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Top Tenant Tips to decorating your Rental Property

Lets be honest, we all have our own unique style and taste when it comes to our home decor. Whether we rent or own where we live this fact doesn't change. Putting your own personal flavour on your surroundings is a natural and understandable aspiration and so we've put together this handy guide to ensure that making any changes to the decor of your rental property doesn't leave you with problems when you eventually leave.

Get Permission

The first and certainly the most important thing before commencing with any redecoration is to get permission from ourselves. Preferably any request to redecorate would be put in writing with a description of the changes you are considering making. Doing this ensures that we can gain approval from the landlord to the changes you want to make and removes any potential arguments about decor in the future. In some circumstances a verbal agreement can be given, however, permission is always required before embarking on any redecoration.

Consider how long you plan to stay

If you have moved into a property but possibly don't intend to stay for more than a year or two due to your circumstances we'd tend to recommend not making any alterations to decor. Ultimately if you only plan to stay 12 months it isn't going to be worth the expense and effort to redecorate when potentially you may have to put it back to how it was originally when you leave. All our properties will be in good decorative condition when you move in and so unless you intend it to be a long term rental there isn't much of an incentive for you to decorate.


Once you have received approval to decorate we'd always recommending hiring a professional painter and decorator to undertake this task for you. A good quality tradesman will ensure a good job and prepare surfaces, flooring and furniture properly before starting the job. If you can't afford a professional and you are going to decorate yourself its crucial to use dust sheets, masking tape, move any items from rooms and prepare the surface with appropriate undercoats or primers and so on. We can assist in more detail if you need specific advice on this matter.

Your taste is unique

Remember that your taste in decor is unique to you and therefore consider whatever you do decoratively may well not be to the liking of the landlord of your property. As such we advocate keeping styles to as natural and neutral as possible. Keeping things neutral is generally considered the least 'offensive' decorative style and is therefore going to cause very little reason for any challenge to your style when you leave. You may consider a Black ceiling and Aubergine Wall attractive - we possibly wouldn't!


Wallpapering is far more tricky than just painting a plastered or previously painted wall. If you are going to wallpaper we'd suggest hiring a preofessional to do this. Our general advice is to not rewallpaper unless you know exactly what you are doing as the time and cost to put this right should it go wrong is far greater than a simple wall to repaint. There are easier alternatives to wallpapering which give similar effects. See below.


Painting woodwork is trickier than it sounds and unless there is specific need for it we'd suggest woodwork be left alone. Changing the finish of skirting boards, frames, cills and so on requires expert knowledge if its to be done correctly and of course if done badly then the cost to return it to its original state could be expensive. We can provide additional advice on the preparation of woodwork before painting, however, our general advice is to try to avoid painting any fixed wooden surfaces.

Sockets and Switches.

Just like woodwork/flooring its important that when painting a wall consideration is given to all surrounding items that could receive paint on them. To save time many people try to paint around switches and sockets, however, this often leads to paint residue finding its way onto them. If you are painting a wall that has light switches or plug sockets then the minimum requirement is that the item is prepared with masking tape beforehand to avoid getting paint on them. In an ideal world we would recommend that the electrics to the wall be switched off and the socket/switch loosened from the wall using an appropriate electrical screwdriver and then the loose switch be covered be a sandwich bag or similar.

Putting it all Back

Remember that even if you have received permission to redecorate, if the work is carried out to a substandard level or to a taste that would be considered anything other than neutral you may be asked to return the property to its orginal 'check-in' inventory state. Decor is a very subjective thing and therefore any decor that could be considered to make the property less rentable than when you moved in could cause complication or a challenge to your deposit. We would always suggest when choosing your colour scheme or style keep in mind how easy or difficult it may be to have to change it back to how it was previously. A Dark purple wall will take 3 or 4 coats of magnolia before it is back to neutral for example. Remember if you've made any holes through hanging pictures or televisions then you will need to fill any holes you have created.

Decals and Alternatives

There are many alternatives that you could choose to add your own flavour to your property without actually affecting the decor at all. Decals are now hugely popular - especially in childrens bedrooms - and can be removed by simply peeling them off when you leave. You can use stencils which can make a wall look completely different and is easy to paint over at the end of the tenancy. You can also add soft furnishings such as throws or curtains which add colour or style without changing the colour of the wall. Consider just painting one wall in a room to add a contrast - often a fireplace or alcove can be a great feature and shouldn't cause too much trouble in removing if required.


In summary remember that permission is always needed and consider how easy any decorative changes you make are to return to there 'check-in' colours. Decorative condition is one of the 5 main reasons for tenancy disputes and so in order to protect your own situation following these tips should minimise any issues at the end of your tenancy.