I would imagine that most people dream of owning their own home. For me though, the periods in my life that I was either living in a university residence or a rented flat represents an adventurous & exciting phase in my life. One of the most convenient things about a rental is the flexibility. You also don’t have to deal with big maintenance issues, bills are more predictable, it is often much cheaper than owning & it’s perfect if your career, income, family set-up or phase of life is slightly unpredictable. Plus you can often afford to rent in an area that you might not be able to buy in. Bonus!
Now, I’m not denying that there are many ‘cons’ to being a home owner too, like not being able to change the actual layout of the place. Overall I think that you can get just as cosy & create a really personal interior in a rented abode.
So, here are my TOP TIPS FOR MAKING A RENTAL SPACE YOUR OWN:
Clean up. Wash every wall, tile, cupboard, window. Now grab two little bowls, fill them halfway with white vinegar & bicarbonate of soda & place them around the rooms to ‘extract’ bad smells. This is something that my mother does which works like a bomb. After a few days you can add room spray or scented candles to make sure the place smells like home to you.
Do your planning & budgeting. Obvious, I know. But still important. Things to consider are: how long will I stay here – a short term stay might not justify certain decor items. If the landlord is easy in terms of paint, but requires you to pick up some of the costs then make sure you can afford it. You obviously don’t want to spend lots on a place that you might only inhabit for a short period.
Using non-permanent elements to add character & colour. Things can get tricky if you are not allowed to make holes in the walls. Something as fun as washi tape can be used to transform a door, a wall or just to add something to a boring object. For instance, I used washi tape to ‘write’ Oliver’s name on his bedroom door.
Or you can use it as a fun way to frame or stick up posters & prints.
You can also use decals (ie wall stickers) on walls , doors & windows. Just make sure that they can be removed easily so that you don’t damage the surfaces.
Use paint where possible to add colour & character. Chat to the landlord about the possibility of painting. You might find that he is very willing to agree on painting if you are happy to partly fund and/or oversee some painting. If you are unable to paint the walls, then look at maybe painting a door or even just some furniture pieces.
Add green. Make use of pot plants to add some greenery to the garden, entrance area or balcony. You can then take your plants when you move on. If you are really bad with plants (like me), then at least have some fresh flowers in your home for a more cosy feeling.
Change up the hardware. Door knobs & handles can give an old cupboard a fresh look. Also look at changing the light switch covers for trendy ones.
Look at the floor. Use loose rugs on tiles or existing carpets to bring in your own style. Use artificial lawn (astro turf) for an outside space, when you live on the second floor, it creates a feeling of ‘garden’ in a strange way.
Meet your neighbours. This has nothing to do with décor; but I believe that it is important to meet your neighbour. I have found over the years (& often way too late), that knowing your neighbours will make you feel instantly more at home!
Happy (rented) home-making!