No place like home

PUBLISHED : Friday, 24 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 24 February, 2012, 12:00am


It can be difficult to make a rented flat feel like home, but there are easy and inexpensive ways to make your leased space feel more inviting.

One of the biggest hurdles is psychological. Try to live in the present and think of the apartment as your own, not a place you will eventually leave.

Ask your landlord for permission to paint. Not only walls but tiles too, using paint specially designed for ceramics.

If paint is not your thing, try wallpaper.

The cheapest way is to track down leftover rolls or large samples. Ask distributors if they have discontinued rolls that are often sold at discounted prices.

Try using wallpaper in unusual ways, such as a splash-back in the kitchen or on the headboard of a bed.

Other ideas include a panel of wallpaper, which can be used to offset a piece of furniture such as a sofa, desk or console table.

Maybe it is time to rethink the furnishings. Use large pieces, even if you are in a small space, to create more interest.

Try changing the shape of the room by placing a divider in the corner. This will allow the eye to flow evenly across the room rather than interrupt it with abrupt corners.

When shopping for furniture, only invest in pieces you know you will keep, things that you will love and use. Forget the idea of waiting until you own your place.

You will have these pieces with you long after you leave your rental.

Look at the details around you. Try adding graphic accent pillows for the couch, and a rug to cover standard apartment flooring.

Even something as simple as placing a table lamp on top of a stack of books sends the message that the space belongs to you and not your landlord.

Changing the lights will also set the tone so replace standard lights with new ones. Using lower wattage bulbs and installing dimmers and plenty of lamps will create a more intimate atmosphere.

As soon as you move in, unpack everything. Don't keep any packing boxes: they will only remind you that you are living in 'temporary' accommodation and reinforce the fact that you aren't really in your own space.

Really consider what you are keeping in your home. If it's meaningful then find a place for it. If it serves no purpose then consider letting it go.

A small toolbox with items such as a hammer, nails and screwdriver is a good resource to have when getting settled.

It is easy to putty up nail holes when you leave so hang your favourite photographs and artwork and surround yourself with the things you love.

Items such as new window treatments, a new toilet seat and shower curtain can also make all the difference.

Finally, buy a few plants. They are cheap, add colour and instantly make a rental feel homely. Plus, you can take them with you when you move.