Interior design ideas to decorating a rental property – living rooms

The heart of the home, living rooms are one place to really call home if you're to feel comfortable and relaxed. To help stop you worry about any possible damage to landlord's furniture or choosing furniture for you new home we have some great interior design ideas to help you. We start by looking at furnished homes – this is where the landlord places his/her furniture into the property for you to use during the time you're occupying the property.

There are pros and cons to renting furnished homes. Undoubtedly the biggest con is that you have to put up with your landlord's furniture, which may not be to your liking or it may not be in very good condition. This biggest pro is that you don't have to buy new furniture yourself – which can mean huge savings. As we've already discussed this week it's a good idea to use throws to cover landlord's sofas and easy chairs, along with cushions to stamp your identity on the room.

Large rugs can be used to protect flooring and replacing your landlord's window dressing with cheap curtains is an effective way of keeping them in an 'unused' condition throughout your tenancy. Remember to keep all landlord's soft furnishings stored away neatly so that you can return them to their places when you move on. Next we move onto unfurnished properties – this is a property which has none of the landlord's furniture, so you'll have to provide them yourself. If you're buying new then take the size of the living room into consideration and look for sofas and chairs which don't have any arms as these can make small living rooms appear large and less cluttered.

Place the front third of the sofa on a large rug to give it the appearance of 'floating' as this will also help to give the optical illusion of more floor space. Try not to place your furniture against walls otherwise your living room could easily end-up looking like a doctor's waiting room! Move sofas and chairs away from the walls leaving sufficient space behind them to walk if you have the space. Grouping furniture together can make a living room more intimate, friendly and encourage conversation. If the room has alcoves use cheap curtains to give them a false 'door' – this is a great way of disguising clutter and shelving. Don't forget to maximise storage space by using coffee tables with draws or shelving.

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