5 DIY Updates For Your Rental Living Rm

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Your lease is up. They want to increase the rent. You don’t love the place but the thought of moving makes you itchy. Like all over.

You surrender. You decide to stay. You re-do your “budget”. You make meal plans for the entire month. You’ll eat at home every night and take the left-overs for lunch. You’ll save money AND lose weight. You go out dancing to celebrate your new healthy lifestyle and drink champagne cocktails into the wee hours.


You wake to light piercing through those wretched Venetian blinds. You feel less than effervescent.

The walls of your tiny bedroom are closing in. You can’t breathe. It’s like the garbage compactor on the Death Star in here. Something is lurking. It is the mother of all hangovers. The dripping tap in the bathroom is Chinese water torture.

The walls close in on Leah, Luke and Hans and then something begins to stir in the murky waters at their feet. Star Wars image sourced: neozaz.com

You feel your way past the peeling wallpaper towards the Berocca. You click on the kettle, shove cheese in the toaster and short-circuit the power. Aviators to face, you head out into the Real World, hope vested in the healing power of caffeine. In the hallway, the ice-addicted chick from next door stops to regale you with her latest UFO conspiracy theory.

Enough. ENOUGH!

You call the real estate stat. You hand in your notice. You fist-pump the air! Then you head directly to the pub for hair of the dog. Denial is the only response to the hellish month of Saturday morning showings ahead.

Sourced: mumsnet.com

By some minor miracle (read an epic battle against hordes of backpackers that wages for weeks) you score your dream (any) home-for-now.

You pack (shove things into black garbage bags while swigging from a bottle of sauv blanc). You install your furniture (after a touch-and-go moment when the sofa wedged in the stairwell). You unpack (hide) everything (except some two or six boxes). And you salve your friendships (with beer, wine, pizza, tequila, and heartfelt vows to never ever rely on the White Hippo, your 1972 Toyota Corolla, or their biceps to shift your shtuff again).

You survey your four new rented walls. So this is where you will be living for THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. No way you’re moving anywhere ever again. So you better make the most of it.

Using large area rugs can completely transform your rental space. Images sourced from popsugar.com.

No question, the renter’s life is far from glam. But your décor doesn’t have to follow suit. A little out-of-the-box thinking is all you need to transform your space into a home sweet haven.

Sure, there will always be those boxes that you cart from place to place unsure of their contents but too frightened to investigate. But cloaked in a nice throw and arranged around a coffee table, these can double as a boho-chic living nook. 😉

Cushions are an easy and affordable way to add cosy nuance to your rental space. Images sourced L to R: homes.ninemsn.com.au, designwonderland.net, honestlywtf.com and dabblemag.com

All jokes aside, decorating your home-on-loan is difficult. For one, there’s the investment + effort vs length of stay ratio to consider. But a few quick and simple (and cheap) adjustments can go a long way. After all, time has a way of getting away with you. And a refuge from the Outside World is the most must-have of must-haves.

In our Rental Sweet Rental series so far we’ve looked at the dining room. Today, we’re turning to your living space. We’ve put together a few easy DIY tips to make your space – yeah – more livable.

Sourced from cardiganjunkie.com

Fire things up with faux wall-panelling

Dabble Magazine proves you can change the world with two paint colours, painter’s tape, a metal ruler, a level and a little DIY know-how. Above, they show us how to achieve a geo-chic look with just a little patience.

Can’t paint? Washi tape is to DIY décor what half a toothpick is MacGyver. It doesn’t look like much but it can save your life. Washi tape is the perfect antidote to too much beige. Apartment Therapy also have some great suggestions for removable wall-panelling options.

Add an exposed brick wall to your space without the dust and fuss with these wallpapers. From left to right: Soft White Bricks Wallpaper, Whitewash Bricks Wallpaper and Old Brown Bricks Wallpaper from Kemra, available online at Zanui.

Realise that New York loft look

Love that urban-industrial warehouse style – introduce exposed-brick walls into your space with easy-to-apply wallpapers. Obvs this is asking for a more flexible landlord, but if you don’t ask, you don’t get. And if you’re planning on staying there a while, this kind of investment gives back ten-fold.

Personalised artwork, colour and multi-purpose furniture increase the homeliness and useability. Images sourced from (L to R): iheartorganizing.blogspot.com.au and buzzfeed.com.

Re-purpose vintage tablecloths for super-cute curtains

We love that chintz meets lace look. You can create your very own window valances (use lace tablecloths) or curtains (use floral and patterned) with minimal fuss. Shop your local Vinnies to add some serious-nana style to your space. You can find curtain rings with metal clips attached for this uber-simple make-over at the likes of Spotlight.

Add pattern and colour to your linings and window finishes. Images sourced L to R: digsdigs.com, nicety.livejournal.com and apartmenttherapy.com

Line your shelving

Better yet, line behind, underneath even on top of your shelving. Adding colour in unexpected spaces adds individuality to your home. Plus it keeps it neat and chic. And it’s easy to re-line with plain white when you leave.

From left to right: Banksy Flower Thrower Wall Decal, Retro Peace Wall Decal, Jimi Hendrix Wall Decal, and Renee Treml Bilby Protect Wall Decal available online at Zanui.

Define it with decals

Removable wall decals redefine your space instantly and peel away when you have to leave. And there is an almost infinite number on the market – from Banksy designs to the cartoonesque, quotes and iconic rockstars and artists. Can’t argue with that.

Here’s to making a little sanctuary for yourself in your rental home! Go forth, chickens! Nest.

Featured images sourced from popsugar.com

Kay is a feature, blog and copywriter. She collects empty jam jars, academic degrees and tawdry dreams in the hopes of turning them into something useful someday. Her work has been published in ACP magazines, ABC fiction, Overland, Brittle Star, Seizure, trade publications and online forums. Her creative writing has won several awards.