Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to put your mark on the place you live in, which can be especially tough when living in a rental. With outrageous rising property prices sending that first home buy spiralling out of reach, increasingly more of us are finding ourselves renting for years or even decades! While living in someone else's property can feel impersonal, disheartening and underwhelming, there are some clever ways to unleash your personal style and make it your own. By utilising inspired ideas, practical solutions and adding in those quirky touches that reflect the personalities of those that live in the home, it is possible to create a space you truly love without compromising your style or leasing agreement.
WALLS AND DISPLAYS
Whether you prefer streamlined, simple living or are an all out maximalist, most of us would agree it’s those finishing touches, like art on the walls and favourite treasure's on display in pride of place, that make a house a home. But starting with a blank canvas can be somewhat daunting, especially if you’re reluctant to paint or put holes in your walls. You can avoid drilling holes by using what you already have to rest your art, a fireplace mantle, existing shelving or a free standing cabinet all provide a fabulous place to display your artworks. Oversized art that is too heavy to hang on an adhesive hook can be sat on the floor and leaned against a wall to create a feature piece, for extra style points you could cluster a few of these larger pieces together. If you are inspired to put up a feature wall hang opt for smaller framed artworks that can be mounted on adhesive hooks or hanging strips and keep the larger feature pieces unframed and blutack or washi tape them to the walls for a more eclectic but incredibly stylish look that is 100% rental friendly. When displaying your trinkets and treasures think shadow boxes, ledges, bookshelves and cabinet tops as these are all prime realestate for showing off your collections without leaving a permanent mark.
ALL THE PLANTS
Plants are such an easy and affordable way to inject some colour, life and personality into your space. You can sit plants in pots everywhere, on shelves, in floor stands, on cabinetry or even hung from the rafters or curtain rails in chic hanging pots or macrame hangers. Don't limit plants to the main living spaces only, they can be a great way to distract from those dodgy retro tiles in the bathroom or can be used to add in some freshness and texture to an otherwise uninspired kitchen. Plants not only look good, but as living organisms, many also help to clean the air and remove toxins. When occupying a space that has been inhabited by a variety of unknown people before, it can feel good to envision the air being renewed and purified. So go mad, add as many of them as you can and be creative in the way that you do!
INVEST IN A MAGIC RUG OR 5
There are a lot of rentals out there with 70’s carpet and bad flooring choices but luckily making them liveable with is not only easy, but presents a fabulous opportunity to inject style, colour and pattern into your space. Choose rugs of different sizes, colours, designs and materials to create a more bohemian feel, they needn't be expensive vintage kilims or persians, there are many gorgeous colourful cotton rugs on the market. For a more modern look, place larger, neutral rugs (think sisal or jute) on the bottom and layer them up with bolder versions on top, layering rugs is a great way to conceal a not so good looking floor as well as adding some great texture.
EXPERIMENT WITH LIGHTING
Lighting is an extremely important feature of any home. It can dictate the way a space feels and functions. As a renter you don't always have the freedom to replace light fittings, add dimmers or make structural changes to add in the mood or accents that your aesthetic craves. Not all hope is lost as there are some easy and inspired ways to improve the lighting in your rental. Use free standing lamps to create high impact style statements in your rooms , they can change the whole vibe of your space instantly. Something as simple as removing those daggy 50’s light shades and replacing them with something more chic can add instant style cred. If your rental is full of naked bulbs that are less than attractive, embrace the current trend for oversized vintage inspired bulbs and use the exposed fittings to your advantage.
THROW IN SOME TEXTILES
Textiles are the easiest and quickest way to inject personality into a space. Whether it be through cushions, bedding, sheepskins or boldly upholstered furniture the possibilities are endless and the impact is huge. Curtains are another fabulous way to update the aesthetic of your rental and can always be taken with you when you leave. Replace those dusty, outdated curtains with something fresh and bright for an instant lift. Sheer white is always a winner but if your interior is more focused on a neutral colour scheme then consider adding in coloured or patterned curtains to create some interest in your space. To keep the look chic and cohesive always work your curtains back with tones that pre exist within the room.