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rental renovating:
return more tips for rental living bliss

by Sara Goldstein
| 1 2

When I first read Digs’ original Rental Renovating article, I completely related: I too was living in a cheap rental with insane décor, and struggling to make it feel like home.Whoever decorated the house I rented back then had very, um, ‘individual’ taste. On the ground floor every surface was decorated with different patterned tiles and a fabulously kitsch built-in bookcase lined with flocked wallpaper dominated one room. Upstairs, one big room had been divided into a rabbit warren of tiny bedrooms with doors at 45-degree angles. The balcony, meanwhile, had become a wood-panelled sunroom, featuring another flocked bookcase. I tolerated the décor because the rent was cheap and the location perfect, but I had to work to make the place feel like home. “Rental Renovating” helped, and along the way, I picked up a few tricks of my own.

The first challenge in turning that uninspired rental into my chic pad was making sure that the things I did were completely reversible -- so I wouldn’t lose my bond. That meant everything in the glossy decorating mags was out of the question. I couldn’t remove those strange dividing walls upstairs… I couldn’t even paint them a nicer colour!

The other challenge was my budget. I didn’t have a lot of money to spend on making it nice, and I wanted everything I bought to be portable in case my next rental was just as ugly. I learnt a lot along the way, and in the end, I really liked living in that crazy house. Here’s what I did…

Step One: An extra-thorough clean
I guess it’s pretty obvious that when you move into a new rental, you give it a good clean. Who knows what nasties the last tenants have left behind?

There’s some stuff that most people forget to clean though, including windows, windowsills, baseboards, electric sockets, door handles and range hoods. When you move in, try giving these things a wipe with a little Windex and see what happens. Sometimes a quick clean makes them look shiny and new again, and with windows, especially, you’ll be amazed at how much more light a clean pane will let shine through. It’s a little thing, but it makes a much bigger difference to the overall feel of a place than you’d expect. Best of all, it’s a fix-up that costs practically nothing!

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