It can feel pretty hard to make your rental feel like home sometimes – especially if you’re on a bit of a budget. When you moved in, your rental probably had the same cream walls, beige carpets, dated drapes and dull kitchen and bathroom as every other rented home.
The good news is that as a tenant, it doesn’t really take very much to brighten up your rental and add a splash of individuality. Whether you’re the sort of person who’ll throw a lot at it and see what sticks, or you’ll change one little thing at a time until your home is perfect – some of these tricks might be just what you need.
Remember to ask Your Landlord
A good relationship with your landlord is vital. They might have a day job, a couple of properties, or be represented by an estate agent, but they’ll definitely be covered by some insurance (although don’t use this as an excuse to go crazy as it’ll come out of your deposit!). You may want your rental to feel like home but they want to keep their investment as an asset. Landlords want the best for you and their property, so they often won’t mind or may even welcome positive changes being made to the house. As long as you’re not detracting from the value of the property there’s not normally a problem, but make sure you ask first!
If your walls aren’t already white, ask your landlord if you can paint them. It’s hard to object to white as it’s about as neutral as you can get. Having white walls means that your possessions, from furniture to ornaments, will look at home in your house because white goes with pretty much anything. Varnished wooden furniture will always go hand-in-hand with white, but how about repainting your furniture? It’s a fun project that means you get to introduce more of your personality to the house whilst feeling like you have brand new furniture – without the spending!
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Take it All Down
Even if you can’t make significant or permanent changes, you can take down curtains or lampshades and replace them with your own – just don’t forget to store the originals and put them back up when you leave. For a small and subtle change, remove the doorknobs and replace them. Go with something gold to give your room a luxe feel, or something fun and colourful to tie elements of your room together.
The Devil’s in the Details
Your ornaments and knick-knacks say a lot about you. If you’re unable to make really significant changes to your property like repainting, you can express yourself with quirky accessories and decor like metal wall art from retrodesigns.com.au. Think about the really tiny touches, like coasters and tablecloths, and spend some time finding the perfect bits for you and your home.
Fridge magnets can be one small and simple way to personalise your kitchen. Get your hands on some storytelling or poetry fridge magnets with hundreds of words and start your day writing a little adventure or mantra for yourself and the whole family to see.
Pillows, blankets, and rugs are also a great way to not only protect your furniture and carpets, but also to introduce some vibrancy. They’ll also help to keep that heating bill down when the weather gets chilly.
It’s pretty common for hanging items on walls to be banned in rented properties. If you’ve got memorable photos, special certificates, decorative little mirrors or prints and artwork you want to put up, then buying a freestanding bookshelf could be the answer. You can fill it with ornaments and and house plants, and lean your art and photos against it as opposed to putting nails in the wall.
If you’re thinking more practically and you need shelf space for storage or books, keep your shelf arrangements pretty by arranging books by colour or storing your bits and bobs in boxes and baskets. And always check out charity and vintage stores if you’re in the market for a bookshelf. You’ll save your pennies and if it’s not quite perfect, give it a lick of paint to make it your own and match it to your decor. If bright patterns and colour is your thing then you could cover the inside of the bookcase with a bold wrapping paper.
Say Aloe to my Little Friend
You can never have too many plants! If you’re a busy person and need something low maintenance, go for cacti and succulents. The windowsills are the perfect home for these plants, as they need a bit of warmth and sunshine.
If your house is a bit too small for lots of plants, expand into the garden. Check your contract first of course, but most tenants actually have complete responsibility for their gardens. If the fences are on your property, you could revamp them with a fresh coat of paint – or even paint a mural on them. Very few landlords will object to you doing things that will raise their property’s value after you leave, like making flower beds or a veg garden.
The most important thing is that you can make your rental feel like home. Your house needs to feels like a home to you. Whether it’s understated and minimal or busy and bright, you’ll feel a lot more at home when you’ve put some energy into making it your own. And it doesn’t have to cost the earth!
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