When the owners of this rented four-bedroom mid-terraced house in Todwick, South Yorkshire moved in, it was wall-to-wall magnolia with worn carpets and in need of some TLC.
‘Although it was a bit shabby and needed decorating, which put other people off, the village is lovely and the location was perfect, as it’s right by my daughter’s school,’ says the owner. ‘With four bedrooms, it was also much bigger, which was brilliant as I got the opportunity to buy more furniture!’
If you’re going to be living somewhere for five years, you need to make cost-effective changes, so the easiest solution was paint ideas as it’s inexpensive and makes an impact. The landlords of the property agreed the owners could redecorate as the entire house was painted in a horrible yellowy magnolia colour.
Now it’s been transformed with a dark, moody style, featuring vintage lamps, religious iconography and lots of faux plants, as the owner is a self-confessed serial plant killer!
‘My style has probably evolved over the years but I’d describe it as dark and eclectic, mixing up contemporary and vintage retro pieces,’ says the owner. ‘There are some great antique shops in Chesterfield and Matlock, or I’ll sometimes pick up a bargain at car-boat sales and Facebook Marketplace.’
If the hallway idea is the first room you see, the couple made this their first project. They fitted a new stair carpet and painted the walls in Heart Wood by Dulux – a warm browny-pink shade.
‘I saw these cinema seats in a salvage yard called The Lucky Magpie in Chesterfield, and just had to have them,’ says the owner. ‘The vintage drawers were a Facebook Marketplace find.’
The red garage and front door had also seen better days, but a lick of teal paint made a huge difference.
The living room
Both the kitchen and living room had been decorated a couple of times with leftover paint. The couple started off using gray paint, then a midnight-blue feature wall in the living room, but they soon fell out of love with it. They settled on brown walls and Homebase wallpaper idea, which gives it some texture.
‘The living room is my favorite space and best reflects my style,’ says the owner. ‘It’s more of an evening room and the only place that’s always tidy!’
It took a while to work out how to arrange living room furniture as there’s a big window in the living room. The couple thought about a large corner sofa, but if they move house it might not fit in the next place. Things fell into place when they found two new Ikea sofas, which are the same style, but contrasting colors and materials.
‘It was a nightmare getting them in the house, though – they wouldn’t fit up the stairs so they had to come in through the window!’ they explained.
The owners have made the best of the existing kitchen idea. The previous tenant had an Ikea island unit, so they bought a similar one from The Natural Wood Floor Co for extra prep space.
They also took the doors off two of the wall cabinets to create some open display space and added wallpaper at the back for texture. However, the biggest game changer was painting the walls a grey-brown color and covering the horrible beige wall tiles with stickers from eBay.
Kitchen lighting ideas can also make a big difference. For instance, the owners weren’t keen on the kitchen ceiling full of spotlights and wanted a focal point. So they attached a budget pendant shade over one of them with a hook, then dressed it up with a mix of dried and faux foliage.
The dining room
One of the best bargains in the house is the dining table and six chairs, which the owners got for £50 on eBay. It came with a sideboard, which they didn’t have room for, so they sold it for £50!
This vintage 1960s boat scene was just £2 at a car boot sale, and the display cabinet belonged to the owner’s grandmother. As an easy DIY project, it has been upcycled with chalk paint and spotty Homebase wallpaper added on the back.
‘I’d love to rip out the bathroom and have a freestanding bath, but you have to work with what you’ve got,’ the owner tells us. ‘A lick of dark gray paint and some framed fake foliage has made a big difference.’
The master bedroom
The couple have had the bedroom furniture for a while as it’s really good quality and the dark wood works well with the Victorian Tapestry wall color by Valspar.
They’ve printed off monochrome pictures of the New Romantics from the Internet, as they both love that era. The black frames were sprayed in gold to match the handles of the striped bomb chest from TK Maxx.
The IKEA chair used to be in the lounge. However, it’s such a classic that it looks good in any room. The typography print is from @meadowbankinteriors on Instagram and makes a big impact over the bed.
The girl’s bedroom
The owners’ 12 year old daughter is a bit of a maximalist and picked everything for her room.
‘She loves displaying all her bits and pieces, and got the idea for mounting vinyl records on the wall from Tik Tok,’ says her mum.
When it comes to renting, the owners shared this wisdom: ‘My mission is to encourage renters to be brave and make changes. As long as you’re making positive improvements and you ask first, your landlord should be happy.’ That’s sound advice in our book!