10 Ways to Add Personal Style to Your Rental Property

The Personal Style series is sponsored by Rococo Premium Cuvée

It’s not necessary to feel like renting means you are stuck in a place that will never feel like your own. There are a number of relatively simple ways you can add your own personality and touch to a rental.

By Cassandra Turner, Principal & Interior Designer, Turner & Roberts

CT_0061.CR2.pThe first thing you have to do is stop thinking of it as someone else’s place. Show it the love and care you would your own and be willing to invest time and maybe even a bit of money.

Here’s my top 10 tips to make a rental property feel like your own:

1.    Measure space, plan and edit

A home feels like yours when everything fits and has its place. Just because your giant 3-piece-sofa and collection of 200 books looked great in your last home, doesn’t mean it will look the same in your new rental space.  Measure the space before you move in and work out if your existing furniture will fit and where it will go. Don’t forget to also check cupboard space and plan where you will keep items.  It may be worth investing in storage for some items, or getting serious and using the opportunity to de-clutter.  If you do need to edit, make sure you incorporate a few of your most favourite items as key pieces, be they furniture, artwork or homewares so you always have things around you that make you smile.

2.    Clean

It seems like an obvious one but there’s clean and then there’s clean.  I’m a big believer in how the energy shifts in a place when it’s really, really clean.  Give it a huge clean when you move in, every crevice and corner, wipe down all the cupboards and clean out the inside of the wardrobes. Trust me, it will feel different immediately.

3.    Unpack

It’s never going to feel like your home if you live with boxes around you for the first 6 months! Make it a priority for all rooms.

4.    Paint

I’ve had friends that have called me crazy for painting rentals at my expense, but you would be amazed what a difference it makes.  Tired beige walls painted a fresh white can make a space lighter and appear bigger immediately.  Alternatively a well-chosen colour can add mood and depth to your rental, distracting from other not-so-great points. Always ask landlord permission  – some will be happy for you to do at your expense, some might even be happy to split the cost of the paint, but make sure you check this and have it in writing before your start opening paint tins!

5.    Window treatments

Rentals often have badly chosen window treatments, or sometimes none at all.  Affordable pre-made curtains and rails are available from places like West Elm, Freedom and Ikea. A beautiful window treatment can soften a space and give it your own personality.  Again have written landlord permission before removing any fixtures, including agreement on whether the new window treatments stay at the end of your lease, or you store and replace the originals before you leave.

6.    Light fittings

Granted it costs a bit to get an electrician to change light fittings, but it can make or break a room.  If you have fittings that you love, install them. If not, it’s not too hard to find great looking light fittings at an affordable price.  Don’t forget places like bathrooms too. Make sure you have a safe and appropriate place to store the rental fittings and make good before you leave. Don’t forget landlord permission in writing!

7.    Floor treatments

A good rug can take the focus off a bad floor and add character to each space within the property.  If you have a good eye for design (or engage professional assistance) you can even suggest permanent changes like sanding / staining / polishing floors or recarpeting – some landlords might be willing to pay for this if they feel it’s a worthwhile capital improvement to the property, otherwise they may be happy for you to do at your expense.  Changes like this can be very worthwhile if you are planning on long-term rental.

8.    Artwork

Again with your landlord’s permission, hanging your favourite art and photos will immediately make the place feel like yours.  If you can’t get permission to put holes in walls you can hang items that aren’t too heavy with removable picture hangers, which are cheap and easy to install and remove.  Otherwise remember to make good any holes at the end of the rental lease.

9.    Plants

Indoor plants have made a huge comeback and can really soften and bring personality to a space.  Be mindful not to overdo it as too many plants can overwhelm a small space. If you don’t have enough floor space, try vertical plant hangers, available from nurseries and some homeware stores.  Don’t forget to consider drainage so you don’t destroy any internal flooring or walls though.

10.   Adapt

Your new rental may have features you didn’t have in your last place, like a great backyard or a balcony.  Use this to your advantage, and plan your lifestyle and furniture around it.  Invest in a BBQ or outdoor chairs, for example, so you can make the most of your new property and enjoy the new lifestyle it offers.

Most importantly never, ever make any permanent changes to the property without written landlord consent. (This includes even holes in walls). If you are considering long-term rental, it might be worth investing in the services of an interior designer / stylist or colour consultant to help you get it right straight away.

The Personal Style series is sponsored by Rococo Premium Cuvée

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