6 Ways to make your UK rental property feel like home

27th Feb 2024
Daniel Frogley

With autumn just around the corner, it’s that time of year when a warm and cosy house is a must! We understand that if you aren’t a homeowner it can be a tricky process to make your rental property feel like home. It’s easier to change certain things when you’re paying the mortgage, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create a warm and welcoming space while renting in the UK. We’ve put together some tips that might help you realise the potential of your home.

Non-permanent additions tend to be the way forward with rental agreements. Whilst you might think the only way to make drastic changes is to repaint or knock down walls entirely, there are so many other things you can do. Make it your own now, and if you decide to go elsewhere in the future - all you need to do is pack it away. There are no worries when you’re leaving it as you found it! Even though some landlords can be more flexible than others, here are some safe options for adding a personal touch to your rental property.

Bring the outside in

House plants are all the rage and they’re a fantastically easy way of livening up your space. They add an immediate pop of colour to any room. Not only are they great for aesthetic purposes, but they can be used for cleaning the air around you. They remove toxins and can be really helpful for keeping your home a healthy, clear area to relax in. (Unless you don’t have a green thumb and opt for faux plants of course! They’re still just as lovely to look at).

Another way plants can make somewhere feel like home is by carefully choosing the pots they live in. Make a statement by having bold colours and patterns or compliment the rest of your interior design by matching the colour schemes. It’s a great way to start the process of deciding what colours you like and what makes the space seem bigger or more welcoming. They can always be moved from room to room should it not look how you envisioned.

Light it up

Whilst you might not be able to change main light fixtures, it doesn’t stop you from bringing in some free-standing lamps and alternatives of your own. You can experiment with different sizes and styles here to create some depth. Think about rooms with more space that might benefit from floor lights - you could create a reading corner with a warm, overhanging floor lamp. Alternatively, desk lamps always come in useful for producing a really cosy, autumnal feeling and can also help compartmentalise larger rooms into sections.

Candles and coloured bulbs also offer a great source of mood lighting if you want something less harsh than a ceiling light all the time. Smaller rooms may benefit from this change as many landlords will invest in the cheaper option of LED bulbs. These can often be a lot more stark and maybe brighter than your average halogen bulb. If you do find this is the case, dimmer and warmer lighting options are available for you to experiment with.


Buying your own soft furnishings is normally a given when moving to a rental property. While some furniture and white goods may be included - it’s up to you to decorate as you wish. You can be as creative as you like with patterned rugs and pillows. Or if bold isn’t your style, you can even just match things to your colour scheme (if you have one). Simply adding your own flare with small details will make all the difference in a home where you can’t make large alterations. 

Something that can put people off renting is if the property is dated. In this case, you might find carpets with bold colours or loud patterns that discourage you from an otherwise beautiful home. Large rugs are a great way forward if you find yourself in a similar situation. Although you can’t replace the carpet, you could certainly cover it up. It will add an extra layer of comfort and warmth too on cold days. Find a nice sized option with a pattern, colour and texture of your choice.

Upcycle old furniture

If you are bringing furniture with you to a new property, or even buying on a budget - upcycling is a way you can make them fit your style and bring a new design to your rental property. Charity shops often have pre-loved items such as draws and side tables that just need some restoration. This allows you to repaint and make changes to pieces that might not have worked with your style otherwise. These are still things you can take away with you if you leave but can be really handy in unfurnished properties. 

Simple components like changing the knobs and handles on a chest of drawers or removing doors and shelves from certain pieces will give it a new look entirely. The best thing about this is that if your rooms are painted a fairly neutral colour, you can essentially do whatever you like with the furniture. People will notice the quirks and bursts of colour long before they notice the walls or carpets. 

Dress the windows

An unfurnished rental property might not come with curtains or blinds of any sort. This means it’s up to you to inject your own ideas and create the cosy or open atmosphere you’re looking for. Curtains actually make up a large part of a room’s style. One of the first things people tend to do when visiting a home is look out the windows at the view. This will be the case for any guests you may have too. So they’re going to notice what’s around the windows as well. Make a statement by adding some floor to ceiling curtains or use some netting behind other layers to keep it fresh in the summer and warmer in the winter.

However, if the landlord has left curtains up when you arrive, you may be able to keep them stored nicely until you move out and replace them in the meantime. (It’s always worth asking before you take something of theirs down.) Curtains with eyelets are easy to change over and can be used to add a larger pop of colour to the end of a room. It’s also worth taking into consideration the location of your property. As some places can have a lot of light pollution - blackout curtains might be a worthwhile investment - especially in bedrooms.

Create your own gallery

Art and photos are a must-have when turning somewhere into your own. One drawback of a rental property can be the inability to hang pictures. Command strips are a fantastic invention that doesn’t leave a trace. Again, it may be worthwhile checking with the landlord before using strips or anything similar, but usually, it won’t be an issue as it doesn’t leave a permanent mark. Alternatives like washi tape and blue tac could allow you to stick photographs and light decorations onto the walls without breaking your rental agreement. 

Heavy picture frames are probably a no-go when renting. Although, it leaves you to embrace your creativity and produce some pieces to hang in your at-home gallery. If you have children, bright paintings and drawings are memories that could go anywhere in the house. Or if you’re artistic yourself - light canvases and printed photographs will hang nicely with the non-permanent alternatives to hooks. There is so much potential for you to make somewhere rented feel like home. So don’t shy away from putting your stamp on it.

Find a rental property with Beals

Most people dream of getting onto the property ladder someday, but renting is a great alternative that gives you the freedom of your own space, without the struggles of a mortgage. It can be hard to make somewhere that isn’t ‘yours’ feel like home - but we’ve seen in this article that there are plenty of ways to make changes. It may take a bit of creativity, but over time, it is completely possible to transform your space.

For almost three decades we have been at the heart of the local community, delivering our special brand of property sales, rentals and financial services. From humble beginnings and just 26 people, we have grown into Hampshire's leading independent estate agent, with offices in 10 prime locations. We have a dedicated team of 150 property experts waiting to help you achieve your dreams. Our independence makes us unique because we can provide a personal service from our many high street branches without being controlled remotely from a head office located on the other side of the country.

We offer an unparalleled experience which is why we have so many repeat customers, we know how to get it right every time. Whether you be a buyer, seller, landlord or tenant, we've got you covered. Contact us by submitting an enquiry form or call one of our dedicated branches. The individual contact numbers for each branch can be found here