For many of us in London, living in rental accommodation presents interesting design challenges. Saddled with ugly, cheap ikea furniture in furnished flats, and boringly bland spaces like bathrooms and kitchens which are notoriously difficult to ‘dress up’ without physically changing fittings, tiles etc., many of us struggle to personalise the spaces whilst trying not to spend money on things we can’t take away with us to the next flat.

I thought I would do a post looking at a few ideas on how to have the rooms you want, without breaking rental rules!

The first idea I love is the invention of tile stickers – vinyl stickers for tiles which can be removed. These are a great idea and long overdue.

These ones by at  Lotta Kühlhorn Retro Etc. are amazing:


Even one stripe would make a huge difference to a space.


A bit tough figuring out where she is selling them though, but if you contact Retro Etc. in Sweden, they should be able to let you know.

Unfortunately our boring, beige tiles are textured, so we can’t use these. Sigh.

This next idea is a wacky one of mine…though surely SOMEONE must have come up with it as well:

Blue tacking wallpaper!

I have done this in a few flats now, and it works really well. I just hang the wallpaper from pins or nails at the very top and then you just have to have the patience to tack all the edges down with blue tack.

It is not seemless, as you can see the shadow of the edges in places, but I think it works well enough, and lets you indulge in being able to use wallpaper in a rental without losing your deposit. Also, you can take the paper with you when you leave and reuse it elsewhere.

This was the first time I tried it. One Habitat roll for £30 and a world of difference to a room (sorry for the lacklustre picture, it is the only one I could find):


The following is my most recent go – prefaced by the comment that the bedside tables are the landlords and will soon be in the closet, as their ugliness offends me (!):

…and because I love the ‘before and after’ format so much…

snoringly boring before:


ice queen wonderland after:


A world of difference.

I suggest using a pattern, with vertical emphasis for example, which doesn’t show the unpasted joins in the paper as much.

I have some more projects/suggestions, which you can see here.

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