One thing we’ve all been doing more of during Covid is spending time at home and getting frustrated with things that we wouldn’t normally notice or worry about.
Bare walls, the grotty rug, the skirting board that needs touching up loads of things that, in ordinary times, you would take for granted with a rental property – become annoying and the pandemic was a spur to do something about it.
Of course, there are always restrictions about altering or interfering with someone else’s property permanently – but there are ways of making a rental property like a home without knocking walls down or creating havoc.
The good news is that you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to make your rental apartment feel like your own either.
Make sure you read your lease and get permission from your landlord before you begin any serious renovations.
Here are a few ideas to get you started on making your place feel like home.
First off, make sure the basics are taken care of. Drains that don’t drain and heating that doesn’t work can make all your efforts pointless. Get the essential maintenance done initially.
This includes things like pest control. Having mice or rats or possums running around your property means it will never be like your home – you’ll be sharing with some fairly unpleasant creatures. Get a possum pest control company in to sort out the pesky rodents, mammals, and birds before you do anything else.
You should start your makeover in sympathy with the type of place you’re renting. Townhouse decoration has a completely different look to that of coastal home interiors, for example.
Items like ethnic rugs can be great in any environment but beware of too much beach homeware if, say, you live in the middle of Sydney, or especially Melbourne or Canberra.
One of the most crucial areas is lighting. Even a beautifully decorated space will appear flat if the lighting is poor. Don’t just rely on the light from the ceiling.
Floor lamps, table lamps, or even candles can brighten up a room. Mirrors can help you make the most of the natural light you have by reflecting it throughout the room. Experimenting with different brightness levels is also an excellent suggestion.
The lack of storage in rented dwellings might cause unsightly clutter. Adding furniture or accessories that serve as both storage solutions and decorative accents might improve the situation.
You can use a stack of suitcases as a side table, as well as a place to store periodicals and other objects that are rarely used.
Try adding some shelf inserts to your kitchen cupboards too. Get some inspiration from videos about maximising storage possibilities around the house on TikTok or YouTube.
No home is complete without plants and flowers, which are a surefire way to bring a space to life. As living organisms, many of them help in cleaning the air and eliminating poisons from the atmosphere.
Make sure you don’t limit yourself to just your living areas when adding plants to your home. Many plants thrive in a humid environment, and smaller plants are ideal for restrooms.
Although any plant will seem nice in a white pot, don’t be afraid to experiment with different styles of pots to add colour and texture.
While we’re discussing texture, another great way of sprucing up a rental home interior is to use fabrics to create atmosphere, stories and/or different themes.
Decorate a chair with a sheepskin, find a unique upholstered stool, or use colourful towels in a white bathroom to add colour and personality.
The options are virtually endless. Cushions can be matched and chair coverings can follow or complement the cushions or throws.
Don’t forget the outside of the property either. Plastic furniture can be expensive but look cheap.
Art – in the form of posters, prints or original paintings can transform any property.
The problem is the resulting damage to the walls or other places the art might be hung.
Hooks for hanging art come in many shapes and forms, but, at some point, they have to be fixed to the wall and this can leave holes or damage the wall in some other way.
This doesn’t stop you from having art. There are plenty of ways of leaning paintings and prints against the wall or shelf or table – it just means you have to be a little more creative with your hanging arrangements.
A great way of organising your rental place to make it more like home is to create areas with different themes and collections. The little details here, make a big difference.
Create a library of books somewhere and they become not just visually appealing, but a centre for reference and/or relaxation, depending on the books.
Using soft items like rugs, pillows and blankets help to make an area cosier and more inviting. Antique shops, charity shops, second-hand markets and stalls, as well as eBay and Amazon marketplace, are great places to find bargain accessories, which will help to add decorative touches to your home.
If you have plastic or metal blinds or shutters at your rental, you can cover them up by installing curtains in front of the windows. Make sure to check with your landlord first though
Massive pieces of internal furniture can easily take over a space, making even the largest and brightest of areas claustrophobic. Instead of a giant corner sofa, consider a smaller sofa and an armchair for your living room.
Using three little tables instead of one large coffee table might make a space appear larger. Adding a few oddball pieces of furniture can also help a furnished apartment reflect your unique style.
Again, just remember to read your lease and get permission from your landlord before you begin any major renovations that they may not be happy with.