I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m a serial renter, and will continue to be so for the forseeable future. I’m incredibly lucky to live in a beautiful house, that we simply wouldn’t be able to afford if we were buyers anyway. However, there are always limitations to renting, most obviously in terms of the decor.
Landlords, whether through a private agreement or via an agency, may place various clauses into your contract that restrict how you decorate your house. Common no-no’s include repainting walls to a different colour, or making masses of extra holes to hang picture frames. I’m not talking about knocking through walls here, but sometimes you can move into a house and what you’ve got is what you’ve got. That’s fair enough – when your rental period does come to an end, it can be an unwanted hassle to try and reinstate everything as it was on Day 1.
Like I said, I am lucky. Our house is decorated in neutral tones, with no scuzzy coloured walls or mouldy patches of damp. It’s a family home – our landlords have children of similar ages to mine – and this is echoed in the overall layout and design of the interior. So, when we did move in, it was a case of using our existing lifestyle furniture to showcase an already lovely decor.
The colour palette that my landlords have chosen compliments our style perfectly, especially in the main living area – the walls are cream, with a light olive feature wall, and our curtains are floor to ceiling and gorgeously heavy, with a dark brown flocked floral design over a beige background. Our sofa is chocolate brown, as is our huge “swivel” chair. I think oak wood furniture is a stunning match for creams and browns, and we have some really high quality solid oak items from our previous house. We also have floors that I *think* are oak wood – they’re gorgeous to look at, and easy to keep clean.
Our coffee table, actually gifted to us, is the ideal height for foot-propping and also has a huge drawer at the base for DVDs and other bits of accumulated rubbish. I love storage like this, as I can’t stand clutter and prefer the minimal, homely look. We also have a solid oak blanket box which we used to store our bed linen in. When we moved, we turned this into a toy storage unit and draped a crochet cream throw over the top along with some scatter cushions, to make a (very) occasional seating area if we happened to be festooned with guests.
It’s the TV unit that I’m not loving anymore. I like the storage element, but the style doesn’t really match anything else in the room (oddly, it matches my clothes dresser but what use is that to anyone?!). So I’ve been on the lookout for some lifestyle furniture that might do the job. I really like the Cuba range of oak units from Lifestyle Furniture UK, and this Plasma TV unit looks like it’ll match what I already have really well. It’s long and low, rather than silly-high like my existing unit, but it still has storage and a recessed area to conceal cables.
I like the fact that it comes fully assembled (flat packs are not my strong area), and also that the company offer a 14 day exchange policy. And, because they have quite a few oak wood ranges, they’re happy to send out free samples so that you can compare it to furniture that you already have. After all, it’s worth getting right, and when buying wooden furniture even things like the appearance of the grain can add to the visual look and feel.
Do you rent? I think I actually take more pride now in my furniture and soft furnishings, because I know that they’re “mine”. Just because I don’t own the bricks, I can still make a really effective stamp on the house and make sure it’s my home.
-SJW August 2017
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