20 ways to update a rental

Just because it’s not yours, doesn’t mean it can’t look like it

Article by: Livingspace mag
Words Jade Taylor Cooke Photography: unsplash

Lauren Ball of Lauren McCreath Interiors give her advice on how to stamp your style – albeit temporarily – on a rental property.

Permission slip
‘Don’t assume your landlord is immovable,’ says Lauren. ‘If you want to paint or make some small changes – just ask! Chances are they will be thrilled about someone else taking an interest and doing the work. And if it benefits the property, why would they say no? When you ask, show a small moodboard or images so that they can see exactly what you’d like to do. Then get approval in writing, so you can get your deposit back.’

Two (reversible) ways to give your kitchen a lift
‘The simplest way is to add new hardware – think matte black or brass handles and knobs,’ says Lauren. ‘If you find hardware you love but don’t feel the same way about the colour, spray-paint it.

‘I love open shelves to display crockery, decor pieces or art,’ says Lauren. ‘Ugly doors can be removed and stored away to be put back later, creating open and exposed shelves. Use découpage and wrapping paper to ‘wallpaper’ the backs of the units, or give them a lick of paint.



The kitchen island
Limited kitchen storage can be endlessly frustrating and stress you out. ‘If space allows, a versatile, free-standing kitchen island on castor wheels should solve this problem,’ says Lauren. She suggests opting for one with baskets, shelves and even a built-in drawer or cabinet. ‘What’s great about this is that it’s an investment that you can take with you wherever you move to later on.’

No space for an island? Drinks trolleys are making a comeback. ‘This is such a versatile piece of furniture for so much more than just drinks. It will free up valuable kitchen counter space and the bottom can be used for your dinnerware and table linens. A drinks trolley can also be used as a pretty and fun storage solution in a bathroom.’

Flooring solutions
We know – some rentals are perfect in every way, except the floors are so outdated you’re afraid to walk around barefoot in case you suddenly age 80 years to match it.

‘Peel-and-stick flooring options are a great way to disguise old floors, and are a relatively easy DIY project,’ says Lauren.

‘Laminate or vinyl flooring is also a good solution. Remember to use removable adhesive when installing these if you plan to return the floor to its original state. 
Chat to companies that specialise in flooring so you understand the pros and cons of each option. Although this can be a DIY project, it’s sometimes best left to the professionals.’

Can’t hide the floor? ‘Choose plants, artwork and furniture with height, as they draw the eye upwards, so the floors are less of a feature and far less noticeable.’

Soft touch
A lot of new apartment complexes have tiles throughout the units. While this saves owners and letting agents the headache of steam-cleaning carpets between tenants, it can be a little cold and characterless. Here’s how to soften the overall feel of the space, according to Lauren:

‘Area rugs add character and soften a room. My favourite choice has always 
been jute or seagrass, with a smaller, more colourful or interesting rug layered on top. Don’t forget to get non-slip mats for under your rugs, especially on tiled floors.’

‘Big baskets and planters with palms and fiddle-leaf fig trees are a fantastic way to add natural life to a space.’



The light fantastic
While overhead lights should be kept timeless and simple, Lauren suggests experimenting a little with accent lighting, which adds ambience. It’s also an investment, as you can take it with you when you leave. Lighting trends for 2019 include:

Earth-friendly: ‘The eco-conscious trend is – as it should be – the most influential one. Sustainable, simple and natural lighting solutions can be found in Scandinavian and minimalist styles, and even in a more eclectic look. Think cement, granite, marble, wood and raw materials, such as gorgeous handwoven rattan pendants.’

Metal: ‘This is a trend that has been on the scene for quite a while, and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.’

Q: This all-white, cookie-cutter bathroom feels so clinical. How can I jazz it up without resorting to my grandmother’s toilet-lid cosy?

A: ‘All-white bathrooms are actually a renter’s dream – you’re not stuck with having to work around, for example, a Tuscan villa feel. If your budget allows, spend a little money on new towel rails, toilet roll holders and hardware. A new shower rose can also make a huge difference.

Q: There’s not much natural light in my rental property. How do I maximise it?

A: ‘Use mirrors and reflective surfaces. These bounce light and make a place feel lighter, brighter and bigger,’ says Lauren.



Article source: Livingspace

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