Renters: The little changes to make the property feel more yours
Renters don’t have the luxury of remodeling the property they’re living in. They move into a house or apartment with their furniture or without it and leave just the same when they chose to. When a lot of contemporary culture revolves around personalization – having things that work for you, having things that represent you – renting can often feel at odds with it. It shouldn’t though. There are things renters can do to personalize their space. We know the majority of renters, and homeowners, don’t have lots and lots of spare money to really go-to-town and make the property unrecognizable from how it used to be, and nor do they have the time. However, there are quick and affordable things you can do to affect change. Here are examples.
If you move into an unfurnished property – which most of them likely will be – then the walls will always feel like the one thing you cannot touch or do anything to. The last thing you should want to do is damage them. But, also, in most cases, unless your landlord is very relaxed or is open to a little renovation, you can’t decorate them. Putting nails in the wall to hang up art or put up shelves and sticking Velcro or other temporary measures can damage the wall or the paint/wallpaper. The last thing you want to do is have to lose your deposit. (Remember: the landlord will have insurance which covers their property and their contents. Your renter’s insurance will not cover the property itself, and only the stuff that you own.) It’s difficult to make the wall part of your home. There are a few solutions, though.
Number one is to have vertical furniture. Bookcases, cabinets, wardrobes, ladder shelving, floor lamps – all these are great options. They will help cut big portions of wall out of your lines of sight. Not only that but in smaller apartments or houses, vertical furniture gives you more floor space. Be careful not to overdo the verticality because natural light might be blocked.
Let’s stick with the furniture topic. Walls can often make statements. As you might not be able to achieve this with a rental, having your furniture make that statement is a great solution. Find furniture which has some character or give your furniture that character: make them bright, put a wild pattern on it – ensure that people look at it. Remember: it’s all your furniture – invest all you want as it can go with you.
You can, though, put up temporary wallpaper. It can simply be peeled off when you leave and will not damage the wall, and some brands are even landlord-approved. That feature wall can be yours.
Plants and art
Even if you aren’t particularly interested in interior design, you will have scrolled through Instagram and will have seen plants, plants, and more plants around people’s and influencer’s houses. Plants are insta-ready. They are that way for a reason. Not only do they offer a nurturing relationship for you, they quite literally offer a bit of life and a bit of color. You can get a few and arrange them, making sure to compliment their different shades and shapes, so that they become the central aspect of the aesthetic. The great thing with plants is that they immediately feel like yours, as you’re having to put in the effort to sustain them.
Art is another option. Again, as with plants, art is personal. You like that painting, that sculpture. The difficulty comes with how you place them. If you have them framed then in rental properties you may have an issue, as alluded to above. However, there are some solutions. Firstly, is there somewhere you could lean the frame? That’s an easy fix, as long as it works. However, there is a second: for unframed pieces, you could peg them to a line of string, which you can tie to fixtures. This hurdles the issue of not being able to use nails.
Soft furnishings and layering
Rugs can change a room. Big, floor-covering rugs can alter the lighting and mood drastically, be it in your living room, bedroom, or office. They can become the statement the walls might not be able to make too.
Blankets, the cousin of rugs, are also invaluable here. You can layer them up on sofas and chairs, match them with cushions, and create new depth.
It can be tempting to utilize whites, greys, and natural colors as they are very on trend for the contemporary moment. However, you can be bold, experiment – this is your place.
Change the spaces
You could alter the layout and flow of your rental. You may have an island in your kitchen that could quite conceivably function as a dining table if there’s just the two of you and you don’t often host. With that, the dining room area could be vacated and you can make that into something new, like an office or gaming space – somewhere where you can knit, play music, anything that you want.