Unless you’re very lucky (or very wealthy!) it’s likely that your first few homes will be rented ones. Renting comes with many benefits, but the main drawback of renting your home is that you can’t always decorate and design the space to your own tastes.
There are a plethora of home design shows on the television showing you have to make your house a prettier, shinier, better place. But all of these focus on owned homes with endless options for improvement.
However just because your home is rented doesn’t mean you can’t express yourself and show off your interior inspiration and personality. You just have to get creative! Here are a few tips for making the most of your rented home:
Walls are a blank canvas
Most landlords won’t allow you to paint or decorate the walls in your rented home. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t still add some colour and character to those boring white walls! The best way to do this is to hang artwork. For inexpensive artwork options your local goodwill or flea market are a great port of call. You can often pick up framed artwork and prints for under $10.
If you’re looking for something more unique, or want art work that is personal to you then look for a local artist via Craigslist or Etsy. Often smaller independent artists and graphic designers will take on design jobs or portrait work by commission. Let them know what you have in mind, and you might be surprised by how inexpensive an option this is!
If you aren’t allowed to hang pictures, because you can’t put hooks or nails into the walls, you can still have artwork in your home you just have to get more creative! Prop your canvases and frames on top of bookshelves, windowsills, and even on top of door frames.
Turn to rugs
Have you ever noticed that almost all rented homes have horrible carpets? There must be a bad-taste warehouse somewhere, where landlords go to buy their carpets in bulk! Obviously you can’t change the carpet in a rented place. But you can disguise the carpet using oversized rugs that match your décor and colour scheme.
Opt for rugs that are reasonably lightweight, so that you can transport them easily to your next rented home. If you live in a warmer climate and don’t want a heat-absorbing traditional woollen rug, then bamboo rugs, Navajo rugs, and even lightweight quilts make great alternative floor coverings.
This is only an option for the creative (and those with a little spare time) but customising furniture is fun and cost effective. It’s also a great way to inject some personality into your space.
To paint furniture, make sure you start with good quality wooden pieces. Again your local good will, Craigslist and flea markets are all great places to hunt for this. First, use sandpaper to remove any varnish from the furniture. This will give you a good base to hold the paint. Then, paint the furniture in any colour you fancy: it really is that simple! Once your paint is dry add a coat of varnish to the top of your furniture: this will prevent any chipping and keep the piece in great condition.
If this seems like too much hard work, but you still want to personalise your furniture, why not use a stencil? You can buy stencils from almost any home or design store, and adding a stencil to a piece of furniture is an easy process that can be done in minutes.
Say it with flowers!
Finally, don’t forget to add your own personal touches. A bunch of your favourite flowers on the counter top, your figurine collection on the book shelf, a couple of brightly coloured cushions on the sofa. It’s amazing what a big difference these small things will make to the look and feel of your home.
- Photo credit – Tapisserie Decoration
Tor Brierley is a freelance writer who has written for Yahoo, Brand Republic, and gurgle magazine.