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H&G IT YOURSELF: 8 easy ways to update your rental home now

We show you how your rental home can still be personalised and updated with non-permanent changes that are affordable and easy to do

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By House & Garden South Africa | March 27, 2024 | Diy

Updating and personalizing your rental space does not need to be intimidating or overly ambitious. We have put together 8 simple ways you can update your rental home without a drill, the mess or any other permanent changes that would require a toolkit.

Stock up on indoor plants

Greenery is the best place to start - it is an instant connection with the outside (especially beneficial in city apartments with no outdoor areas) and brings much-needed life into a home. Palms and ficus plants are all great starter plants for indoors, especially as they add height and size, and you can use them to fill awkward spaces and bare corners.

Start your art collection

You do not need serious bank to start an art collection, with many local artists, galleries and e-commerce platforms offering a variety of accessible prints for every taste. Hang pictures using Pattex No More Nails to avoid drilling holes into walls.

A contemporary living room with plenty of natural light filtering through, Photograph: Ema Peter

Invest in an extra-large rug

We all know that a rug pulls a room together, but opting for one that is oversized will also make a space feel bigger (just make sure it does not bunch at the walls). In addition to demarcating living zones with an open-plan space, they introduce colour, texture and warmth.

Bold wall colour gives instant style credit

A bold wall colour can immediately transform a space - whether achieved through a solid paint tone or removable wallpaper - and make it feel more you. Just check with your landlord first and be prepared to paint the walls back when your lease is up.

A bold coloured passageway creates a strong design impact in an apartment, Photograph: Sean Litchfield

Change your kitchen cabinet knobs

If your rental space comes with an older kitchen, chances are you will be saddled with dull, uninspired drawer and cupboard pulls. If they are screw-in, you can easily remove and replace them with metallic or coloured options. When you move, simply put the old ones back.

When it comes to cushions, more is more

Maximalism in a small space sounds counterintuitive, but when correctly employed can make your space feel bigger and up the luxe factor. The benefits of stacking a sofa with scatter cushions are manifold: they are a quick fix if your space needs colour, pattern or texture - plus they are easy to swap and update.

Colourful cushions add a pop of personality to the home, Photograph: Sean Litchfield

Make space count with multi-functional pieces

You will not be able to renovate your rental, so choose hardworking furniture that does double duty, adding storage (there is never enough) or performing different tasks (a dining table can double up as an at-home office).

Harness the power of clever lighting

Any decorator will tell you that well-placed lighting can make a major difference in improving the living quality of a room - making it feel bigger (or more intimate), warmer and even defining areas in an open-plan setup. Mix it up with sculptural ceiling lights (get an electrician to install and remove these when you leave) or, for an instant fix, opt for portable table lamps (which also provides illumination during load-shedding blackouts).

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