With only 40% of 25 to 34 year olds able to afford to buy a home (and that was in 2011, the situation is probably even worse now!), more people are renting on a long-term basis than ever before.
Paying rent is frustrating – it’s “dead money” that you’ll never see again – so I know why people avoid spending when they’re in rental properties. It’s easy to see things you like and think, “Well, I’ll wait to get that until I buy a place.”
If the reality of home ownership is quite far off, finding ways to make a rented property feel like home can be really helpful.
The Flat Pack
The world and his wife know about IKEA, but it isn’t just for students or those on a budget—you can also find some seriously swanky furniture that will dismantle down far enough to fit into a car boot.
Looking for flat pack alternatives to furniture or other large items can make things MUCH easier if you later need to move them (or dispose of them if they’ve seen better days), without compromising before that.
Just remember to save those instruction manuals and stock up on some extra dowels…
Let It All Hang Out
There’s a good chance that there will already be some nails or picture fittings in the wall left behind by previous tenants. Getting some pictures up can really help to brighten up a place and show off your taste.
Trust me, it gets a lot more daunting when you have to start knocking nails and screws into walls you actually own.
The Power Of Smell
Ever walked into a house and thought “Mmm, it smells like Christmas in here”? That’s because it’s smell, not sight or any of the others, that’s the most evocative scent.
Candles, air fresheners or, if you want to go the all-natural route, a simmer pot can make a rental property smell like home. Or a German Christmas market if you go overboard on the cinnamon.
Let There Be Light
Neglecting to stock up on lamps, lightshades and other non-essentials is easy to do when you’re renting; this isn’t your permanent home after all.
That may be the case, but decent lighting (think lamps instead of overhead lights) and a few soft furnishings can make a rental property feel much more homely than bare bulbs in every room.
The Dreaded Deep Clean
If you’re anything like me, you probably do a REALLY deep clean of rented properties twice. Once when you move in, and again when you’re moving out. That’s a habit I never quite managed to get out of, but really wish I had.
Big, regular cleaning sessions not only make the pre-moving out “oh my God, I hope we get all our deposit back” clean less stressful but can also make your rental home feel brand new again.
The bottom line is that the best way to make a rental property feel like a home is to treat it as such. Keep up with chores, do your best to look after the place and spend a little extra, and you might end up forgetting that this is “just” a rental property.