How to update your rental without losing your bond
Make your rental house a place you’ll love to come home to with easy upgrades that won’t threaten your bond!
Whether renting as a stop-gap solution or a long-term strategy, we’re all likely to find ourselves as tenants at one stage or another. But although the property is owned by someone else, it’s still your home – and it should feel that way.
With our 10 tips, you can stamp a house with your personal style and even fix some of the niggly bits that drive you nuts, to make a rental house your home sweet home.
Is the flooring looking dated, worn or clashing with your furniture? “Rugs are a perfect solution to cover up tired floorboards, tiles or carpet,” says Bunnings flooring buyer Natasha Ryan.
Even kitchen floors can be easily disguised – use a kitchen mat or an outdoor rug in easy-clean polypropylene. “Patterned rugs can be tricky, as they often draw the eye down to them, which can then also highlight the surrounding flooring,” says interiors stylist Emma Blomfield. “But a textured rug in a solid colour will just blend in and allow you to use artwork or funky scatter cushions to draw the eye up to a focal point away from the floor.”
Watch it: How to choose a rug
If you’re a tech whizz, becoming virtual master of your domain might be a shortcut to turning the roof over your head into your personal haven.
There are plenty of smart home gadgets that don’t need to be hardwired, from security cameras and video doorbells to smart light bulbs that simply pop into an existing screw or bayonet fixing.
Watch it: How to create a smart home
What's in store
Lack of storage is a perennial problem for renters (and non-renters too) but one that can be alleviated by strategic furniture choices. “Choosing coffee tables with shelving underneath, buffets with closed doors and drawers, bedsides with shelving, ottomans with lift-up storage or gas-lift beds that give you a tonne of storage for the bedroom all go a long way to helping fight the storage battle,” says Emma Blomfield. Best of all, these pieces are yours to take to the next place if you move on.
Removable picture hangers enable tenants to personalise their rented property with art – without causing wall damage. “Hang pictures of loved ones, holidays or just add some extra personality to your space,” says Jen McDonnell.
“Four sets of large Command picture hanging strips hold up to 7.2kg.” Bigger pieces that require drilling into the walls may still be an option – many landlords are accommodating if you promise to patch the wall before moving out.
Read it: The best way to hang pictures on a wall
Watch it: How to fix a hole in a plaster wall
Toilet seats in rental properties typically don’t age well, but you don’t need to put up with a substandard loo. Replacing a stained or broken toilet seat is a dead-simple DIY job and, as they’re so inexpensive to buy, there’s no danger of overcapitalising on someone else’s property. Check the measurements of the existing seat’s fastening bolts to be sure to buy the right one.
Watch it: How to replace a toilet seat
Updating existing daggy curtains is an easy fix, while installing new ones to a bare window or to disguise an ugly blind will require fitting a curtain rod. If working within a window embrasure, you can use adjustable fittings that don’t require any drilling, but a more permanent solution will be needed for a curtain pole on a flat wall.
Always check before drilling into walls, but curtains will usually get the thumbs up from a landlord. “If you’re doing it tastefully and only putting holes where necessary, your landlord should be grateful you’re helping add to the space!” says Emma.
Watch it: How to hang sheer curtains
Everything in its place
Having dedicated spots for everything makes a house feel like a permanent home. Command general purpose hooks are fantastic for any item (up to 3.4kg) and can be easily removed. “There are hooks in all sizes for all different storage and organisational needs – for example, hanging keys, kitchen utensils, towels, bags, hats and other frequently used household items,” says Jen McDonnell, senior brand manager at 3M. “The broom gripper is especially handy to keep mops and brooms neat and tidy.”
Oversized mirrors are an interior designer’s secret weapon, used to make a room feel bigger and brighter, or to reflect a view. Lean one against a wall and secure with a simple (and easily patched) bracket or child-safety anchor. As always, ask your landlord before fixing into walls.
If your home’s lighting is leaving you fumbling in the dark or blinded by operating theatre glare, table and floor lamps will be your best friends, says Emma. “They’re not only functional but also provide you with an opportunity to add some colour and pattern to the room,” she says.
If you’re burdened with basic bulbs in the ceilings, it’s even easier to upgrade the look – without calling in an electrician! Recently available DIY pendant lights simply screw into an existing bayonet fixture, giving a room a fresh new look that you can update or reverse in minutes.
For bespoke task lighting, play around with a product like smart LED strip lights – stick them underneath a wall cabinet, around an office space or wherever you need extra light, then use a smart phone app to get the right colour and brightness.
Nothing makes a house feel more like a home than potted greenery, and it’s such an easy fix for renters. Choose plants based on your personal taste and gardening confidence – succulents are on trend and low maintenance, or go with a lush looking black thumb favourite like monstera or devil’s ivy.
Watch it: How to grow and care for monstera
Watch it: How to grow and propagate devil’s ivy