate cosy space to seasonal gardening tips, balcony beautifying ideas to battling the British weather, you’re sure to find all the info and inspo you need to create your very own outdoor oasis right here. 

With the help of OnBuy, your rented house will soon be feeling much more like a home - there’s truly no reason to delay your decorating!

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