Renting is becoming an increasingly attractive housing option, with the 2016 census finding 30.9% of Australians rent – that’s about 16 million people choosing the freedom and opportunity that renting offers. Renting has remarkable advantages over buying: no maintenance costs or repair bill, access to amenities, no real estate taxes and no steep deposits or down payments.
However, living in a rented property can be problematic and delicate. Ideally, you’d love to make the space feel comforting and homely without forfeiting your security deposit. Decorating a rental doesn’t have to be a constant ultimatum of aesthetics and financial risk. There is a method of removing potential damage and assessing how much time and money to invest in a temporary dwelling. Whether you’re considering short term or long term lease, decoration is vital to feeling calm and content in a new space without renovations or structural changes.
Before making any changes make sure you thoroughly check your lease agreement, these will outline all the other conditions and rules of your lease and any special terms agreed between the tenant and landlord. A standard tenancy agreement will encapsulate a term stipulating that the tenant must make no alterations and not add fixtures or fittings without the consent of the lessor (landlord). Before making any drastic changes like painting the walls – contact your landlord to consult your options. It’s also strongly recommended consulting your landlord even to discuss minimal changes within your rights, this shows responsibility and care for the space and will open up an opportunity to discover just how many or which changes your landlord is prepared to allow.
Shannon Smith, interior expert illuminates just why decorating your rental ultimately matters.
“Even though you don’t own it, per se, it is still where you live, where you relax, where you return after work, where you entertain friends and where you should feel the most comfortable.”
There are so many simple ways to install and remove changes that lend homeliness and style to your rental property. Decorating within strict parameters is a fun challenge and can demonstrate what one can achieve with a small space or limited resources.
Here are some risk-free alterations you can make to your rental space. Adding charm and personality without complications with your landlord.
1. Refresh Your Windows
Changing the window dressings in each room is a simple and effective way of creating a big visual impact. Store original curtains or shades away until they’re needed for the end of lease. Investing in good quality, neutral fabric curtains give you an easy upgrade for any space you move into as they’re transferable to so many rental properties for future use. Replacing old, tired plastic vertical blinds with new Venetians or cordless blinds adds a fresh touch and personality to your space. Make sure you don’t make any new holes in the wall when installing window dressings.
2. Add Life With Plants
Plants and flowers lend a sense of life, comfort and softness to any room. Artificial plants are excellent when renting as they’re fuss-free and can be transported easily from property to property, lasting and looking good for far longer than natural plants.
Real plants, however, are also excellent for revitalising a rental space where multiple individuals have lived in before you. Plants clean the air and can remove toxins – literally refreshing the space. Adding plants liberally to every part of your rental, even the bathroom is a great place for cacti as they flourish in warm places.
3. Storage and Functionality
If your rental is storage poor, adding your own vogue storage pieces can elevate not only the atmosphere but also functionality of the property. Adding storage baskets, coat stands, clothing racks or bookshelves can balance decoration with storage, allowing you to better organise your rental so it functions the way you do.
4. Show Your Personality With Art and Photographs
Typically, drilling holes in the walls to install picture mounts and hooks is prohibited, however using removable, self-adhesive hooks to hang pictures and art is an excellent way of adding your personal taste and memories to your rental. Check the maximum weight your hook can hold before mounting pictures and art. If your landlord has made it clear they want nothing on the walls or you’re uncomfortable with self-adhesive hooks, decorating with large mirrors or prints leaning against the wall is an effortless way to incorporate character without taking risks of any damage. Decorative ladders are also an excellent method of storing and displaying throws, scarves or towels.
5. Concealing Floors With Rugs and Runners
If fixing unsightly flooring isn’t an option with your landlord, adding your own flooring is an excellent option to neutralise unsightly laminate floors or carpets. Adding a large rug can draw attention from the existing floor whilst adding colour and texture.
6. Collections of Ornaments and Vignettes
Group ornaments, frames, vases, mementos and flowers grouped together in cohesive displays around the house add creativity and personality to the space. Groupings of threes and fives typically look best, however, this is an opportunity for you to toy with the element of space and grouping to find what best represents you in your rental. Collections of photos with family and friends is one of the easiest ways to add individuality to a rental property but is also much cheaper than purchasing art and prints which often can be expensive on larger scales.
7. Shed New Light
Often, rentals aren’t furnished with excellent lighting. In this case, it’s often too tedious to change each light fitting and investing money in lighting that isn’t always transferrable to your new residence. In this case, opt for feature lamps that bring character and ambience to the room. Also, refreshing the shades of pendants can be worthwhile, however, if your landlord expects you to restore the property to its original condition, don’t discard the original shades.
Now with some practical and functional tips on furnishing your rented space without inviting unwanted reprimand from your lessor, here are some furniture options that are excellent to invest in and take with you from one dwelling to another.
1. Modular Sofas/ Storage Sofas
A modular sofa or a sectional sofa is made up of multiple pieces that can be joined together in various combination to form different combinations and arrangements of the same sofa. These a straightforward investment when renting as they can be customised and moved around from space to space. Storage sofas or ottomans are also great for those who frequently move too as they offer extra organisation and space for those who may be hindered by a small space. Any furniture with extra storage is essential if you aren’t permitted to hang shelves on the walls or add any vertical storage to the walls.
2. Occasional Chairs
Occasional chairs are an excellent way of adding more movable seating. These can be easily added to a corner and displayed with a statement throw or cushion, left in a bedroom for clothes to be strewn on or brought out when entertaining guests and extra seating is needed.
3. Paintable Wooden Pieces
Sometimes solid timber furniture can be unnecessarily expensive, but if you can find a second-hand or reasonably priced piece don’t be afraid to take the plunge. Stainable and paintable wood is excellent for someone looking to customise their space with a new look or seasonal shade.
4. Free Standing Shelving Units
To avoid drilling holes in walls and risking losing your security deposit, try ope for free-standing shelving units or stackable baskets that can store and display your bulkier items. In the future, these can be placed in the bedroom, bathroom, living room and even the kitchen.
These suggestions are ideas that are aimed to empower you when making your next move or looking to add character to your current rental home. Ultimately, you want to feel comfortable and relaxed at home to create your own sanctuary and escape.