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5 Landlord-Approved Renovation Hacks That Make a Rental Feel Like Your Own

While renting has plenty of benefits, one of its drawbacks is not being able to make substantial, lasting changes to a space in the way you’d like to. Often the biggest determining factors to how a place looks and feels – the colour of the walls, flooring, plus kitchen and bathroom fit-outs – are sadly the ones that are at the whim of your landlord. But that doesn’t mean you’re completely kept from making improvements around the place.

If you’re serious about wanting to make some changes – perhaps you’ve been in the property for a little while and have a good relationship with your agent or landlord, or want to stick around but the place is in need of a bit of work – you can always put a case to them for updating things like paint, flooring or even just light fixtures.

While a lot of people’s finances might be in a precarious place right now, interest rates are low, which means your landlord is likely having to make lower repayments on their home loan. They might welcome the chance to do some work around the place, especially if you’re happy to accommodate tradespeople while working from home, or even do a bit of the legwork yourself. 

We’re definitely not suggesting you offer yourself up as free labour to, say, paint the entire house, but perhaps you’re after a DIY project and think you could have a go at making some minor changes. At the very worst they say no, or say ‘yes’ to certain things but ask that you change them back before you vacate. 

Failing that, here are five ways you can make temporary, yet impactful, tweaks to your rental to make it feel a little more like your own.

5 Simple Landlord-Approved Renovation Hacks

1. New blinds

Refreshing the blinds or curtains is one of the most simple and easy ways to freshen up a space. If the place has existing fabric curtains that need a refresh, you can easily switch them out for crisp white or cream fabric drapes. (Just be sure to hold onto the old ones to re-hang them before you go.) 

Dealing with venetian blinds that are a little… aged? These can often easily be swapped out as most clip in and out of fittings that are attached to the window frame. If you think your landlord might be open to it, you can ask if they’d like to cover the cost and keep them on afterward, otherwise you might have to bear it yourself and clip the old ones back in later.

2. Door handles

If you’ve got a screwdriver handy (and hopefully by this point you do), you can easily switch out the handles on your kitchen and bathroom cabinets and drawers. Single-knob varieties are typically the easiest to switch, while if your handles have two holes, unscrew them and remove the handle, then measure the distance between the middle of the two holes. Most replacements will be made to standard sizing, but buy one and test it out first before ordering more. Remember to keep the old ones to switch back before you go.

3. Lighting

Light can make a huge difference to the look and feel of your home. In an ideal world, you’ll have plenty of natural sunlight pouring in, casting you and everything in your space in a beautiful glow. But this is not an ideal world; it’s a rental world, and trying to find a place that ticks all your boxes, comes in under budget and has great light just doesn’t happen for everyone.

That said, you can imitate the real thing with a few carefully placed lamps - just don’t overdo it, or the environment and your electricity bill will suffer. Always use LED globes, which are up to 80 per cent more energy efficient than standard bulbs, go for warm-toned bulbs instead of bright white ones and avoid dark lampshades so as not to hinder the light.

4. Rugs

If the flooring ‘situation’ in your rental is unbearable, or you just want a refresh, a large rug is an easy fix and will likely never not get used in any space you live in in the future.

A neutral rug like a cream or tan jute is a good way to go, both because light colours will make the room seem more spacious, and because you can pick them up for a relatively reasonable price per square metre, which is handy when covering a large area. 

5. Art

Hanging artwork is one of the surest ways to imbue a space with joy and personality, and one of the great things about building up an art collection is that it’s forever yours no matter where you go.

A lot of local photographers have made prints available for purchase via their websites over the past year, or you can check out this list of local artists whose work you can still pick up for under $1000. Not in the position to be able to invest just yet? Use those newfound iso skills to paint, draw or even weave a new piece of art for yourself. 


 Want more like this? Here are 17 landlord-approved decorating hacks for renters.


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