The AVERAGE house price in Sydney is currently $920,000.
You read that right, almost one MILLION dollars. Ridiculous right? So it’s no surprise that almost half of all Australians are now renters, versus home owners.
Since moving out of home at 17, I’ve always been a renter. In the beginning, it was by choice. I didn’t want the commitment of a mortgage or a fixed location. Now I’m driven by affordability and I have no choice, because a million dollars is kinda out of my price range!
I used to have the mentality that a rental was impersonal, temporary, and not worth decorating. So I never did.
But now that I have a family and we’ve been making memories in our rental for the last 3 years, I’ve changed my tune. I love to decorate my home now. And yes, we don’t own the walls we live in but it’s still ours. We’re the ones waking up in this home everyday, making mess, cleaning up, coming home to, making sweet memories in – this is our place of residence, and we pay to be here!
And if we move on from here, we will make our next place feel like home too.
Home is wherever your family is! And home should feel like home, regardless of whether it’s in a rental or not.
So if you’re a renter looking for ways to make your rental feel more like home, I hope you’ll find these tips useful!
1.Work with what you have
We live in a newly built, modern villa. And even though I personally love the farmhouse/industrial style and would love to implement it all through the house, it just wouldn’t work with the existing modern features of glossy white tiles and chrome hardware in this place. So I’ve had to adapt my style to what we already have going on. If you live in an older style house from the 70’s, work with that! Get some retro pieces that will fit with the overall appearance and character of your house. Work with the existing aesthetic and you’ll find it easier to style and decorate.
2. Add wall art and photos
So you can’t drill holes or hammer nails into the walls. No biggie! Get some 3M Command picture hanging strips and your walls will be pretty without damage in no time! They’re so easy to use and if hung correctly according to the instructions provided, you can easily remove them whenever required with zero damage to your walls. Hanging photos that have meaning to you creates a personalised look to your space. No longer do your walls look bland and uninviting, the photos instantly tell your story. And will make you feel more at home each time you look at them.
Wall art can also have a dramatic impact on the look of your space. Just remember these general rules for hanging art and you can’t go wrong:
When deciding where to hang art, make sure the middle of the artwork is always at approximate eye level.
When hanging art above a piece of furniture, the art should be approximately 75% of the size of the furniture.
3. Bring in soft furnishings
You may not be able to paint the walls but you can still bring in colour and patterns easily by adding soft furnishings. Cushions are your new best friend. By adding cushions you’re not only adding comfort, but also texture and colour. Try tying in the colour of your cushion to your wall art and you’re already halfway there!
Throw blankets are also ideal. Drape them over the sofa or end of the bed for a comfy but luxurious vibe.
4. Replace blinds with curtains
I don’t know about you but I think vertical blinds are pretty much the ugliest things ever. At least in my place they were. They just made my nice cushions and furnishings look so… less nice!
And because they’re so generic in rentals these days (they’re the cheap option for property owners and developers), it’s hard to make your place feel like a unique home with them installed.
In my case, it was as simple as asking the Landlord if we could take down the vertical blinds and replace with curtains. He agreed on the condition that we put the verticals back on when we vacate, and agree to patch any holes if we were going to drill into the wall for the curtain rods. Patching holes is pretty easy so that was a no brainer for us.
(If ever in doubt, just Youtube ‘How to patch a hole in the wall’)
The blinds themselves were easy to remove, we just had to unclip them. The blind track was also pretty easy to remove, just by unscrewing the screws on the mounting plates that were attaching the track to the wall.
To store the blinds, I tied them together with some string and hung them up on the wall in the garage so they would maintain their shape. This is important so they don’t get damaged in any way. We also stored the track in the garage.
If you don’t get the go ahead to take down the vertical blinds, I’ve seen people install curtains over the top of the vertical blinds. And if you aren’t allowed to install curtains at all, I’ve also seen people use the largest 3M command hook, as a hook to rest their curtain rods on. No drilling required! And no damage to the walls.
Curtains in our place (in image above) have made a huge change to the space, and I think a 5 minute patching job when we leave is totally worth it!
5. Get a rug
Rugs can be great for adding colour, dimension, comfort and even concealing floor finishing’s you may not be so fond of.
They’re a good way to bring some of your style into the space without changing any of the rental’s existing flooring. Don’t like your carpet? Invest in a large rug! You’ll be taking it with you when you leave anyway.
Rugs can also help to frame your furniture and define the area.
6. Negotiate with your landlord
There may be other things you’d like to do to improve the look of your rental, but you don’t think you’ll be allowed. Ask! The worst that can happen is they say no.
Want to paint the walls a different colour? Ask! The landlord might like the idea of getting a fresh coat of paint for his property. Or he might just say yes on the condition you return the walls to their original condition upon vacating.
Fancy building shelves in the garage? Or putting in a veggie garden?
Your ideas to make changes may work in the landlord’s favour, if he sees those changes as adding value to his property.
So don’t be shy! You may be pleasantly surprised.
If you’re a renter, or have been a renter, what kind of things do/did you do to make your rental feel more like home? Feel free to share your ideas!