Six creative tips for renovating a rental property

Rental property

“Renovation” and “rental” are two words that are rarely said in the same sentence. No doubt about it, renting, as opposed to owning, can come with many design restrictions. But just because you don’t share the same enthusiasm for a yolk-yellow feature wall as your landlord, that doesn’t mean you have to throw all of your Pinterest decorating dreams out the window. Most renters will be familiar with these style struggles. Here are some tips for overcoming them (without making your landlord angry in the process).

Bright bathroom

1. Kitchen

Considered an expensive room to renovate, in many rentals, the kitchen is often the last room to receive an upgrade. Because of this, you’ll often find ugly cabinets, a lack of storage, and just an overall old-school “vibe” (not in a good way). While you can’t do much to fix these problems entirely, there are a few minor upgrades you can attend to that will liven up the space, and bring the feel of the kitchen forward to 2016. Buy new knobs for the cabinets to modernise them, attach adhesive hooks to the inside of the cabinet doors to create additional storage, layer outdated counter tops with large chopping boards, and lastly, invest in some nifty modern appliances to make a strong design statement.

2. Bathroom

Bathrooms can also be costly to renovate, which is why certain upgrades and repairs are often overlooked. Luckily, there are many DIY solutions to make this room more pleasant to spend time in. First off, give the main fixtures a face lift – it’s amazing what a difference a new shower head or towel rack can make. Add some free-standing storage units to provide you with more space to hideaway your towels and toiletries. You can also use the additional surface space to add a touch of personality – a candle, vase or artwork, perhaps – to lift the room’s overall appeal.

3. Walls

You’ve sent five emails now, pleading for approval to paint that ugly feature wall, with no response. You’re tempted to do it anyway, but before you go sacrificing your bond, consider these alternatives. Try getting creative with a tapestry, or transform the space into a gallery wall. Also, don’t be so quick to discount wallpaper; remember the way you contacted your books at school? That’s the way temporary wallpaper works; it comes pre-glued and all you need do is peel it off, stick it to the wall and then gently remove when the time comes to vacate.

4. Floors

If you’re not crazy about the flooring situation in your rental, the same rule can apply here as above: cover it up. Use large rugs to take the attention away from the original floor (side tip; carpet offcuts can be trimmed to size and hemmed to make large, cheap rugs). Additionally, you can throw other distractions into the mix, such as a standout chaise, some beanbags, and a good-looking floor lamp.

5. Storage

What is this, a closet for ants? How am I suppose to live under these conditions? Not having enough storage or closet space can truly feel like the bane of a renter’s existence. But luckily, there’s many tips to combat these struggles. Try choosing furniture that can provide multiple purposes (a bed or a sofa with inbuilt drawers). Always think under and over (prop things above cabinets, or tuck things under tables and chairs). Hang things where possible (use hooks to suspend pots and pans in the kitchen). And lastly, if need be, invest in free-standing clothes racks to extend your teeny tiny closet.

Tidy walk-in closet

6. Light

In an ideal world, our homes would be full of natural light – it can make all the difference to the style of our space (not to mention our overall mood while we’re spending time at home). But if your rental house has as much natural light as an underground dungeon, it’s important to find other ways to let more light in. While you certainly can’t force large windows to appear out of thin air, you can make sure that the windows you do have (however small) are clean, because believe it or not, dirty windows can dilute sunlight from entering your home. Lamps are also important in this case; choose lamps that are able to light up an entire room, but also be dimmed down for a more ambient glow when required.

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