Here’s something you don’t know about me. I’m a serial renter. I just cannot seem to commit to living in one home long term and have lived in 11 different apartments in the last nine years…. partly due to international moves and partly due to the fact that I just love changing where I live. I’m also one of those people that LOVES (like LOVES) trolling property websites.
Renting has its perks (zero responsibility for maintenance costs) and it’s lows (living in sucky apartments/homes with ugly finishes and bad design). I’m a firm believer that you should always plan to decorate your rental, even if in small temporary ways. Sure, you may not live there for long (you may not live in a home you own for long either), but ignoring the things you dislike about your home is a sure fire way of feeling miserable everytime you walk in the door
Decorating a rental often gets a bad rep, as though it’s somehow less than decorating a home you own. Not true! Not owning affords you the opportunity to invest in furniture pieces you’ve always wanted, without the worry of mortgage payments, the emergency savings fund and saving for a new kitchen, like your home-owning friends might have to. You can rest safe in the knowledge that if your washing machine breaks down – hey, it’s not your problem.
Get permission and don’t bill the landlord
Although I’m not always known for following this very important rule (ahem), it is in the best interest of your deposit to get approval in writing first – even if the approval is simply that you will change everything back to the way it was when you leave. Often if you are making improvements to an apartment a landlord will be very open to it. If not and you plan to remove the circa 1983 lampshade from your living room I strongly recommend storing said lampshade safely for when you leave so that you can return it to its original state.
WHERE TO START
First things first, do a proper clear out. Packing away currently displayed objects and removing all clutter will immediately give you a new perspective on your space and the look of your room, as well rearranging the furniture.
I’d also recommend living in this emptier space for a couple of weeks to see what fresh ideas come to you during this time and which treasured objects you truly yearn to see again. There is nothing wrong with objects living in storage boxes for 6 months or year, before coming to light again
Paint the entire space white for your blank canvas, or be bold and create a colourful feature wall.
Whether you decide to paint yourself or hire someone to do it for you, painting a room brings you the biggest return for your money. Is it also the easiest to bring back to neutral.
In my last rental I took a chance and painted a feature wall chalkboard black,. The kitchen instantly looked more modern and the next set of tenants requested to keep the painted walls.
MAKE AN ART INSTALLATION
Create a feature wall using your favourite artwork and photos. Choose frames of different shapes, colours and sizes for added interest and an eclectic feel, or go for a grid gallery of your favourite artwork for a look that is less ‘busy. If you’re worried about making unnecessary wholes in walls, try using 3M command strips which are damage free hanging strips for your pictures. I’ve used and reused them countless times.
LIGHT UP YOUR ROOM
Lighting is often the worst feature in a rental. Luckily swapping out a shade or two isn’t difficult. Great lighting creates a cosy and welcoming feeling, and is also something that dresses up a room. These days good quality lighting fixtures are readily available from many retailers, at a fraction of the cost of designer pieces. Whether you decide on replacing the ceiling shade, or adding a standing flooring lamp, think of lighting as the jewellery to your room.
UPDATE KITCHEN CABINETS WITH LEATHER PULLS
Cabinet hardware is easy to change and leather adds a lovely texture that will not only warm up the allover look of your kitchen, but also give it a modern touch. Don’t forget to keep the old one’s somewhere safe, to switch out when you move on.
MAKE USE OF RUGS
A good area rug will cover a multitude of flooring sins. Rugs are perfect for unifing different spaces, and bring colour and texture to a room. They are also yours forever, so find something you really like.
GROUP YOUR SMALLER ITEMS
When adding your finishes touches to your space, don’t just spread everything out across a surface, rather group items together for considered vignettes. That way you can still have your decorative items without turning them into clutter.
USE CUSHIONS TO ADD COLOUR AND TEXTURE
An affordable and easy solution. Once you’ve identified your colour scheme, bringing cushions in differeing shades and patterns to dress your room up or down. When adding your décor items it is important to use varying textures and layers to make a room feel warm and inviting.
MAKE A READING CORNER….
….or depending on your personal priorities, invest in a bar cart for the corner of a room.
A reading corner in the name of a daybed, floor cushion or window ledge is a great place to relax and get away from it all, all within the confines of your home.
A well stocked and displayed bart cart is a also a statement piece in a room, as well as being completely functional for an impromptu ‘prinks’ session.
USE HOUSE PLANTS AND FRESH FLOWERS
Bring the outdoors in to immediately add life to any room. Need to fill an awkward space? Plants in stylish containers can be the missing piece to your décor puzzle.