Adding your personal touch to a rental property can be a struggle, especially when you’ve picked a place based on budget and location rather than architecture and design. Not only are you stuck with those retro pink tiles, mud coloured carpets and built-in storage that, though practical, makes arranging furniture a nightmare, you’re not allowed to stick hooks on the wall, nail up frames or repaint those bland walls. So, how can you provide a homely feel to this 12-month stay over?
- Be consistent. If you want the space to feel like yours, choose a scheme of colours, patterns and textures that you love, and stick to them. This may mean perusing the web for design ideas or going window-shopping to get a feel for what clicks with you. Keep in mind that you may have to incorporate hints of the original décor into your style so that it doesn’t clash with the rest of the space. This could mean remaining neutral against the original paint colour or mirroring the geometric style of the kitchen’s splash back.
- Work around furniture. If you’re in a tight space, it’s best to have pieces that are practical, like a bench seat that doubles as storage, a rotating book case with a mirror on the back or a sofa that doubles as a spare bed. Plan your rooms ahead and remember that neutral colours are best for long-term pieces that need to keep up with changes in your décor. If you’re on a budget, try looking at second hand stores, factory seconds or online stores that buy, swap and sell. It’s a good idea to carry a measuring tape and a note with your dimensions so that you’re ready when something catches your eye.
- Use cushions and throws to highlight personal character and create charm. Add that oomph of texture, colour or quirkiness, without allowing it to take over the whole room. A bright knit casually thrown over the couch, or a glamourous glittering cushion on the bed, will provide a fleck of character. Use the partnering cushions or throw to tie in with the quilt cover on the bed and maintain a consistent style throughout the house.
- Incorporate a rug. A rug will tie in all the colour and character you’re introducing into the room, while giving definition to that zone. Measure your space, taking your furniture into consideration, and choose the size and shape of your rug accordingly. Whether square, rectangle or round, rugs are a great way to make a statement without being forceful. A plush rug for the areas that you’re shoeless and carefree can make the space cosy and inviting. A flat rug with a bold pattern can be a great indicator of the style of the house, especially if you prefer to keep smaller decorations to a minimum. It will also protect the floorboards and carpets from scrapes and spills that may be taken out of your bond later.
- Utilise lighting. Use lamps to create atmosphere within your rooms. A floor lamp in that dark corner will make the room feel bigger, while a coloured shade can provide a calm or dreamy glow to the room. If you’ve rented a place where artwork is not a viable option, a decorative floor lamp will work to make a statement against a bland section of wall. If you can’t find lighting to suit your style or budget, buy a basic white lampshade and use ink or watercolours to create a pattern and colour scheme that will embody your style.