Renting? Update your dining room with these super-chic ideas!

RSR - Dining

Dingy bathroom. Poky lounge. Carpet that’s retro in all the wrong ways. Welcome to the world of the renter… There’s nothing more depressing than living in fifty shades of beige. Sometimes it just feels like one long #livinthedream moment.

But wait! It doesn’t have to be this way! You don’t need to own your space for it to feel like home.

If you’re waiting until you’ve saved enough money to buy everything new, arrête!* Décor is like happiness. It’s a journey, not a destination. (Ah, poetry.) In our Rental Sweet Rental series, we’re taking it room by room. Here are 8 tips to giving your dining room/nook a make-over.

*It’s French for stop. We thought it sounded less didactic. And a bit more posh.

Image sources from left:, and

Clean your carpets

Professionally. Do it. It will lift your look. Free yourself from the microbial legacy living within its pile. (Yuh-huh. Revulsive.)

Invest in a rug

If you have polished floorboards, a rug softens noise. This way your impromptu-dinner-party-turned-karaoke-marathon can continue into the wee hours without risking any neighbour-wrangling.

Also, in cases of ghastly carpet, a large area rug is the best paper bag you’ll find. It should be big enough so all four legs of your dining chairs are still on it when everyone is sitting down. Not sure what we’re on about? Read this. Love jute? Look here.

Explore your lighting options to lift the mood. Images sourced from and

Switch out your light fixtures

Say no to archaic light fittings doubling as insect graveyards. Define your style with a replica lighting design. This is an investment for the long term. No way you’re leaving it when you hit the road, Jack.

Combine table + floor lamps for adaptable atmos

So you’d love a mismatched-but-modish pendant lighting installation above your dining table but your dragonlord won’t let you fiddle with the electrics? (P’raps not such a bad thing…) Enhance the mood with overlapping light sources. Host a romantic morning tête-à-tête then switch it up for a reserved business luncheon.

Add a touch of green or some personalised wall art to your space. Images sourced from and

Give your windows some love

We don’t like to be prescriptive ordinarily, but Venetian blinds? It’s a no. Relegate those eyesores to that shelf at the top of the pantry that you can’t properly reach and leave them to gather (more) dust. Replace them with floor-to-ceiling curtains (these are space-enhancing due to their vertical lines) or Roman shades (uber-cool).

If you’re handy on a sewing machine you can DIY-it-up Martha Stewart style like this. If you’re more likely to stitch your finger into the mix, best to outsource.

A photo wall makes a great feature in your dining nook. Also a large dog is a nice touch. Or add in geo-chic wall decals above your wooden art rails as pictured right. Images sourced from

Accessorise til the cows come

Yep. Whether it’s ornaments, table runners or tropical fish, vases, vibrant cushions or DIY wall art, your decorative accents will set the tone.

Make an impact with your colour choices

Experiment with colour to discover the combinations you like. Try before you buy. Pinterest the heck out of your look. We’re a bit old-school. We love a good mood board. The smell of the Clag glue, the cutting and pasting of pictures from alllll the homemaker mags. Heaven.

Image sources from left:,, and

Add a duct tape feature wall

Yep. You read that right. If black is still the new black in your book + you’ve got a little time on your hands, check out this quirky DIY feature wall. Change up the colour with different coloured duct tape. And remove it seamlessly when you leave.

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

Featured images sourced from, and Zanui.

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.