With less than one-third of Millennials being in a financial position that allows sufficient stability and income to buy a home, it’s no wonder that most of young adults are still navigating the troubled waters of the tenancy agreement. As a rule of the thumb, you want to be able to become a homeowner as soon as possible so that you don’t have to spend your wages in wasted rent payments. Paying back a mortgage might be just as expensive every month, but it’s an investment in your future, as opposed to a regular financial loss. Admittedly, it’s not easy to gather enough savings to afford the deposit on your first mortgage. So, in the meantime, more and more Millennials continue to rent a home instead of owning one. Some are 40 or more when they finally can buy their first home, which is a statement on our dire economic times. If you choose to become a tenant, you have of course less to worry about the costs of renovation and home improvements because these are not your responsibility. However, there are other kinds of home improvement works that tenants would love to be in control of and it’s decorating. Living in a place that has been stripped bare of any decoration doesn’t feel homely. So how can you make the most of your rental without losing your deposit?
What makes you feel at home?
Feeling at home where you live is a feeling that relies on a variety of factors. Of course, the interior decor matters, as you want a cozy nest that reflects your personality. But as a tenant, you also need a property that can fulfil all your comfort requirements and provide the amenities you need. First of all, the location is key to finding the best rental. You need to find the happy compromise of the distance to work, distance to local facilities and shop, how safe the district is, and naturally whether or not your social groups live within close distance. It doesn’t matter how well you decorate your rental is the location is wrong; the place will never feel homely. While there is a natural wear and tear in let properties, you should be paying close attention to details as you visit it. A place that is in dire need of renovation, such as showing loose cables or with crumbling plasters around the door frame is never a good choice. While it’s the landlord responsibility to maintain the accommodation, you can bet that a landlord who hasn’t cared to renovate before putting the property on the market will not care to do once you’ve moved in either. If you own a car and you need to drive to work, you should also focus on properties that offer a parking spot, on the street or with a garage. Nobody wants to be stressed out every day at the idea of trying to find an appropriately safe parking space for their vehicle. Finally, make sure to check the heating and cooling systems as you visit. Old radiators and A/C units will be noisy and lack performance, especially if they look like they haven’t been maintained in a while.
The happy spot
So, once you’ve established that the property you’ve got your eye on is ideally locally, in good condition and comes with its own parking space, it’s time to dive in and make a list of the best homes to let. When you’re looking for a rental house, ideally you’d like to meet the landlord before signing the agreement, even if your requirements will be handled by a real estate agency. Getting to know the landlord is helpful to gauge whether or no you can build a trust relationship with them and enjoy your rented home. Some nightmare landlords, for instance, are slow to make necessary repairs, which can leave their tenants in difficulties for several days or weeks. Others have a soft spot for DIY and prefer to fix the property by themselves. However, unless they’re qualified to work with electricity and plumbing systems, there are things that are best left to a professional. Make sure that you and your landlord take every precaution to ensure a happy relationship from the start. If you get to meet the landlord, you might find that some are very amiable, and offer to let fully or partially furnished properties. It’s not uncommon in university towns to find apartments that come with the full furniture. With discussion with your landlord, you can inquire whether you could get a partially furnished property – aka whether they can store the furniture and leave the appliances in – so that you can have more room to play when you decorate.
Decorate your bedroom
You might not be allowed to paint the walls, use too many nails to hang frames and shelves, and stick a cute wallpaper border in the corridor, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t create a cozy and personal space in your rental property. Let’s begin with the most important room in your home, the bedroom, the place where you can rest and recharge your batteries before the next day. If you happen to have more than one bedrooms, you’re in for a treat: There’s plenty of inspirational designs for the master, children or guest bedrooms. All you need is a little bit of imagination and care to make it work. When you have to keep your wall in the crisp white or magnolia shade they’ve been painted in by your landlord, you need to use the furniture to bring a touch of color and personality. Indulge in a king size bed if the room is big enough; you’ve deserved something to make you fall in love with the room. What’s better than a comfortable and stylish huge bed, I ask you! Well, there’s something even better than picking high-quality bed and mattress, and that is choosing smooth and bright bed sheets for a luxury feel. If you want something romantic, have a look for deep purple or red shades, preferably in satin fabric. Do you want a relaxing bedroom that helps you to switch off at the end of a long day? Get yellow, pastel green, and pale blue sheets as these colors can soothe the mind.
A splash of freshness in the bathroom
Ah, the bathroom! It’s the most difficult room in a rental because it always shows the signs of tear and wear of previous tenants. It’s not a matter of lack of care: Bathrooms are used every day, several times a day, so it’s fairly normal that they feel a little aged and worn out. In short, you need to expect some fair wear and tear, and so does your landlord too. But most things can be cleaned up if you put your heart to it and know some tricks. For instance, grubby silicone seals can be cleaned using bleach in small quantities on the spots you can’t reach to turn it back white. For the tiles grout, you can use an organic mix of baking soda, vinegar and lemon to spray on and brush away. It does wonders! Within a few days of hard scrubbing, you might find that your bathroom suddenly looks rejuvenated. Then, all you need is to add the finishing touches: A new shower curtain if applicable, luxury cotton towels in bright colors and place scented candles around the bathtub.
A brand new used kitchen
The kitchen is the second room in a rented property to show signs of tear and wear, so it’s important to check the conditions of the appliances as you move in. Most landlords would agree to change damaged appliances or items that are becoming dangerous because of old age. However, make sure to check the tenancy agreement before you sign: If the appliances are not listed as part of the property, then it’s likely that your landlord will refuse to change them. Other elements that are great to give your kitchen a new feel is to buy exciting and high-quality kitchenware, from your pans to your plates. A good pot can make an old cooker looks like new! And finally, get your hand on a set of table and chairs for the kitchen/dining corner. It doesn’t matter if you can’t find them new: Maybe you can recycle an old set with chalk paint. With a bit of DIY magic, you’ll feel instantly at home.
An inviting living room
Finally, we’re getting to your most exuberant room, the living room, the place where you welcome your guests and spend most of your evenings. Start with a bright and thick rug to act as an eyecatcher and change the ambiance of the room. In a minimalist decor, neutral colors work best. But in a rental, you want to maximize the fun element of the interior and make a bold color statement. Orange, green and purple are trend colors this season! Then, all you need to do is to buy a cozy sofa and cover it in cushions and throws to create a sense of personal warmth. Use a chest of drawers or a low standing shelving units to create a storage corner for your DVDs, books and souvenirs.
So, are you ready to feel at home in your rental? Share other decor ideas you’ve tried in the comments!