Soft furnishings will add warmth and character to even the starkest space. Add a couple of patterned cushions to your bed, throw a blanket over the sofa arm and stick a rug on the floor – instant texture, colour and cosiness.
Candles make a huge difference to a plain room – look for coloured holders that complement the shade of the room, or stock up on cheap pillar candles at Ikea and display them in groups.
Don’t spend your money on faffy ornamental bits that will collect dust and look dated in 3 years (hello, shabby chic) – use your own belongings to create interesting displays in each room. Books, magazines, plants, jewellery, pretty makeup, framed photos, old tins – whatever you’ve got that you find aesthetically pleasing, put it on display rather than tidying it away in a cupboard.
Change the curtains
Rentals often come with curtains in place. But changing a pair of curtains is one of the easiest things to do in a rented place and I don’t know why I didn’t try it before. I recently swapped three pairs of tired cream linen curtains for much nicer ones, and the results are amazing.
This is a bit of a controversial one, as I know most tenancy agreements have a clause about damaging the walls. This might not be your experience and you might not want to risk it, but hanging pictures makes such a difference to a home and holes are easily fixed with Polyfila and a bit of Tipp-Ex.
Plants and flowers
Flowers are the solution to most problems in my life. There is nothing more pleasing to the eye than a big bunch of blousy peonies or some sweet tulips just opening up.