When you live in a rented property, it can seem like you have limited options when it comes to updating its décor. Oftentimes, you’re not allowed to paint the walls or hammer in nails, let alone knock down a wall to create more open space or let in more sunlight.
Fortunately, however, you’re not as restricted with changing things up as you think. There are still updates to your house or apartment you can make that’ll help it feel like more of a home, a place you’re proud to live in and are excited to come back to.
Ahead, Genevieve Rosen-Biller, founder of Australian home décor company Bed Threads, shares six tips for levelling up your rental’s décor — all of which don’t require pre-approval by your agent or landlord.
Swap Outdated Blinds, Doorknobs and Light Fixtures
It’s almost a given that the light fixtures, window treatments and doorknobs that come with a rental property will either be a little dated or just not to your taste, says Rosen-Biller. What many people don’t realise though, is that these are often easily removable and can be replaced inexpensively, without the need for calling in an expert.
“Opting for some simple and neutral curtains, handles and light shades can quickly modernise the overall aesthetic of the place,” she says. “Just remember to keep the old ones so you can put them back on when you move out, taking yours with you to your next home.”
Get Rid of Clutter
One of the biggest challenges people find when renting is a lack of storage, resulting in clutter, and this can make even the largest room seem small and untidy.
If that’s the case, Rosen-Biller advises against multiple pieces of tiny furniture and instead choosing more substantial and functional pieces, such as a bed frame with built-in storage underneath and large wardrobes with doors to hide everything away will make better use of the space and ensure it doesn’t look cluttered.
“It will be much easier to maintain tidiness and avoid overwhelm with some simple storage solutions that ensure everything has a place,” she says.
“When it comes to personal touches, curate what you have on display to give the impression of more space and instil a feeling of calm. A trick many interior stylists employ is to cluster objects in similar tones but different heights and textures together to create vignettes in odd numbers such as 3 or 5. Using a cohesive palette of lighter colours will also give the illusion of more open space and have a calming effect”.
Invest in Quality Bed Linen and Towels
Good quality bed linen and towels can do wonders in elevating a bedroom and bathroom. Your bedroom should feel like a sanctuary, especially if you’re in a sharehouse, and choosing pure linen bedding that is comfortable, breathable and luxurious will ensure you always sleep well, says Rosen-Biller.
“Our Bed Threads French flax linen bedding comes in a wide spectrum of hues that can be styled in single tones or mixed and matched together for an effortlessly chic look,” she says. “Opt for a matching set of our ultra-plush 100% linen waffle towels and bath mat to make even the tiniest bathroom feel like a 5-star hotel.”
“One of the best ways to inject your personality into a place and make it feel like home is to display your favourite artworks,” says Rosen-Biller. “Plus, an art collection is something you can build on over time and take wherever you go.”
She suggests adding some hooks to the walls if you’re allowed (most reasonable landlords will grant permission), otherwise getting creative and leaning oversized artworks against the walls on the floor and lining up smaller pieces along cabinets, mantels and bookshelves.
Cover the Floor
Another thing we come to expect when renting is ugly patterned tiles, stained carpet, weathered floorboards or daggy lino in at least one of the rooms. The good news is that a quick and non-permanent solution is to layer large rugs over the top, says Rosen-Biller.
“Add a design element and cover all manner of sins at the same time by mixing patterns, colours and textures together. If you’re on a budget, scour Facebook marketplace, second-hand stores and garage sales which are often a gold mine for interesting rugs at an affordable price.”
Bring in Some Greenery
An easy way to add style and tranquillity to any space whilst keeping you feeling connected to the natural world is to bring in some house plants.
“A big towering plant like an olive tree or a fiddle leaf fig in a bare corner and cascading vines like devil’s ivy trailing down a shelf will make a statement and as a bonus will purify the air,” says Rosen-Biller. “If low maintenance plants are more your thing, opt for succulents and cacti in unique pots — they’re almost impossible to kill.”