When renting a house, it becomes very easy to feel unhappy with how it looks, and yet be completely uninspired to change anything at all.
Photos Via: Living Etc.
Now don’t get me wrong, I understand this completely. I mean, for one, you really are limited in what you can do to your rental. You cannot make any significant structural changes, you cannot change or renovate the garden, and of course re-tiling the bathroom is out of the question – hell, sometimes you cannot even screw in a picture hook. A picture hook for crying out loud!
All of which results in the fact that becomes very hard make your house feel like a home. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, there are several simple things you can do to take your rental home to the next level – things that won’t break the bank or send your landlord through the roof. So, without further ado.
1) Select Colorful Pillows
In my personal experience, a lot of rental properties have a clinical feel to them. The furniture looks as if it is straight out of a Walmart catalogue, nothing stands out, and the room comes across feeling cold and boring. But there is a very simple remedy to this – add some brightly colored pillows.
As simple as it sounds, by layering some brightly colored cushions around your living room you can cause a huge increase in its graphic appeal. This change in color ultimately adds some contrast to the fabric that makes up the furniture in your home, making it feel livelier. The best part about this is that not only is it simple and affordable, but the cushions are yours to keep forever.
2) Use Real, Living Plants
Our second rental design hack really revolves around the concept of making your home feel more alive – which is easily accomplished by introducing some living plants into your home. Real plants provide your home with a dash of natural color that cannot be recreated via any artificial means – and even more importantly, research has shown that the increased exposure to nature can actually improve your mindset. In short, having plants in your home makes you happier! In my opinion, some of the best indoor plants are the swiss cheese plant, the devil’s ivy, the peace lily, and the mother in laws tongue.
Each of these are great options as they not only look amazing, but they are also incredibly hard to kill – which, if you are anything like me, is an absolute must.
3) Use Adhesive Hooks
I have already touched on how most rental properties feel quite clinical – and I think that a large part of this is because they rarely have anything personal hanging from their walls. While this is mostly because you are not allowed to screw things into the wall, there is a fantastic alternative.
Adhesive hooks are plastic hooks that attach to the wall with an adhesive strip, rather than with a screw. In this manner, they don’t damage the wall in any capacity, meaning that you can hang literally any object completely risk free. My favorite items to hang are those that hold some degree personal value. Things like photos of friends and family, a homemade clock that your niece or nephew made, or a picture that your friend painted.
These types of objects provide a type of emotional significance that cannot be found in a store. Moreover, they also offer a unique design factor that differentiates your home from every other home on the planet.
4) Select a Properly Scaled Rug
We are going to transition away from the walls for a second, and start moving towards the floor. Yep, we are talking about rugs. In a very similar manner to pillows, rugs offer a very powerful way to change the feel of a room, although in a much more dominant way. For example, a nice patterned rug can act as a point of difference to a somewhat clinical room, making it feel bright and homely. Alternatively, a thick soft rug can make a cold room feel warm, fuzzy, and luscious.
Now, there is a bit of a caveat here. For a rug to work, it needs to be the right fit. You want it to take up a large portion of the room, in which it needs to overlap with the key pieces of furniture within that room. Only then will it truly act as a centrepiece.
5) Hang a Wall Clock
Something that many rentals have missing is the addition of a feature object. An item that stands out and dominates the room. A key piece of design that draws your attention, and genuinely keeps you interested in looking at it. And the perfect feature object is clock, like this wall clock from Thomas Kent Clocks. Wall clocks are a fantastic choice because they cannot only change the feel of a room, but they also offer some practicality in their ability to tell the time.
When it comes to hanging a wall clock, obviously opt to use adhesive hooks. I should also note that I truly believe that in this scenario, bigger is better, and also that you should choose colors that stand apart from the rest of the room. You have the right to go a little bit wild here.
6) Paint it up!
Last but not least, we have what many would consider to be the oldest trick in the book – adding a splash of paint to the walls. Just 1 accent wall make a world of difference. Painting your home offers one of the most effective ways to alter its entire feel. It can make it feel fresher, less cold, and obviously a whole lot newer. Furthermore, the addition of a single colored feature wall can completely change the design of a room, offering you another potential option (that is even more cost effective).
I should note that while most landlords are happy for you to paint (and really, why wouldn’t they be), it is still in your best interest to touch base with them before you start – it is always much better to be safe than sorry!
Take Home Message
Living in a rental does not mean that you have to be locked into a boring, impersonal, and unattractive house. In fact, by using the tips outlined in this article you completely change the look of your rental, turning it into a home in the process.