Housing affordability has definitely been a hot topic in the media over the last few years, and with less people able to afford a home in the current market, there have been increases in the numbers of people looking to rent. Lets face it... many of us have rented, or will be renting for a long time. But this doesn't mean we can't make where we live our 'home', a place we can feel comfortable that reflects our style.
We recently interviewed Kayla Gex (former Senior Stylist at House & Garden Magazine) who rents her home. With the addition of a few key investment pieces and a little ingenuity, Kayla shares her tips and tricks on how to inject some style and personality into your rental while staying on budget.
Can you describe your rental home before you moved in? What attracted you to it? What do you love about it?
It was pretty much empty. The previous renters must have been moving out. I think that’s why we snatched this place so quickly because people couldn’t see the potential in it. The rental market is competitive in Sydney so the fact that we called up and got it straight away is not something that happens very often.
The first thing that attracted me to this place was the character. It wasn’t brand new but at the same time, it was clean and freshly painted. My two absolute must-haves when I am looking for a rental is floorboards and pretty windows. I feel like these two things are crucial in any home. It definitely makes my search harder but it’s always worth it in the end. I don’t know what it is, but aluminium windows and carpet in living areas just make me sad! Haha!
And what aspects of it don't you love so much?
Although there are so many things I love about this rental, there are also some things I would change too. The blinds on all the windows would be the first thing to go. I would love to replace them with linen curtains or fabric roman blinds. Second, the living room paint colour is a little beige for me so I would probably change that too, but I have softened the room with lighter coloured furnishings and have created layers in textiles and art pieces.
Does your landlord have any restrictions on what you are allowed to do? e.g Are you allowed to hang pictures from the walls etc?
We do have quite a few restrictions like no painting, no drilling in the walls etc. but we are really lucky that there are picture rails on every single wall. I love hanging art on walls so this is the perfect solution for a rental. I like to see the string holding them too so it is a win-win for me. But if you don't have this luxury, layering different sized art pieces or mirrors leaning on top of sideboards would also work.
Apartment lighting can sometimes be really cold and clinical so I am a big lamp lady. I have lamps in every room and try to use those instead of the main overhead lights. I particularly love my Shoreline Table Lamp (pictured above) and my Ferryman Table Lamp I have sitting on my Almirah.
When it comes to buying furniture or decorative pieces for your home, what sort of items do you look for or are happy to invest in considering you will most likely be living somewhere else in the future?
I try not to invest or buy too many larger items because I dream of owning my own place one day and buying these items then to suit the space. Although I do think it's important to splurge on smaller, more adaptable 'one-of-a-kind' pieces to create character. Most of the things in my place at the moment I have refurbished from Op shops or have been given to me for work, or I have found them on the side of the road (not kidding!). I actually love the challenge of creating a beautiful space without breaking the bank. Cushions and cushion inserts are something I have and would definitely splurge on. I feel like those accessories, if done right, can really elevate a room. I only use feather inserts as well, it changes everything!
Things that I have invested in and have fit in every rental so far have been quality rugs like my 'Red Sea Rug' I got from Few and Far, my beautiful almirah (Another Few and Far Purchase) and bedding. I’ve never regretted spending extra for these pieces as I know I will have them forever and they will fit into any place I move into. The Almirah could work in so many rooms of my house like the kitchen, living room or the nursery I need to start working on...
So there you have it! We hope you feel inspired to get a little creative in your rental to create your place of sanctuary and somewhere you love coming 'home' to. x