It’s hard to feel at home in a rented property.
On average, renters in the UK spend 20 months in a property. The average cost of renter property and typical lifestyle of a private renter means they spend a lot of time moving around.
That’s hardly enough time to really make a place feel like a home, at least in the traditional sense. There are so many reasons why you might not feel fully comfortable or able to settle in your rented house or flat, but there are ways you can fully transform it to fit your personality and lifestyle. Here are our top tips.
Don’t be afraid to rearrange
How do you add life to a place on a budget? You try and keep it fresh.
Furnished properties are a lifeline for renters with limited cash who are yet to build up a collection of mismatched furniture a life of renting usually breeds.
However, the furniture that comes with these flats is hardly the most inspiring. A worn-down bed, chipped wardrobes and a couple of Ikea special bedside drawers. Hardly living in the apartment from Friends, is it?
That doesn’t mean you should accept mediocrity though. Anything you can do, within the remit of your contract, you should look to do with your renter home.
By moving around the furniture with the reasons and experimenting in new placements, you can make a place feel brand new. You might find an innovative way to present your home, make it a haven of calm, or bring more light into the room. As long as you’re not breaking anything down, feel free to switch up the composition.
Refurbish old furniture
You’d be amazed by what you can find on the street.
The other day a housemate of mine came home with a weather-beaten old wooden table. It’s the kind of thing your grandparents would throw out. I was sceptical, but a couple of hours sanding and varnishing in the garden later, and we’ve got a brand new coffee table that wouldn’t look out of place on a vintage Instagram influencer’s grid.
Refurbishing old furniture doesn’t just help you transform your home. It’s a brilliant project to keep you occupied on the weekends.
By re-working ‘pre-loved’ furniture picked up at charity shops, thrown out by neighbours and donated by family and friends, you can add your own touch to a room that might not feel yours at all. It can give a lifeless modern flat a vintage feel or provide the perfect addition to a lavish townhouse living room.
This Real Homes guide is a brilliant place to start if you’ve got a wood project on the go, but don’t be afraid to try with other kinds of furniture and antiques.
Add plenty of plants
You never notice the impact of plants until you’re without them.
You might have wondered why your mum insisted on having them in the living room (and demanding you watered them when she went away), but now you’re in your rented room where the only thing growing looks suspiciously like mould, you notice how much some greenery brightens up a place.
Whether it’s your bedroom or the whole home, bring some houseplants into the equation and watch your spirits lift.
Plants bring a room to life and are a brilliant way of bringing some greenery into a rented apartment that lacks a garden or a balcony. Flowers, cacti or a little bonsai — whatever you’re into, let your house shine with your green personality.
Line your windowsill, brighten up your bathroom and hang from your windows. Houseplants make the home go round.
Utilise dead space
Rented homes are known for their awkward nooks and crannies — strange spaces that don’t make sense and mystery cupboards in bedrooms. What exactly do you do with them? Especially when that extra square foot is driving up your rent.
One way to look at them is as storage. Rather than shoving everything you own under your bed until you need to move out again, find creative ways to turn these cramped spaces into storage units or homes for odd furniture,
Multipurpose furniture is a great way to make use of this dead space, with lots of manufacturers now building with small rented homes in mind.
Lots of renters tend to lock themselves away in their rooms, especially in big shared house situations. In a working-from-home world, this can be particularly suffocating. Don’t be afraid to spread your stuff around and decorate other rooms in the house. Within reason of course, you don’t want to become that roommate.
How have you been able to spruce up your rented homes in the past? We’ve all lived somewhere particularly tacky or strange, so what techniques do you use to feel more at home?