Do you sigh over pictures of beautifully decorated homes and tell yourself, “Someday, when I move into my own house…”?
It isn’t just you. A good part of today’s urban population lives in rented spaces, many of which remain bare and characterless months after being lived in. You’re probably reluctant to invest in beautifying a place that is not your own. Add to this the landlord’s strict ‘no alterations’ policy, and you continue to live in a makeshift setup even as the days turn into months.
The truth is it doesn’t have to be this way. There are many simple, affordable ideas that don’t involve drilling or nails to make your rented home look beautiful. Here are a few to get you started.
1. Light it right
Your rented apartment probably came with a few dusty CFLs – but you don’t have to live with these forever. Remove and store away the boring lights (so that you can put them back on when you vacate), and get your own. Layered lighting through the use of multiple light sources can create different zones and moods in the same space. For instance, a charming floor lamp next to your sofa or favourite armchair can create a little reading nook. A bedside lamp that throws light patterns on the wall is a great backdrop for late night conversations in bed.
Change-your-mindable wall art
Removable wall decals are all the rage these days. They are inexpensive and can simply be peeled off the wall without damaging the paint or plastering. Plus, they come in a variety of designs, from your favourite Peanuts quote to florals, animals, and cartoons. On the flip side, they tend to lose their adhesiveness once you peel them off. So plan their position carefully before attempting to put them up.
Hate the wall paint your apartment’s come with? Too bad you can’t just repaint it. But you can still bring home the colours you love – think upholstery and soft furnishings like curtains, cushion covers and carpets. The best way to get started is by making a colour palette that will work well with your wall paint. Play by the 60-30-10 rule. Do up 60% of the room in a primary colour, 30% in a secondary colour, and 10% in an accent shade. If you have one patterned sofa or rug that you definitely want to keep in the room, pick your colours from this pattern.
All eyes on the floor
A rug is an incredibly simple way to make your home feel homely – there’s something so warm and welcoming about it. For areas that have higher footfall, choose a durable, low maintenance carpet that’s in a dark colour or highly patterned. Rugs in low footfall areas can be fancier: a jute or silk hand-crafted one, for instance. Make sure you measure the size of your room and the area you want to cover with the carpet or rug before you go shopping.
Not just window dressing
Curtains can add some instant visual drama to your rooms. Pastel shades or florals give a soft, cosy feel, while satiny textures and intricate patterns create an opulent look. Choose one that goes with your decor style. Do remember that each time you change your curtains, you may need to change your cushion covers to keep the room looking well-coordinated.
A splash of green can make any space look cosy and lived-in. If you have a sunny balcony, make a small garden there with potted plants and hanging planter boxes. Add a garden chair, bench, or swing, and you’re all set to go! If you’re ambitious and have a green thumb, you could set up a kitchen garden in grow bags and trays. Or you could simply get some succulents, easy-to-maintain indoor plants that will look lovely, but need your attention only about once a week.