Budget friendly tips for outfitting your first rented flat

So, you’re thinking about renting your first flat. You haven’t been to university so you haven’t had the chance to experience an intermediary stage like living in halls of residence and now you have to deal with everything at once. One of the best things you can do is to decorate your new home so that it feels like yours right away. Your rental agreement is likely to prevent you doing anything that might change the look of the place permanently, but there are still ways you can alter it to create a look that reflects your personality.

Furnished or unfurnished

If you’re moving away from you parents’ home for the first time, the chances are that you don’t own much of your own furniture. In most cases, furnished flats don’t cost significantly more than unfurnished ones, and they save you the hassle and extra expense of having to buy everything from scratch. Because there are significantly more furnished than unfurnished flats out there, this may also make things easier if you have to move again, ensuring you’re not stuck with a lot of furniture and nowhere to put it. You should bear in mind, however, that you will normally need to buy your own bed linen – a good chance to make a statement with something you like – and you will sometimes need to buy your own kitchen equipment.

Brightening up the walls

The first place you can make your mark is on the walls. You won’t normally be allowed to repaint them, but you can consider removable wallpaper, which was originally designed for film sets and is available in lots of different styles. You can also use posters, paintings, photographs or mirrors to make rooms more attractive and familiar.

Window dressing

As long as you don’t damage existing panes or frames, you can restyle your windows to make them much more appealing – and better insulated. A stylish set of curtains, blinds or solid shutters is relatively inexpensive but can completely change the look of a room. You could even add portable stained glass panels for a dramatic effect, and windows make a great place for mobiles and other ornaments that catch the light.

Livening up the living room

Although you won’t be allowed to re-cover the sofa, you can use a throw to make it look completely different. Adding your own cushions and rugs is also easy to do, and stylish lamps can make quite an impression. Using tinted bulbs can change the mood of a room in the evenings.


One thing you’re likely to have at the outset is ornaments, so make use of them to take ownership of your space. Put them on the mantelpiece and on shelves, along with your books and home entertainment. If you’re any good at looking after them, you can also accessorize with plants, making your home feel bright and fresh.

Decorating your new living space will make it feel properly like a home and will help you to relax there – to feel good about the fact that there’s no going back.