Artist and homeware designer Anna Jacobs is the co-host of the @colourfiedhome Instagram account, convenor of the Create Colour Magic In Your Home course, and dweller of one of the most colourful apartments we’ve ever seen.

She’s also a long-time renter.

In the first of a new series with the colour guru, Anna busts the myth that you have to own a home to bring in light, colour and self-expression to your surroundings. She lets us in on a few of her trade secrets to help you #OWNTHE(RENTED)ROOM.

Despite renting your property, you have been able to make bold statement schemes. We’re wondering, what sort of obstacles do you feel a budding interior designer and renter might experience, and how can they overcome them?


Straight off, you need to check your rental contract. Some, like my previous rental, state that you can do whatever you like to the property, as long as it’s put back to its original state when you leave.

Don’t feel dissuaded from making some specific proposals to your landlord about what you’d like to do, even showing them examples of other rentals and promising that you will return anything to its original state if they don’t like it. After all, a happy tenant who feels invested in their home is more likely to be a good tenant who takes care of the property. My landlord actually visited my flat a few days ago and he was fascinated by all the removable things I’d used and even wanted contact details for the supplier.

Get Started!

So the first thing I always advise renters is to cover the floors in rugs as soon as possible. This immediately adds colour, texture and personality to the space- with the added benefits of protecting the carpets or wooden/vinyl floors from damage and being totally removable and cost effective! You can even use outdoor water-resistant rugs for kitchens and bathrooms.

Changing lampshades is another similarly effective small-scale change, as controlling the colour and intensity of light really helps build mood (read Harlequin’s specially commissioned White Paper on light colour and wellness here). Adding throws to sofas alongside lovely cushions is a staple go-to for budget-conscious interior design which pulls no punches on impact. Also consider changing up furniture like cupboard and door handles, which can really add personality and are another thing you could take away with you for another property when you leave.

Step up your makeover

If you’re ready for more significant changes and are prepared for a little investment, the easiest, quickest and cheapest thing to do is to paint and wallpaper small contained areas. Surfaces such as door surrounds, bathrooms, perhaps just one statement wall behind a bed or a desk, are perfect for making an unforgettable impact. The next step up would be wallpapering or painting a whole room.

You could also wallpaper sturdy walls using a special wallpaper paste used in exhibitions that means you can easily peel it off afterwards. Of course, this is an investment, because when you peel them back off you won’t be able to keep them (apart from the wallpaper if its good quality).

You made an inspirational dressing screen, using designs Floreana and Montipora from our new Colour 1 collection. Tell us a little about how you made the screen, and how you see it functioning in your space?

Oh I LOVE my screen! I was so excited to have the Floreana wallpaper in my home. The screen was my solution to introducing this stunning design and avoiding making permanent structural changes.

I wanted it to be as light and movable as possible, but also sturdy. I designed it using 6 pieces of 3mm MDF, which were each the same width as the strips of wallpaper and then fixed each pair together back to back with 2cm wide strips of wood, making them hollow panels. This meant I could also hang hangers on the top strip without them showing through on the other side and fix rollerball wheels on the bottom, so I could easily move it to new areas.

I then glued the wallpaper to one side and stapled the fabric to the other, which was very easy to do. I also wanted to add some glam and shine to pick up the iridescent glow of the wallpaper, so I glued distressed brass strips of metal down each edge (which also hides the fabric joins) and sourced fabulous super long brass hinges for the folding edges.

It has turned out to be one of the best things I’ve added to my flat, because not only is it a stunning decorative addition to my bedroom, it also hides an ugly corner (and more importantly I can chuck all the mess behind it if people come round unexpectedly!). It’s mobility mean there are endless possibilities!

Like Anna’s style? Visit her Instagram @annalysejacobs, or check out her website

#Owntheroom is all about you. Your space, your style, your choice. Take our Own The Room Quiz, and discover style that reflects you.

Anna Jacobs in room painted and wallpapered.

posted on 17 Dec 2021

©2024 Sanderson Design Group, All Rights Reserved.