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Home is where the colour is

From the Resene decorating blog

Turning a house into a home seems a simple process – fill it with the people and things you love. But for renters, that can be a little more complicated.

You can still fill the house with the people you love, but decorating to reflect your personality and create a haven that allows you to relax and recharge is tricky if you want to avoid upsetting your landlord.

Use layers of your favourite colour against the existing neutral walls

Use layers of your favourite colour against the existing neutral walls. Here Resene Half Spanish White walls are the backdrop to on-trend terracottas and dusky pinks like the Resene Sunbaked chair, peg stool and planter, and other peg stools in Resene Despacito and Resene Shabby Chic. Styling by Kate Alexander; image by Bryce Carleton.

Most standard tenancy agreements will feature a clause stating that tenants cannot do renovations, alternations or additions without the landlord’s written consent. There’s also the common sense financial aspect. Tenancies can end unexpectedly so, even if your landlord agrees, it makes little sense to invest too much of your own money in features you can’t take with you.

The solution is to treat your rental as a blank canvas to which you can add a removeable and changeable layer of decoration, that’s cost-effective and re-usable.

Get your facts straight

Make sure you know exactly what your landlord is happy with. Some may be fine with you painting a wall, or planting a garden, but make sure you have it in writing first and are clear on what happens once the tenancy has ended. Some landlords will expect the property back the way it was, others will be fine with keeping the changes.

An apartment room divider

Organise your apartment living with a room divider painted in Resene Steam Roller. The wall on the left is Resene Half Grey Chateau and the one of the right is Resene Sea Fog, while the floorboards are finished in Resene Colorwood Greywash. Styling by Amber Armitage; image by Wendy Fenwick.

This remains true even when it comes to hanging pictures on the walls. A couple of pieces of art is likely to be fine, a large shelving unit or a feature wall of photos may not. Check first. You may be expected to fill any holes and repaint at the end of the tenancy.

Regardless, there are still plenty of ways to paint and decorate a rental to make it more homely.

Choose your colours

Many rental interiors are decorated in neutral colours to appeal to a wide range of people. Even if you dislike the particular shade, the advantage of this is you can easily adapt it to a colour scheme you do like in your own furnishings.

Bring home a few Resene testpots and try them on A2 sheets of card to experiment with what works against your walls. Think about trying a colour you love that looks good against the background wall colour, and layering your room in graduated tones of that same colour. For example you could start with the soft pink of Resene Paper Doll which looks good against a subtle cream neutral, and layer with Resene Coral Tree and Resene Merlot.

Upcycle furniture

Upcycling furniture

Upcycle furniture with paint or paper, and lean art or mirrors against the wall. The shelving unit on the left is painted in Resene Gold Dust metallic with a Resene Putty wall, Resene Teak peg stool and Resene Castaway plant pot. The back of the shelves is papered with Resene Wallpaper Collection design 378003 (top), 378022 (middle) and 378031 (bottom). The chest of drawers and wall on the right is painted in Resene Half Coriander with the drawer fronts papered in Resene Wallpaper Collection design 366011. Styling by Leigh Stockton; image by Bryce Carleton.

You can try the same idea with greens, oranges, blues; any colour you really like.

If the existing walls are painted in a bold colour, try the opposite and layer your decorations in neutral shades. Try warm creams and stone colours such as Resene Blanc through to Resene Biscotti with Resene Triple Akaroa so the bold walls appear striking without becoming overwhelming.

Upcycle with paint

Where do you paint and personalise colour if you can’t put it on the walls in a rental property?

Start with the furniture. Look at how you could make-over items you already own to suit your rented surroundings. Or find cheap items in secondhand stores or online that can be given new life.

Make art out of wallpaper

Make art out of wallpaper. This triptych of herons is made from Resene Wallpaper Collection design 98631, wrapped around pre-made stretched canvases. The wall and hall table are painted in Resene Coast and the vases are Resene Ashanti and Resene Double Sea Fog. Styling by Megan Harrison-Turner; image by Bryce Carleton.

