The cost of turning a house into a home

With more than 5 million British households currently living in private rented accommodation, new research from Sunny reveals that millions could be risking their tenancy deposits by making changes to a rented home without permission but more importantly, they are using their own money to improve the landlord’s property.

The figures from Sunny identified that 82% of renters have spent their own cash on making home improvements to transform their home, spending on average £880. 

However, more than half (59%) admitted that they did not seek permission from their landlord when making cosmetic changes and improvements. With the average tenancy deposit at £1,041[3], many renters could face disputes with their landlords when they come to move out due to making cosmetic changes to the property.

The changes most likely to be made to rented homes:

  • Painting the walls (60%)
  • Changing the furniture (44%)
  • Putting nails in the wall to hang pictures or mirrors (40%)
  • Putting shelves up (40%)
  • Changing the flooring (38%)
  • Sticking pins into the wall or using blue tac (37%)

The rooms that receive the most attention from renters are the living room, where renters spend on average £175, the kitchen (£158) and the bedroom (£135). And when it comes to splashing out on new treasures, Brits are most likely to have their heads turned by the high street with 60% shopping for furniture or homeware at least once a year. That’s around two-thirds more than the number who head to charity shops (36%) or three times the number that visit car boot sales (22%), where there’s often a bargain to be had. 

TV personality and upcycling expert Max McMurdo has partnered with Sunny to create a series of landlord-friendly tips and tricks for transforming a rented home on a budget.

Max says: Sunny information on new homes

“Just because you’re renting doesn’t mean you can’t put your own stamp on a property – it doesn’t need to be expensive or time-consuming. It’s often the little things that make a huge difference to the look and feel of a space so adding small creative touches or looking at old treasures in a new light is a great place to start if you’re thinking of freshening up your home. The research from Sunny shows that we’re often unsure about where to start when it comes to doing it ourselves, or that our project might not turn out as expected. But this is the beauty of doing it yourself and there are lots of quick tips and tricks you can use to transform your home on a budget.” 

Max McMurdo’s landlord-friendly tips for improving a rented home on a budget – find out more at

Raid the recycling box 

Many household items can be easily transformed with just a bit of thinking outside the (cardboard?) box. Look at what you have around the house that you’re not already using – the kitchen recycling box is a great place to start. It could be transforming your tin cans into plant pots or painting glass jars with metallic paint and adding tea lights to add colour and light to a room.

Mark-free gallery walls 

Wall art is a great way to personalise a home but nails in walls is a big no-no for most landlords. Adhesive picture hanging strips are a great alternative – they can be found in most DIY and craft stores. Create your own photo frames by using old scrap pieces of wood or pallets. You can buy cheap blank canvases and paint at many high street shops – or frame the things that are important to you to create a gallery wall that doesn’t leave a mark. Leaning an old wooden ladder against a wall is a great way to gain height and create useful shelving.

Freshen up flower pots 

Sunny’s research shows the average renter is willing to spend £129.10 on their garden, but DIY gardening pots are a great way to brighten up your outside space at a fraction of the price. And the best thing is you can take them with you when you move! Some of my favourite items include sourcing old tyres or old wheelbarrows and painting them in bold colours, ready to plant seeds inside. Used metal cans can also be used as flower pots, giving your garden a hint of colour.

Put down the paintbrush

Having a landlord who doesn’t allow you to paint your property doesn’t mean you can’t spruce up your rooms with colour. Opting for colourful art, accessorising with cushions and storing your items away in boldly coloured storage will all help brighten up your place. If you’re feeling more adventurous, visit your local habadashery store for cheaper cuts of fabric which can be used for cushion covers, curtains or even re-upholstering older pieces of furniture.

Brighten up your kitchen

Kitchens are expensive spaces and tend to be fitted but that doesn’t mean you can’t personalise them on a budget. Vinyl stickers are a brilliant non-permanent way to update tired old kitchen units, and if you’re after some fresh flooring, consider some lino sheets which can be placed over existing tiles. Decorative accessories such as rugs can help hide any scuffed flooring whilst wine glasses make brilliant vases.

Scott Greever, Managing Director of Sunny, says:

“Whether you rent or own, everyone wants to personalise their home - but no one wants to throw money down the drain by improving someone else’s property, or (at worst) losing their deposit because they didn’t get permission first. In our research, we found that people are spending a great deal of their own money on home improvements, even when it’s rented – an average of £880, which is money that they may not get back when they move on. It’s also possible that the landlord might refuse to refund a tenancy deposit if permanent changes are made. We know that many of our customers live in rented accommodation and that’s why we’ve teamed up with Max McMurdo to create some landlord-friendly home inspiration which doesn’t cost a lot. So, whether you’re freshening up your current place or just feel like a change upcycling can be a great way to transform your space with a few new creations without breaking the bank.”

For more information about Sunny please click here

November 5, 2018

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