There are plenty of TV makeover shows for homeowners, but there is little on offer for Generation Rent.
This is where a new TV show comes in that aims to redress the balance and transform unloved rentals.
Flat Out Fabulous sees interior designer Whinnie Williams and her co-host Tyler West visit housemates across the country to help redecorate their rental homes in a stylish but thrifty way, with the landlord’s permission, of course.
Flat Out Fabulous is a new makeover show for tenants, with this living room transformed in a Roaring 20s style by interior designer Whinnie Williams
The first episode of the new TV show sees the Flat Out Fabulous team help seven students living together in Salford
The BBC programme is a fresh take on makeover shows that have largely been aimed only at homeowners.
The rental transformations still all happen on a restricted budget – for the cost of what the housemates would collectively spend on a big night out.
The show reveals plenty of ideas for tenants on buying, decorating and upcycling, proving that it is possible to add as much style to rentals as a property that you own.
There are, of course, restrictions on rental properties that do not exist on owned properties. Permission needs to be obtained from the landlord and more information on tenants’ responsibilities are outlined in tenancy agreements.
Before and after: The students’ living room is transformed into a designer space on a budget
Before: The uninspiring living room contains second-hand red sofas and a dated coffee table
Before: The living room was previously in neutral colours with darker flooring and furnishings
The Flat Out Fabulous team: Interior designer Whinnie Williams and her co-host Tyler West
Before (left) the living room was dated, but it has been transformed into a modern space (right)
Flat Out Fabulous is available on BBC Three – available on iPlayer – from this Sunday. It repeats on BBC One, with the first two episodes on BBC One at 10.35pm and 11.05pm on Tuesday, July 20.
The first episode sees Whinnie and Tyler in Salford to meet seven students who want to give their rental home a new lease of life.
Housemates Elliot, Jemima, Toby, Charlie, Max, Anna and Stan felt their living room wasn’t an appealing space, with second-hand red sofas and a dated coffee table.
They wanted a stylish space where they could entertain friends, watch movies and relax.
The housemates were provided with a space where they can entertain their friends, watch movies and relax
On a designer budget: Winnie creates her own version of a gold palm leaf standing lamp
The housemates all agree on a love of neutral tones. But Whinnie ignores their ideas and injects some colour into the room. She adopts a roaring 20s cinema theme, with snakeskin wallpaper and a gold ceiling.
There’s a snack station fireplace, a teal velvet sofa and cinema seats. And Whinnie involves the housemates too by upcycling a coffee table with gold leaf. She also creates her own version of a gold palm leaf standing lamp.
Whinnie explains: ‘We got all of the landlord permissions. We wanted to make it as realistic as possible. Everything we’ve done, if you were moving out, can be fixed with a lick of paint, by filling a few holes and it is back to how it was.’
And Tyler added: ‘If you don’t have permission, you still have options. There’s’ still some things that Whinnie does if you’re on a budget, such as put a rug down to cover the carpet or put a new bit of material over a sofa.
‘Whinnie delivers some hacks and tutorials if you don’t have permission. This is instilling skills in, and inspiring people that no matter where you’re renting, you can do something with your space.’
- Flat Out Fabulous, episodes one to five are available from July 18 on BBC Three
The new living room has a smart teal velvet sofa and a coffee table upcycled with gold leaf
Do I need to ask my landlord’s permission to make changes?
There are usually restrictions on redecorating if you’re renting property and so you will always need to check with your landlord first.
While a landlord’s and tenant’s responsibilities are outlined in the shorthold tenancy agreement – and this may cover redecorating – is it still worth outlining your plans in writing.
Nathan Emerson, of Propertymark, said: ‘It is always good practice to check in with both your landlord and letting agent ahead of any significant redecorating.
‘Often landlords will be more than happy to let you spruce the property up with a lick or two of paint.
‘If your landlord is open to the idea of you decorating your rental property, you should make sure to agree who will pay for the materials, a colour scheme for the rooms you wish to decorate, and a schedule of work, in order to eliminate any difficult conversations or disputes further down the line. Confirmation of permission to do so in writing is always preferable.
‘There are also a few personal touches you can easily put on your rental home without prior approval and just because you’re renting it doesn’t mean you can’t make the space your own.
‘Invest in some indoor plants to add some life and a homey feel to your rental property, and add your personal stamp to a rental home by displaying interesting art pieces throughout.
‘There is also an increasing number of temporary decorating measures you can take, such as self-adhesive wallpaper which can be removed at the end of your tenancy without a trace, as well as vinyl sheet flooring that can be ripped up within minutes when no longer needed.’