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words and photos curated by Kiki Natalie

Unless you’re building your own home, it can be hard to get everything you’re looking for in a house. Rental homes come in different sizes, styles, and designs. Should you find yourself put off by ugly lighting or unattractive floors in your current space, there are a few affordable and reversible ways to heighten your living experience whilst making the best and most effective use of your rental home.

LIGHT IT UP

Image via CARLY CUSHNIE

Most rental homes come with basic lighting fixtures that absolutely lack personality. You can switch up boring bulbs with fixtures that speak to your soul. Keep corners of your home well-lit by adding some floor and table lamps for visual interest. I’m a fan of turning off my top lights and illuminating a space with lamps for a soothing effect. Good lighting invariably gives off warm and welcoming vibes, setting the desired mood and eases the transition from one room to another. The good thing is light fixture removal and installation is not burdensome at all.

MAKE MIRRORS YOUR BFF

Image via SOOTHE MY SPACE

One design decision you can never go wrong with is incorporating mirrors. Mirrors do a great job of being both functional and adding a layer of style into a space. You can either hang up a collection of mirrors or lean one big mirror against a wall to add some light and create an illusion of space, especially in a small space.

UPGRADE YOUR FLOORS

If your rental home comes with wood, concrete, or cushion vinyl flooring, count yourself lucky! All you could do is use area rugs to add texture and section out different spaces in a room. Whilst not all of us might be that lucky, if your rental comes in cold, dated tiles my advice would be to consider cushion vinyl in the rooms that you see fit. Cushion vinyl is easy to install and when you come to the end of your tenancy, easy to remove too. There are so many different styles in the market, you’d easily find something that is suited to your needs and overall aesthetic. 

CUSTOMIZE STORAGE AREAS AND FURNITURE  

Image via STUDIO MCGEE

The real nightmare with rentals is that you can’t anticipate the sizing of the rooms. No two rooms are the same. So, a real-lifesaver is customizing your couches, beds into stylish and easy to move pieces. For instance, consider a 2-seater accompanied by accent seats instead of a 3-seater or L-shaped sofa, and a queen instead of a king bed or a few spaced out storage baskets instead of a huge cabinet meant for storage. Better still you can incorporate dual functionality in customized furniture by allowing storage at the bottom of furniture to allow everything to easily fit in a room. 

WALL ARTWORK, SENTIMENTAL ACCENTS AND HOME DECOR PIECES

Image via SOOTHE MY SPACE

Our homes are where our memories are made and where the things that personify us are housed. We should allow our homes to reflect us by showcasing our memorabilia and collectables on walls, tables, and shelves proudly. This isn’t an excuse to clutter your spaces but rather, use these decorating moments to create focal points that draw pleasant attention to the corners and spaces of our homes.

SHOW OFF YOUR PERSONALITY WITH PAINT OR WALLPAPER

Image via LYDIA MILLEN HOME

If there’s one recommendation, I could choke down your throat (okay, maybe that’s a bit too passionate), it would be to paint your walls. Most rental homes come smeared in a standard eggshell or brilliant white wall paint which is supposed to be neutral and preferred by most but that is never the case! Just repaint your walls with colours that reflect your taste. And if painting is not an option, wallpaper can be a great substitute. Wallpapers come in different colours, styles and textures and will bring the same level of colour and charm into a space just as paint would do.

I suggest having a candid talk with your landlord as soon as you can, ideally, before you move in, as to the extent of change that is permissible. Let your landlord know about the changes and/or upgrades you want to make. Luckily, landlords these days are a bit more flexible than they were before. Most of them are known to approve the adjustments because the investment will likely prove worth it as it adds value to the property in the long run. 

Let whatever upgrades and adjustments you decide to make seamlessly gel with your lifestyle and routine and not merely be a trend you want to keep up with. Lastly and most importantly, remember to safely keep all the hardware and fixtures that previously came with the house so when it’s time to leave, you can re-install them with no problem.

Have fun optimizing your spaces!

Kiki Natalie is an interior stylist, creative consultant and the heart and soul behind SOOTHE MY SPACE. Born out of a love for styling and design, Kiki Natalie founded SOOTHE MY SPACE in 2019. What started as a creative outlet to record inspirations and design thoughts has grown in its scope and purpose to create spaces that serve to bring us peace as well as pleasure. Her work is inspired by a love for quality, world travel, an admiration for the natural environment and the magic brought forth when you blend several styles, cultures or periods together.

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5 Comments

  1. Great insights. Notes take ! 📝

    • Great! Thank you 🙂

  2. Very informative especially for those of us who like nice things and are still renting and also cautious about spending too much on a rental.

    • Fantastic!

  3. Love this!

    Thank you for the recommendations! Will definitely be using this to inform my decor decisions going forward!


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