Renovate your rental without annoying your landlord

By Will Keall
With twice as many Australians renting now than 30 years ago, living in rental property is a reality for approximately five million people nationwide.  And as discussed in a previous column, more and more first home buyers are buying their first properties in more affordable areas and then, for their own abodes, choosing to rent closer to the city.

While renters may not be able to knock down that wall to make the living room and kitchen one space, or paint the bedroom walls bright colours, living in a rental property does not mean you can’t give your home some special touches that really make it feel like home. 

The key is to focus on features that can be easily removed and taken with you when you move, so that you firstly aren’t changing the property in any way, and secondly aren’t wasting money by having to leave behind what you have bought. 

Window decorations
Plenty of renters have walked into their rental and spotted a few things they would like to change if they owned the property themselves – and curtains and blinds are most likely to be on the top of that list. 

If your landlord allows it, install your own curtains or blinds for the time that you reside in the property. Details like this make a huge difference to the overall look and feel of a room, so if you can change those heavy flowery curtains for something a bit more modern, take that opportunity. Objects like pot plants or hanging decorations also alter the window aesthetic. 

Use the walls
There are so many temporary fixes for walls on the market currently, especially for anyone looking to spruce up their children’s bedroom or living space with some funky stickers or wallpaper. Many websites stock a wide variety of these stick-on wall decorations, with designs including animal silhouettes, spots and stripes, eclectic patterns and much more. 

If your landlord allows it, hanging your favourite artwork and photographs is also an obvious way to bring that homely feeling – just make sure you path up any holes you make in the walls thoroughly before you move out. 

Lighting fixtures
A perfect addition to the living space, kitchen, bedroom or even bathroom, new lighting fixtures can change the whole mood of any given room. Alter the look from traditional to industrial, or from minimalistic to modern eclectic with one simple move – pick some lighting fixtures that suit your aesthetic and install wherever you choose. These can definitely be taken with you to establish a feeling of familiarity and home when and if you move. 

While you’re fiddling around with the lights, have you thought about changing all the light bulbs in your home for energy saving LED versions? These will save you on energy bills while you still reside in this current home, and can also be taken with you, as they last for a long period of time.

Floor coverings 
One of the ultimate quick fixes for any space – especially a space with out-dated tiles or carpet that the landlord doesn’t wish to replace – is a rug. Cover up any offending floor covering with a rug of your own choosing. 

Check your storage for any you may have stowed away and forgotten about, as these can be the fastest and cheapest way to make a change to a room. It also frees up storage space for other things. 

Doorknobs and doors
Removing and replacing whole doors may seem drastic but it is actually much simpler than it seems. If you have been dreaming of a bright red door for your white house, know that it is possible! Purchasing a door is (mostly) a small investment; so keep in mind that you will take it with you. Also ensure when you remove the original door that you store it correctly so it does not get damaged.

Less drastic to change than a whole door is the doorknob – there are many different doorknob designs out there, so have a look around and pick a few feature doorknobs to make the space truly yours. 
And even if you’re not renting forever, you can learn a few tricks to use for when you buy your home (or for your investment property, should that be what you choose to do).

Will Keall, iMortgage’s general manager, has a wealth of marketing and business development experience gained in Australia and the United Kingdom. These include high level roles in a range of sectors such as financial services, insurance, travel and tourism, motoring and professional services.

Will played a pivotal role in the successful establishment of iMortgage. His dedication and passion for the mortgage industry have won Will the utmost respect as an integral part of the iMortgage brand.

A self confessed “numbers and brand geek”, Will calls himself a conservative investor with a long-term philosophy. He also believes it’s important to “love where you live.”

Will is a cricket and football tragic, who also enjoys running.