It’s no secret that award-winning DIY & Home Improvement Blogger Medina Grillo is a total guru when it comes to styling a rented home, so it’s safe to say that we were thrilled when she shared some of her expert advice with us when we caught up with her recently.
When choosing a sofa for your rented property, what are some of the problems that you could run into?
It’s often the case that sofa's in furnished rental properties aren't always the comfiest things in the world to sit on, and usually don’t look that great either. In these situations, it’s worth asking the landlord if it’s possible to put the sofa in storage and replace it with something that looks a little less tired.
There’s always sofa covers if they say no! And heads up - they most likely will say no, so if you have the choice, try opting for an unfurnished property as there is so much more flexibility when it comes to choosing home decor.
While you’re renting your home, is it worth investing in a quality sofa now, or is it better to wait until you own your own home?
There is this idea that because your rent you shouldn't be spending money and should just be saving instead. I disagree (of course). While I don't advocate expensive rental renovations that change the physical interior or exterior of a home, I do believe that money should be spent on the things that you can take with you.
Any tips for starting your search for the perfect sofa?
It goes without saying, but you won’t know if a sofa works for you unless you try it out first. Seat depths vary, which is why it’s vital to do a practice run of lounging and sitting before you make up your mind. If you are buying online, read reviews, filter dimensions and order fabric samples to establish an idea of what your sofa will be like in your home.
It’s also very important to choose a sofa with a good-quality frame and sofas with hardwood frames are a good option.
How should you go about choosing the right sized sofa for your rented home?
Before you do anything, measure up! Get out the tape measure and make sure you're certain of the maximum sofa dimensions (paying particular attention to the height, depth, and width) that will fit, and suit, your space. Think about how it will get through the door on delivery day, its proportion in relation to the size of your room, and its position.
And what about the space that the sofa needs to fill?
Ask yourself, will it be the main showstopper of the room or will it be surrounded by lots of other supporting furniture items? Will it be placed against a wall (maybe hiding an unattractive wall feature that often comes hand in hand with renting) or will it be floating away from the wall? This will also be helpful when choosing the shape, style and size of the sofa.
Speaking of sofa styles and shapes, what is the best style to choose if your apartment or flat is a little on the small side?
I would suggest going for a compact sofa with legs if you are renting a small room to give the illusion of more space, and high back options for larger rooms with high ceilings. It also needs to be a sofa that you can easily move around, or dismantled if needed (especially if you are on a 6-month contract and move often).
And what if you’re lucky enough to have a large space to fill?
Larger Corner sofas are great if you are looking to zone part of your living space for daily activities or have a big family and regularly entertain large groups of people. However, bear in mind, that you next home may not be able to accommodate its left or right corner attachments and you may find yourself having to buy a new sofa that does.
Any advice when it comes to choosing the colour or even the print of your sofa?
Go with your gut instinct, you'll want something that not only feels great but also complement the rest of the room’s look. And as you are most likely will be limited with the things you can do to add colour to the walls of your rented home (i.e. painting, hanging art), be bold - don’t be afraid to go with an option that sports a unique print.
Try not to follow trends. You want a sofa that you love and think you will still love in a 5 + years’ time.
And what about the style of the sofa? How do you know what style will suit the kind of home you have?
If your home is very modern and sleek , choose a sofa with clean lines and dramatic colours. If traditional, pick a classically structured sofa in a durable and neutral fabric.
And don't forget, you can always jazz it up with a few scatter cushions in different sizes, colours and textures.
And finally, if you’re able to choose the type of fabric on your sofa, what would be the best choice for renters?
You'll be using your sofa every day for the foreseeable future, so think about your day-to-day use before purchasing. If you have children or pets you might opt for a fabric that's easy to spot clean and is harder wearing like leather or darker cotton fabrics. Velvet is stylish and hugely on trend, but requires a little more maintenance than other fabrics. That being said, I have a child and 2 cats and a velvet sofa and so far so good!
A special thank you to Medina for sharing her expert advice with us. Make sure you check out her blog grillo-designs.com for style advice as well as plenty of DIY projects that you can do in your own home.