Story by Dakota Murphey – Guest writer
Photography by Various
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Dakota Murphey runs through a few of the ways to put your personal stamp on your rental home – without risking the security deposit
Of course, that’s not necessarily a terrible thing. Renting definitely has its perks, like never having to worry if the boiler packs up, or being able to up and move to a new city within a matter of weeks. For a generation that is scraping a living together in the gig-economy, having to relocate for new work makes renting almost a requirement.
There is one universal sadness about renting a home though; the total inability to customise, particularly where it matters most. Ugly kitchens can get by if they’re functional, and pastel bathroom suites are almost nostalgic… but bedrooms? Faced with décor that’s either offensively twee or depressingly magnolia, rental bedrooms are almost always sentenced to being tasteless and impersonal.
Or is it? Having lived in more rental properties than I can count on two hands, I can recommend a number of ways to put your personal stamp on any room (but particularly your bedroom) with minimal effort and without having to sacrifice your security deposit.
1. Command strips/Command hooks
There you were, thinking that you couldn’t hang pictures in fear of leaving great big holes in the wall – and here I am, to let you know where there’s a will, there’s a way. And when I say ‘a will’, I’m actually referring to the renter’s best friend: Command Strips.
Command Strips are essentially wall-velcro. One side backs onto your poster, picture frame or whatever else it is that you’re trying to hang, and the other sticks to the wall. Use a few of these babies in conjunction and you can stick almost anything (up to about 7.2kg) up on the wall. You can also use Command hooks to hang pictures.
When the time comes to move out (or when you fancy a change of scenery), you simply stretch out the adhesive and it peels away – just follow the (simple) instructions carefully, and your landlord won’t ever know you had a 30-frame gallery wall above your bed.
2. Luxury bedding
While I would never recommend splurging on a rental property (you’re never going to get your investment back after all), it’s absolutely worth indulging in the items you’ll hold onto when you leave. At the top of this list is comfortable, luxurious bedding, and fun, fresh linen to cover it with.
It’s likely that your bed takes up a significant amount of space in your room, and you’d be surprised at what the difference a snuggly duvet in a bright, crisp cover can make. Don’t forget to add a co-ordinated blanket when it gets chilly!
3. Wall decals
Not everyone’s cup of tea, but perfect for personalisation in a pinch. If you’re not familiar, wall decals are essential large vinyl stickers that can be stuck on any smooth surface and then neatly peeled away again.
They come in literally endless colours and shapes, so have a good browse online to find your favourite. For those of you feeling more daring, temporary wallpaper is also a thing.
What is it with rental properties and ugly carpet? It’s either painfully bland, or some garish multi-toned mixture that’s clearly been chosen for its ability to camouflage stains and survive tenants for the next three decades.
Your best bet is definitely going to be investing in an area rug that’s as big as you can afford – preferably that can all but cover the underlying monstrosity of rental flooring. If your room is an awkward shape then you might need to get creative and layer-up a few low-pile rugs, angling them around corners and tucking under larger bits of furniture.
5. Cheap fittings
The cheap paper lampshade dangling in the middle of your bedroom is probably so dull you’ve forgotten what it looks like.
Swapping it out for a statement shade that reflects your own personal style is a really easy way to create oodles of character at the flick of a switch – just don’t forget to swap them back before you go!
If I had a tenner for every horrible curtain or blind that I’ve encountered while renting, I could almost start scraping together a deposit! Luckily, there are a few workarounds. Recessed windows are a doddle to hide behind a voile on a tension rod, while carefully pinning or draping floaty fabrics on top of ugly curtains can work just as well.
See? Nothing mind-blowing (well, apart from Command Strips which have absolutely changed my life forever), just a few low-effort hacks to keep your rented room feeling like home. Give a few of these a go and I guarantee that sobbing into your avo-toast will soon become your second favourite hobby.
First published date: 13 December 2017