Through my twenties living in Mumbai, there was a constant sense of foreboding that my landlord could give me marching orders at any time. So I never invested in buying décor pieces until well into my thirties; I never put up art on the walls. Looking back, I can only shake my head in sadness. So many décor opportunities lost forever.
For folks who rent, moving house is a painful reality. But it should not stop you from enjoying living in the house that you are occupying right now.
Here we have five simple rules to follow, to make a rented apartment your own:
1. Plan your Lighting
Lighting can make all the difference in a home. With so many well-designed and reasonable options available today, there really is no excuse for living with bad lighting. If you don’t want to go overboard, then restrict your investment to a good floor lamp for the hall and a good bedside lamp for your bedroom. And while on the subject of lighting, the only place for white light is in hospitals. For the rest of us, yellow light works just fine. Consider LED bulbs, which are relatively inexpensive and conserve energy better.
2. Commit to quality soft furnishings
Soft furnishings are the simplest way to update your décor and keep it vibrant. Invest in quality bed linen, tasteful cushions and good looking curtains; these will go a long way in making your rental feel like a home.
When buying soft furnishings, think of the colour palette that you are most confortable with being around for a long time. By that we mean, do not get carried away with pretty prints and patterns if that is usually not something that you like. Understand your preferred palette and stick to that. I invested in quality blinds five years ago, and have moved them each time I have changed homes. Given that every home has different sized windows, I had to get a local upholstery person to make some adjustments, for every home that I moved into and I have managed pretty well till now.
3. Make your peace with That Thing you Don’t Like
There is always something about your rental that you despise but cannot get rid of. In my case, it was my bathroom. It was old-fashioned and ugly with pipes running through the entire space. There was nothing I could do about it, short of a complete over haul, which was too expensive.
Make your peace and come up with a solution that works for both you and the landlord. In my case, I bought open shelves for the dry area in the bathroom, and accessorized it with candles, indoor plants and vintage perfume bottles.
4. Display your Art
If you, like me, have your personal art collection packed away under your bed, now is the time to break free of the rental tyranny. Have a chat with your landlord and tell him that you need to put up some art. Most of us shy away from having that conversation. You can come to an arrangement where you fix the holes in the walls, before you vacate the house. If your landlord refuses to let you put nails in the wall, there is still hope. You can always choose to display your art in a more unconventional fashion- by resting it against the wall on the floor.
5. Invest in, and create your favourite corner in your rental
Having a corner in your home which is unquestionably yours (your pet might disagree) makes a big difference to how welcoming your rental feels, after a long hard day at work. Create your own corner; it could be a single armchair with an accompanying floor lamp and a side table or a ledge by the window with your favourite family pictures and a colourful rug.
So follow our tips and enjoy that home while it lasts because there really is no excuse for living in an impersonal space.