If you’re one of the 2.6 million Aussies currently in the rental market, it can be hard
to feel like your house is really your home. You need permission to paint a wall or
hammer in a nail, and every lease has rules that mean you can’t always make the
changes you’d like. So we’ve come up with a few solutions to making your
rental property feel like it belongs to you.
And after Domain’s 2022 First Home Buyer’s Report revealed it could take up
to 16 years to save for a house deposit, this guide couldn’t have come at a better
time. These tips are simple, extremely effective, and will have you proclaiming
‘there’s no place like home’ in no time.
First things first, chat to your landlord
The best place to start is with a quick chat to your landlord about what you can
and can’t change, as this gives you scope for what’s possible. They might be
totally fine with a fresh coat of paint or a few hooks in the wall, and if they’re not,
temporary fixes can still help put your own spin on your place.
1. Swap out your hardware
An easy (and reversible) change you can make to give your rental more personality
is to swap out the hardwares. If your kitchen cabinets have worn, outdated
handles, a screwdriver and some fresh handles from Bunnings, an antique store,
or otherwise can bring brand new life to the room. The same goes for door
handles, light fixtures (goodbye, ugly chandelier!), and even shower heads, though
you might want to run that last one by real estate first. Just remember to keep the
originals for when you move out.
2. Paint a wall (or try a temporary alteration!)
A fresh home deserves fresh paint, and most landlords are open to tenants
painting a wall, provided it’s not lime green or neon orange! With approval,
you can revive your rooms by painting them in bright white or soft pastels.
And if you’re dying to bring a dazzling splash of style to your rental, you need to
check out the latest trend that is removable, renter-friendly wallpaper. A number of
companies have created easy-to-apply, easy-to-remove wallpaper that comes in
all types of designs and colour palettes, with recyclable options so you’re not
creating waste when your lease ends. There’s even vinyl tiles that lock together if
you want to create the illusion of new flooring.
3. Use materials to make a statement
Ok, so you can’t always paint a feature wall or replace that ugly door, but you
know what doesn’t leave a mark? Fabric. Whether it’s new curtains,
natural pillows that pop on your couch or bedroom furniture, a lush tablecloth,
or a rug that complements your style, there’s plenty of options to make your
room say ‘wow’.
If you’re going for an earthy, minimalist look, we love jute rugs and organic
bedding accessories, but if you’re looking for a bolder statement, why not invest
in some printed curtains, mustard French linen quilt covers, or bright, funky towels
hanging in the bathroom. When you look around and get creative, there’s no end
to the ways you can add your own style to your rental.
4. Use lighting to your advantage
Often, rental homes won’t have sufficient lighting, but this is something you can
easily fix. For ceiling lights, you could swap them out for something brighter
(or softer) depending on the room, or use lamps strategically to make a huge
difference to the mood.
Softer lighting or lamps help create a relaxed, gentle space, while standing lamps
can bring more vibrancy and drama to a corner of your room. Even candles can
help soften a mood in your bathroom or dining room instead of lights, and you
don’t even need a powerpoint for those!
5. Artwork all the way
Nothing reflects personal taste better than artwork. Even if nailing hooks in the
wall is not something your landlord is open to, there are removable command
hooks that allow you to hang art around your home. Take stock of the type of
furniture you currently have and the overall aesthetic you’re going for.
Then search online or peruse local stores for art that matches your style
and - most importantly - brings you joy when you look at it.
You could add eye-catching pieces or a collage-like collection of frames to the
living room, or even pair your frames and artwork with your bedding accessories
or bedroom furniture. There’s no wrong choice when it comes to art.
6. Plants, plants, plants
As makers of organic mattresses and sustainable furniture, we’ll never stop
spouting the benefits of natural items in your home. So when it comes to putting
your own touch on your rental, plants are a big one for us.
There are so many varieties of houseplants that bring big energy and unique
beauty to your home, and can even make a room feel bigger by drawing your eyes
up with their height (fiddle leaf figs, anyone?) There’s a plant (or several plants) to
suit every personality and home style, but if you’re new to the houseplant scene,
we’ve rounded up some of the best ones here.
Don’t discount the impact a few accessories can make around your home.
You might have a penchant for 70s glassware, a gorgeous collection of coffee
table books, or a quirky array of holiday souvenirs - and your home is the place
to put them on display.
You can also accessorise according to interests; you might love entertaining,
so having a dining table set with plates, candles, vases, and ornaments will make
the home feel like yours. If you’re a big reader, having a cosy corner with an
armchair, lamp, cushions and throws will help create a calm space that’s just for
you. Use the things you love to curate a home you want to live in.
Making your house a home
Renting isn’t always straightforward, and you don’t always know how long you’ll
be in any given house, but turning it from a blank canvas into a place you want
to come home to is always worth the effort. And as we’ve discovered, it doesn’t
have to cost much or involve major renovations. Now, go forth, get creative,
and make your rental house a home!