January 6, 2020

How we decorated our rented home for just 6 months.


Renting can be hard at times, most notably when you run into issues immediately. It’s taken me a while to write this post thanks to my emotional attachment issues with property, but I couldn’t very well leave out this significant part of our move to Margate. We loved this home a lot in the short time we had it, even with the unscheduled visits, frequent communication mishaps and general piss-taking from all other parties involved…

Here’s the story (and the before photos!)

Approximately 24 hours before we were due to move in to our new abode in Margate (and our new life), I received an email from our estate agent. Someone had put it an offer to buy our house and they didn’t want to let us sign a 12 month contract, “did we still want to go ahead?” – yes, those words really did leave the fingertips of a real person.

We knew the house had been up for sale when we went to look at it, but after weighing up the fact that it had already been on the market for well over six months, decided to go for it on the basis that the current landlord gave us a 12 month contract. Ideal right? Maybe not. Long story short, we should have got that contract signed immediately, because the potential new owners weren’t willing to fulfil it and were avid Airbnb hosts. It’s the Airbnbs that make a town, right?! The answer is no for anyone not familiar with sarcasm.

Anyway, me being me, I decided that I still wanted to put my own spin on the place and spent my time making it feel like home in a way that would be easy to turn the clock back on. Here’s what we did with ‘The Margate Maisonette’ and how you can add personality to your rented home too.

pink stripes with gallery wall and talk shelving
pink kitchen and boho bedroom

Got creative with paint.

Painting is one of those things that you have to commit to in a rented property, remembering that you’ll likely need to return it to its original state upon exit. Knowing that we only had six months with ours, we still wanted to add personality to the two-storey flat, but make it as easy as possible to bring it back to a white canvas.

A few simple updates with paint can make all the difference in a white space (note: if it’s magnolia, you need to convince your landlord to go to the white side) and we immediately set to work adding in the trademark EJP stripes to the living room in Earthborn paint‘s Delilah and Cupcake. We added another pop of pink on one of wall of the open-plan kitchen and kept the rest of the space clean.

mid-century living room in rented accommodation

Incorporated clever storage.

I couldn’t recommend Tylko’s clever but stylish flatpack storage enough (this was gifted but I would spend the money on it myself!). It completely transformed our living room and now that we’ve disassembled it and moved it onto our new abode, I can say it’s easy to move too! Yes, it’s on the pricier side but it’s great quality, customisable and will last you through every house.

Invested in furniture that could move with us.

On that note, it was really important to me that we created a space that could be picked up and moved with us wherever we went. Moving from a tiny one bedroom apartment in London to a maisonette with a huge bedroom meant we had room for er, bedside tables, and I wanted to get something that I’d never get rid of.

We picked up items from West Elm, Urban Outfitters, Made.com, Oliver Bonas and Habitat when searching for new furniture and again, I don’t plan on getting rid of it anytime soon…

Created a gallery wall.

Anyone that has been following me for a while will now that I’m a huge fan of the ol’ gallery wall and artwork is a huge part of my core interior style. I swear by Command Strips for hanging artwork in rented accommodation (seriously, there wasn’t a mark left here after) with the occasional nail for heavier frames or places above beds.

The key to a good gallery wall is mixing and matching your prints with different colours, sizes and styles of art nestled throughout. You can check out my guide to buying artwork here if you’re stuck for inspiration!

Door curtain and bench in white rented accommodation with wooden floors

Made it feel homely with decor & plants.

The simple way to make a rented house feel like a home is with STUFF! That’s right, I know it goes against everything that Marie Kondo has been ramming down our throats, but there’s nothing better than a well curated space of plants, candles, books, trinkets and photos in my opinion. Fill your home with everything that makes you who you are and don’t feel the pressure to be anything but that.

What do you think of our rented space makeover? Would you work on yours for a six month stay? For more interior inspiration, colour clashing and general life admin, check out the rest of my blog. Follow me on InstagramPinterest and Twitter for more EJP in your life.


  1. Love it! Especially the Gallery walls. It’s great you found a way to make that place your home with temporary items you could easily take to your next home. Where did you find your artwork frames, especially the larger ones?

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Emma Jane Palin is a freelance art consultant, interior stylist and multi-award-winning blogger residing in Margate, UK. She has worked with various home and lifestyle brands not limited to West Elm, Apple, John Lewis, Habitat, MADE, Caran D'Ache + No.3 Gin. Emma is also a regular contributor to Hunker where she writes about design trends and interior advice.

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