Money

5 Tips To Make A Rented House Feel Like Home

Let’s be honest: living in a rental property comes with its annoyances. Key among them is the inability to have a say in the colour of your walls, your bathroom tiles or that tatty carpet you’d rather not think about.

Home ownership is declining across Australia and the last census showed that the number of households who rent has risen to 30.9 per cent.

But it’s not all bad news. Even if you’re living in a rental property there are loads of ways to put your own stamp on your home that won’t break the budget and will keep your landlord happy.

Anastasia Dinos is an interior designer and stylist at Mood Design. She says renters shouldn’t be put off by the restrictions placed on them.

“Renting limits the structural changes you can do to your home but don’t let this stop you – there are so many clever portable and removable storage and decorating solutions giving you endless options to solve your design challenges,” she says.

Here are some of Anastasia’s tips.

Cull your belongings

Before you do anything else, you need to be strict with yourself and de-clutter.

“Trying to fit too much into one space can really make it feel overwhelming and stressful.  Not only that but it will influence your mood and take away from being a relaxing and restful space where you can chill,” Anastasia says.

Look at all of the items you have and make a conscious effort to emotionally detach from objects that are taking up unnecessary space. When decided what items to display in your home, keep it simple and don’t be tempted to clutter a space with too many items.

Keeping some pieces in storage will enable you to rotate things when you feel like you want a change, and it won’t break the bank!

Have a plan

Redecorating can seem like a costly exercise, but if you have a good plan, it doesn’t have to be.

“Be clear on the problem you are trying to solve or the look you are trying to achieve (which includes the budget you are sticking to),” Anastasia says.

Any look can be created on a budget if you plan things out properly and shop wisely.

“Many people don’t realise the cost of decorating mistakes is actually more expensive,” says Anastasia.

“Bringing home impulse purchases, or buying things without a plan only to come home and realise they don’t work or fit is a horrible feeling.”

Eliminate the temptation to spend too much by avoiding expensive stores. Or, if you really can’t resist the lure of a fancy home wares store, stick to the sales section only.

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Use clever storage

Apartment living all too often means limited space and few built in storage options, but there are ways to work around this.

“There are endless portable solutions available these days if you’re clever and have a clear plan,” Anastasia says.

If you’re tight on space, look for items of furniture that have multiple uses: ottomans can act as foot rests, coffee tables and can provide storage for blankets or books. Small bookshelves or sets of drawers can act as side tables and bookcases can be used as TV stands.

Add your own style

Everyone loves a good story about the rental with the hideous green kitchen or neon pink bathroom; makes for hilarious dinner party conversation, but not so fun when you’re living in it.

“Unfortunately a room colour can create a certain mood which can make or break a room. However through the clever use of elements such as lighting and art you can easily create and influence a different mood to disguise the not-so-nice original feel,” Anastasia says.

The best way to put your own stamp on your home is to take inspiration from your own belongings.

“Your style is authentic to you.  Nobody else has the same collection of colours, clothes and trinkets as you so use these to your advantage,” Anastasia says.

“Looking inside your wardrobe will show you the prominent colours you are drawn to.  Dig out some trinkets that you collected over the years or in your travel adventures (you know the ones, that get shoved in a box never to be seen again!) and pick up some books to encourage your focus in life at the moment. Using tangible things to change your physical surroundings not only creates your authentic stamp but will subconsciously encourage you to focus on your intention – whatever that may be for you.” 

Use soft décor

Never underestimate the power of a good throw pillow. It’s an easy way to instantly change the feel of a space.

“Soft decor is so versatile and allows you to change a mood of a home so easily, quickly and cheaply,” Anastasia says.

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Mix up the throw rugs or cushions in your lounge room or bedroom and rotate them occasionally for variety. Hang rugs on walls (using removable hooks that won’t damage the walls of course), use lighting to create different moods and use books as stands for lamps or knick-knacks.

Plants are also a great way to fill empty corners and add freshness to a room.

And our final tip? A little bit of dusting and tidying never goes astray.


Elizabeth Pratt is a journalist and blogger based in Sydney. When she’s not working, you’ll find her relaxing in her yellow arm chair and dreaming about her next trip overseas.