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9 Reversible rental makeovers

By George Hadgelias

You don’t need to own your house to make it feel like home. 

Current housing data proves more Australians are living in rental properties than ever before but it doesn’t have to be a drag. More and more renters are making their homes more beautiful than ever using affordable and reversible tricks.

So if you’re going to be renting your home for the foreseeable future, here are a few adjustments and improvements that you can make without upsetting your landlord or damaging the property.

1. Change the door handles and doors

Most door handles are easily removable, which means there’s no need to put up with unattractive door, cupboard or cabinet handles. Most hardware stores will have a decent range of handles, so you can simply take the old ones in for sizing and replace them with stylish new ones.

The same applies to sliding doors – if there’s an oppressive, chunky wooden sliding door in your lounge room that you really don’t like, just replace it with something more to your liking. Most sliding door rails are a standard size, so you should be able to slip a new door in easily and store the old one in the garage until you move out.

Watch now: Our Rentovator series

2. Replace the curtains and blinds

One of the quickest and most cost-effective ways to update a rental is to buy modern curtains and blinds. If your window sizes are a standard size, you can purchase ready-made blinds and curtains that will fit perfectly; just remember to store the old ones until you move out. You can even take the blinds to your next house, provided the windows are also of standard size.

3. Use tension shelves and rods for more storage

Tension shelves and rods are a renter’s dream, particularly in small apartments. They’re held in place with pressure, which means you can have extra storage, racks and rails without damaging the walls. You can also take them with you leave.

4. Use leaning shelves

Check out budget stores like Kmart and IKEA for clever shelving options or even look in vintage furniture stores for chic second-hand ladders that are full of personality.

As leaning shelves will only touch a small portion of the wall, they’re perfect for properties with strict requirements about damage – the less the furniture touches the walls, the less damage there will be.

5. Consider updating the lighting fixtures

Ugly light shades and fixtures can diminish the decor of your home, but thankfully they’re really easy to replace.

Again, make sure you hang on to the old fixtures so you can restore the property to its original form before you move out and be sure to engage the services of a professional electrician if you’re unsure about changing the fitting.

6. Temporary wallpaper

There are many innovative design companies that have developed removable wallpaper options. Some wallpapers are in the form of adhesive stickers, while others are designed to be glue-free and simply hang from the ceiling.

There are also a few companies that are working with washable wall colours – you simply paint the colour of your choice onto the walls and wash it off before you move out. Ask a professional at your local hardware store to see what’s available in your area.

7. Drawer liners

If your house comes with built-in storage, you might want to do a little renovation on the drawers and cupboards.

Give them a good clean, scatter some fresh mothballs around and put pretty drawer liners in. They’ll give you a lovely clean place to store your clothes and you can simply re-use the liners in your next place.

8. Consider flooring

If your otherwise-perfect abode has flooring that makes you despair don’t worry.

Rugs are a great way of hiding the multitude of sins that occur in rental homes around the country – and budget brands like Kmart and IKEA have rugs to suit every budget.

If you’re after something more, ask your local hardware store about click-together flooring, which can sometimes help cover whole rooms. It’ll be like those burnt-orange tiles never happened.

9. Adhesive hooks

Adhesive hooks can be used to hang art, mount small shelves and create storage solutions without damaging the walls, making them essential for renters.

Pro tip: buy a respected brand that has positive reviews. Also make sure that you follow the instructions – if they say to wait three hours before hanging your picture, wait three hours.

Note: Make sure you get the landlord’s permission before making any alterations.

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