Monday, 16 November 2020

How To Make A Rented Home Feel Like Your Own

As someone who has lived as a private tenant for the last 13 years, I have picked up a fair few tips for personalising a rented home and making it feel like your own.

I'm a firm believer in the rights of tenants to make their living space a comfortable and enjoyable home environment that suits them, after all...most of us are paying very high prices for our homes, usually far more than most people are paying for their mortgages!

Here are my top 5 tips for personalising your rented living space.

1. Get Off To The Right Start With Your Landlord

The dynamic between landlord and tenant is an important one, you could be the most reliable tenant ever but if you end up with a dodgy landlord who is more interested in saving money than providing you with a liveable home then you will always run in to problems.

Unfortunately there are many unscrupulous landlords about, and I have personally had problems with two out of the four landlords I have had.

These problematic landlords were reluctant to solve problems such as leaks and water damage within the property, and one left us with a dripping roof above our bathtub for the entirety of winter.

Thinking back, there were opportunities to spot the potential for problems from our very first meeting with them...which is why I think it's crucial to have open conversations with potential landlords from the very start about what you want from a home, and what your expectations are along with their requests and boundaries.

We have a good relationship with our current landlords and this was apparent from our first meeting, where we opened up honest dialogue about expectations on both of our parts.

While a landlords priority will be ensuring a tenants past reliability and ensuring they compare landlord insurance before committing, a tenants priority should be agreeing a reasonable time frame for any necessary repair work that comes up during the tenancy and agreeing boundaries on home decor changes.

2. Use Wall Stickers To Personalise Your Living Space

Although we're fortunate in that our landlords were very clear about wanting us to treat the property as our own and decorate as we wish, we've  never been keen to spend a lot on wallpaper or paint work as the property isn't ours and we simply never know for certain how long we'll be living here.

Instead we prefer to use things like wall stickers and peelable wallpaper which enable us to personalise our living space for a lower price, and also make the process of removing and returning a room to its original state for easier and cheaper for us too.

3.  Use Peel & Stick Marble To Personalise Fireplaces, Kitchens and Bathrooms

When we first moved in to this house, the one thing we really disliked was the fireplace.

It's an original 1950's fireplace with deep cream coloured tiling. We felt that the colour and style of the tiling really limited our choices when it came to decorating the room, and no matter what else we tried to do with the space it always stuck out to us like a sore thumb. But we thought there was nothing we could do about it.

Until we discovered the revelation that was peel and stick marble! Using this super easy to use peel and stick contact paper, we were able to completely the transform the appearance of the fireplace - it now looks like its made of white marble! It cost us less than £20, it can be removed in minutes should we decide to move on from the house and it's completely changed the whole vibe of our living room, making it much more to our taste and giving us far more decor options.

The same product can also be used for bathroom tiling and kitchen tiles or worktops.

4. Invest In Furniture

When you rent, the temptation is always to stick to lower cost furniture because you never know how long you'll spend at a property but I take a different approach.

I find that most low cost furniture is, of course, not designed to withstand house moves and so this makes each move very expensive as so much furniture needs to be replaced each time.

Deciding on better quality furniture that can be moved with you when the times comes suits us far more as it saves money in the long run, and also enables us to keep a sense of familiarity in a new home - which I feel is particularly important for families with young children.

5. Rugs Are Your Friend!

One of the things I dislike in our current home is the carpets...I'll never understand why landlords insist on choosing depressing brown carpets throughout their properties! 

Of course it doesn't make good financial sense to replace carpets in someone elses property, but instead I recommend investing in a nice rug that will draw focus away from the carpets and can, of course, be taken with you when its time to move to pastures new.

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