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With a house full of “just for now” items you don’t love, your home is bound to feel tired, lifeless and uninspiring. The experts from Melbourne Design Week’s collective, The Design Co-Op, give their best advice on how to make your rental feel just like home.
1. Work with the aesthetic
Consider the aesthetics of the house when decorating the space. If you are renting an old 1960s or ’70s house, style with items that reflect the era, but be sure to mix it up with some contemporary pieces.
2. Ask your landlord
Don’t be scared to ask your agent or owner if it would be OK to paint some walls or put up a few hooks. Worst that can happen is to be told “no” and it can be relatively inexpensive if you’re handy with a roller or a hammer/drill.
3. Mirror, mirror …
Leaning mirrors are a great way to make a space feel bigger and they’re a perfect alternative to something you’d have to hang on the walls.
4. Keep it personal
Displaying furniture and items that have personal significance will help any renter feel at home. It could be a painting by your niece, a couch that’s been passed down from your parents, or a stack of printed photographs on the coffee table.
5. Add layers
Rugs can change a room, give a good lift to a blank canvas and will soften the space if the flooring is timber. Pick something that makes you happy, whether it’s the texture, colour or its practicality.
6. Think outside the bookcase
Displaying books throughout your rental is a simple way to create a cosy, inviting and eclectic environment. If you don’t own many, stock up on 50-cent titles from the op shop. You can use them in many ways, such as placing them on coffee tables or stacking them in place of a bedside table.
7. Invest in a coat stand
Can’t put up wall hooks? Consider a coat stand. There are lots of fun and practical ones out there (such as Anaca Studio’s Elliot coat stand). They look great in an entry, as they imbue personality as soon as you enter. They’re also great in a small bedroom where there’s no room for a chair.
8. Revive memories through old photos
Personal photos can help stamp your personality on your place. It doesn’t need to be the formal family photograph on the mantle. Instead, print out a photo from a great night out or of a trip you took. A small collage on a pin board hanging in a study nook could be a great way to display these.
9. Up your fridge game
Don’t keep the fridge door reserved for bills and council-provided calendars. Use this space to display meaningful and colourful cards, art prints and photos that add personality to your kitchen.
10. Experiment with art
Everyone knows hanging art will help any house feel like a home, but that’s not always possible if your landlord doesn’t allow hooks or tape on the walls. In the case of a strict tenancy agreement, frame some affordable art prints and lean them up against walls, bookshelves and fireplaces.