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By Katherine Ormerod

Katherine Ormerod shares tips on making a rented space feel like a home 

One of the biggest causes of strife as a renter is moving. I’ve lived in 16 properties over my four decades and since I was 18, I have moved every 20 months on average. This is all fine when you can fit all your possessions in a black cab—less so when you start to pick up more cumbersome items, like say a sofa and two children.

When you rent, there is always a level of unpredictability. Because of that your space can feel transient and investing time and energy on making it homey can feel pointless. Despite this, there are so many positives to decorating your space, from supporting your mental health to creating a sanctuary for yourself from the noise outside. While the address might change, I've made it my mission to make every rental feel like a home and eBay has played a huge role in that. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to create a space you can’t wait to show your friends and family. I always say it’s the heart that makes a home.”

Five tips on how to make your rental more homely from Katherine Ormerod

  1.  Swap it out. Properties are, obviously, all shaped differently which can create all sorts of problems with large items of furniture. Like many renters, I’ve found myself trying to ram a wardrobe into an alcove that’s 5mm too narrow for it. Fortunately, eBay offers a 360-degree solution enabling you to sell pieces which don’t fit into your new property while bidding for alternatives which do. Stomach lurch moment over.

  2. Invest in quality pieces that don’t break the bank. As a renter, you are constantly made aware that your living situation is temporary, and you should probably be saving your money for that elusive deposit. But eBay allows you to make investments in quality design for a fraction of the price. I truly believe it is better to seek out timeless design classic, which you know you will love forever. The beauty of eBay is that you can do that for the same price as you’ll find for the more trend-led high street buys. 

  3. Storytelling with furniture. I believe a home tells a story, and that layering your space with items which are attached to memories creates that true feeling of belonging. For example, I have eight Eames dining chairs which are a mixture of issues—some are newer, and some date back to the 70s. Although they aren’t identical, they reflect my own story across a decade, and I remember saving for each and every one. Every time I sit around the table, I think of the tales behind each chair - to me, that’s magic, whether you’re a renter or not.


  4. Smaller touches can make a big difference.  Especially when renting, there can be decorative limitations, so accessories become all the more important. Items like cushions and tablecloths can make a world of difference to inject personal style. When I lived in studios or tiny one beds, I’d place cushions on the floor and make a low table with crates and boards that I already owned. Anything you can throw a piece of fabric over can be a table, after all!

  5. Don’t be afraid to ask. While it’s not part of our national culture, I’ve found some landlords to be open to mutually agreed cosmetic updates. Whether that’s changing the colour of the walls, putting up shelving or just hanging some frames, it can make the world of difference. For my son’s room I added a scalloped trim to the shelves to give them a bit more character - you shouldn’t be afraid to ask your landlord, but always make sure you get everything in writing before picking up that paintbrush!

So you can see her talent at play, Katherine recently turned to eBay to upgrade her current rented home. She wanted to transform her dining area for entertaining and hosting as we get nearer to Christmas, as well as transitioning the nursery into a kid’s room as her youngest son leaves his toddler years behind. See below for more details on the transformations. 


Dining room transformation

In her current home, Katherine realised that she’d had the same dining table for seven years, ever since she moved into her first tiny rental flat. Despite loving the table, it only fits six people at a push, which doesn’t accommodate her growing family. As Katherine is hosting Christmas lunch this year, she turned to eBay to source a table fit for the occasion. 

She decided to invest in a pre-loved Soho House marble dining table, along with black Eames chairs (some of her favourite purchases from eBay). To complete the look, she topped the table with a vintage Bordallo Pinheiro serving plate, Sophie Conran plates and Murano glasses.


Kids room revamp

Katherine’s youngest son is growing up and his nursery is in need of a refresh. Decorating kids rooms in rentals can often be an afterthought, but Katherine wanted to create a space which her son can call home.

She re-decorated his bedroom herself, speaking to her landlords to make sure they were happy with her painting the walls and adding some shelving to store toys. Katherine notes that she’s found that with most rental properties, landlords are usually happy for you to make surface level changes as long as you ask permission.

To add a little magic for the finishing touches, she turned to eBay. She decided to invest in a vintage boucle accent chair, a geometric hand woven rug, a giraffe lightshade, a wicker storage basket, and of course some toys.

Katherine Ormerod’s top picks

Katherine Ormerod’s top picks

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