Nifty ways to make your rental property feel like home – without breaching the lease agreement

Personalising your rental property with plants, decorative items, and statement pieces can make it feel like your home. Picture: Designecologist/Pexels

Personalising your rental property with plants, decorative items, and statement pieces can make it feel like your home. Picture: Designecologist/Pexels

Published Dec 21, 2023


Moving into a new property is a wonderful opportunity to re-create your home aesthetic and put your personal mark on the space you will spend most of your time – but if you are a tenant, you have fewer options.

It can be challenging to make a rental property feel like home, especially if the landlord has strict rules about what you can and cannot change within the property; so, when trying to redecorate, you will need to find creative, non-permanent ways to give the home your own unique flair.

In addition to the rules laid out in the lease agreement that might prevent you, as a tenant, from making any permanent changes to the home, Adrian Goslett, chief executive of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says it isn’t very beneficial to spend a lot of money to update a property that is not your own.

“When you own a property, any renovation or upgrade can be viewed as an investment into the future resale value of the home. However, when you are renting, any improvements you make to the property will only help the landlord increase their property value or charge more in rent once your lease is over.”

Thankfully, he says, there are a few ways that you can update your rental home without making any permanent changes or investing too much of your own money.

RE/MAX of Southern Africa shares a few tenant-friendly home decorating ideas:

Area rugs and wall art

If you are not a fan of the floors, then cover them up with a few large area rugs that can be easily rolled up and taken with you to your next home. Similarly, cleverly placed wall art can conceal features you might not like. Before hanging art or other decorative pieces, check if you are allowed to hammer nails into the walls. If not, use lightweight artwork that can be put up using double-sided tape instead.

Peel and stick materials

Use peel-and-stick wallpaper to create a non-permanent feature wall without damaging the paint. You could also use decorative wall decals to liven up the walls. For kitchens and bathrooms, use stick-on tile patterns to easily update the look of the space.

Replace handles

One of the easiest and affordable things to update are the handles on kitchen cupboards or bedroom wardrobes. Just be sure to keep the old handles in storage somewhere so that you can easily reinstall them once your lease expires.

Dress the space

The best way to decorate a rental property is to purchase your own furniture and styling items that you can easily take with you into your next home. Avoid anything that will need to be fixed to the walls. For example, instead of new light fixtures, purchase floor or table lamps. Instead of wall-hung shelves, purchase a freestanding bookshelf. Instead of blinds, hang curtains.

Real estate professionals and interior designers also share some other non-permanent ways you can make your rental property feel like home:

– Use string or LED lights to create a cosy ambience

– Add lots of plants and greenery to freshen up your space

– Add decorative items such as vases, bowls, ornaments, candles, clocks, and cushions

– Create a personal statement space using a piece of art or furniture that will attract attention or make you feel at home

– Invest in furniture that offers options for storage. Items include coffee tables and foot stools that have hidden storage, cabinets, and even bed frames that include drawers for storage

– Hang or display photographs

– Scatter some cushions and cover your chairs with textured throws

– Ask your landlord if you are able to repaint cupboards or walls, even if just a statement wall

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