10 ways to make a rental home your own

Just because you’re renting doesn’t mean it’s not the home of your dreams.

The prospect of renting a home is becoming more and more common as a consideration for families both young and old.

Not just as the booming property market continues to shrink affordable opportunities to buy in many of Australia’s urban centres. Rather than an inferior choice, renting as an alternative for short term comfort, intermittent necessity or long term financial gain has its pros and cons too, with savings on upkeep, stamp duty, rates and fees.

Look carefully at your rental agreement for any no-go areas or negotiate when you sign the contract to make some simple cosmetic changes to the property, perhaps with the help of professional tradespeople if necessary. You’ll not only improve and add value to your landlord’s property, you’ll acquire the home you’ve always dreamed of!

Having weighed up the options and deciding to rent your house, how can you put your own stamp on it so it feels like a home?

1. Add storage

This is a no-brainer as most homes can use more storage, regardless of whether or not you own it. Incidental shelving, stylish baskets and boxes all help enormously to make for a more streamlined and comfortable home life. Modular storage that comes flat pack and can be built in via retailers like Ikea, Bunnings and Howards Storage World all provide as close to a custom built investment as you can get and often better flexibility.

Photographer: Simon Whitbread

2. Change tapware

Much like new knobs on a dresser, updating tapware can completely change the look and feel of your kitchen or bathroom. It’s pretty straightforward to do a kitchen makeover in a weekend.

3. Replace window coverings

Remove vertical or venetian blinds and hang curtains in their place for a softer, more elegant look. Be sure to retain the blinds and store safely to rehang when you leave.

Photographer: Shania Shegedyn | Stylist: Alana Langan

4. Add removable wallpaper to walls and cabinetry

The reawakening of wallpaper, in our interiors brings some fabulous removable options that can disguise stains or aged surfaces and, if applied with a careful hand and kept to a simple application can, with a careful hand move out when you do.

5. Style it up

Accessorise as if you’ll be there forever. Don’t leave your favourite items in boxes waiting for a moving day that could be ages away. Style your rooms with love and enjoy the experience and warmth it brings to your home.

Photographer: Rebecca Lu

6. Hang art

There are many removable options for hanging art safely now without damaging walls where no picture rails are available. Even small marks left behind are worth the little effort to touch up as you go if it means you can enjoy art on a daily basis. Hang lightweight pieces on walls and position larger pieces on mantles or sideboards.

7. Rug up

Nothing says home like a sumptuous statement rug. Be on the lookout for sales and purchase for your entrance, dining and bedrooms as well as your living spaces to make them your own. Rugs will always go with you wherever you live so are worth the investment.

Photographer: Simon Whitbread

8. Change the lighting

Like tapware, dated lighting fixtures drag a room down but, with some careful shopping around and add to that the cost of an electrician for a day, it could be the best investment you make in your home. If you can’t change the fittings, an overhaul of all the globes can make a vast difference, together with carefully considered task lighting in floor and table lamps.

9. Indoor plant love

Cultivate a lush collection of indoor plants and bring the outdoors in – particularly if your home doesn’t have the garden you dream of. Plants are portable and literally breathe life into a room.

Photographer: Brigid Arnott

10. Free-standing is your friend

Embrace items such as upholstered bedheads, statement armchairs and modular shelving to create an impact when you decorate.

Related stories