Don’t restrict yourself to blocks of colours. Think about adding graphic designs or freehand patterns to your furniture. Grid patterns and geometric shapes are easy to paint by using masking tape and can be an excellent way to make your room eye catching. If you’re feeling more confident, trace a more fluid botanical pattern on to your drawers, table top, bedhead or bookshelves shelves to make those plain rental walls disappear into the background.

Layer plenty of colours, either complementary or contrasting, on everything from picture frames and vases to bowls, drawer handles and candle sticks. Anything that’s yours and moveable is game.

The upside of adding your personal colour scheme to small items is that it’s easy and relatively cheap to change your scheme if you tire of it.

Get artistic

Art on the walls is another simple way to personalise your rental space. If your landlord won’t allow you to put holes, consider adhesive strips or simply lean art against the wall, on the floor or atop a set of shelves or drawers.

There’s no need to invest lots of money in pictures you love. Pre-made stretches canvases are inexpensive and can open a whole new world of creativity. Grab some Resene testpots and let your artistic freak flag fly! Try the Jackson Pollock drip-style, go for simple geometry and the bold colours of Mondrian or just go free-form experiment with your own style.

Give the kids a canvas and let them play too. What better way for them to personalise their rooms than with their own artwork? Just make sure to protect the floors or concrete where you’re painting, so you get that bond back.

Upgrade the outdoors

Adding your personal touches to the outdoor area or balcony of your rental is a great way to make yourself feel at home, especially when the warmer weather hits.

Paint outdoor furniture and pots

Paint outdoor furniture and pots. The dining table on the left is painted in Resene Casper and the benchseat is in Resene Smokescreen. The larger plant pot is Resene Gunmetal and the smaller one is Resene Neutral Bay. The deck is finished in Resene Woodsman Riverstone stain. Styling by Amber Armitage.

A colourful porch

The chair on the right is painted in Resene Ashanti, the cactus is in Resene English Holly, the pot on the left is Resene Wax Flower and on the right is Resene Glorious. The house and balustrade is painted in Resene Quarter White Pointer. Styling by Amber Armitage.

Paint some pots and fill them with leafy plants, colourful flowering plants, or tasty vegies like tomatoes and chillies. Choose colours that pop against the exterior colour of your home. Try a bold orange like Resene Daredevil against a leafy shrub, a deep green like Resene Mother Nature or the softer dark green Resene Rivergum against pink flowers, and a bright turquoise such as Resene Yes Please against red fruit and veg.

Don’t limit yourself to pots. You can often pick up metal or wooden outdoor chairs and tables cheaply second hand, that are easily spruced up with a lick of paint. Use either Resene Lumbersider or Resene Enamacryl paint, which are both hard-wearing for outdoor use.

Paper art

Wallpaper is another fast way to make over a space. You might not be able to stick it all over the walls but its uses don’t end there.

Try a giant canvas or two covered in a dramatic wallpaper pattern you love, in colours that work with your existing walls. You can also try adding wallpaper on shelves or the sides of drawers for a surprising and fun touch of personality. You can order wallpaper samples either free or for a low cost through Resene ColorShops.

Resene Curtain Collection Chia fabric

Resene Curtain Collection Natura

First image: Resene Curtain Collection Chia fabric. Second image: Resene Curtain Collection Natura.

The finishing touch

Soft furnishings such as cushions and throws are probably the simplest way to personalise your rental space. If you already have a duvet cover or cushion you love, make it the centrepiece of the room and use the colours in that to inspire decorations for the rest of the room.

Curtains and blinds are also an easy way to liven up a rental space, and you can take them with you. Just take care not to damage the landlord’s curtains and blinds when removing and storing.

A stylishly patterned curtain such as Resene Curtain Collection Natura works well on neutral walls, or tone down bold walls with a more neutral curtain such as Resene Curtain Collection Chia.

Hot tip  If you’re working with a really busy wallpaper or bold wall colour you can’t change ask your landlord if you can hang a large mirror to break up the space. Alternatively try a large bookshelf against the wall painted in a modern neutral like Resene Half Spanish White or Resene Merino and fill it with objects in similar tones.

Resene Despacito

Resene Shabby Chic

Resene Sunbaked

Resene Mother Nature

Resene Yes Please

November 04, 2018

Visit your local Resene ColorShop for expert advice and all the products and accessories you need to make the most of your home.

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