Sunday, 5 July 2015

10 ways to improve your rented home that cost nothing, or next to nothing

Feeling disheartened with your rented home? It can get to us all at some point. The lack of permanence, the boring walls we can't paint, the landlord who won't even answer the phone let alone sort out the dodgy boiler... No matter how desperate you're feeling though, there are some easy and inexpensive ways to get the best out of your place.

1. Declutter
The nemesis of a calm home is clutter. Think about what you really need and what you really love. Discard or recycle anything broken. Take good quality but unwanted items to your local charity shop. Get rid of any duplicates or anything you're holding on to 'just in case'. You're not going to need it. Really. Donate any clothes that don't fit you right now and anything you don't wear any more (be honest now!)

2. Clean
Wash the windows, the woodwork and the floors. Vacuum under the bed, behind the sofa and all the other dust traps you don't do every week. Wash the curtains, shake out the rugs, shampoo the carpet, clean the oven, scrub the tiles and deal with any limescale. Basically, make everything as clean as it  possibly can be. Even if your contract doesn't allow you to make a single alteration to your home, having a clean one will make a huge difference, both to your house and your state of mind. Once everything is sparkling it's then easier to keep on top of the housework.

3. Tidy
Once one and two are taken care of, put things away. Make sure everything has a home, because if it doesn't, it will just end up drifting around your flat and becoming more clutter. Utilize every bit of space you can, if wardrobe space is tight, store shoes under your bed or consider a top-of-wardrobe storage box for out of season clothes. It's been well documented that living in very untidy environments causes stress and aren't we all stressed enough already?

4. Make your bed
Honestly, it makes a huge difference to the way your bedroom looks and coming home/getting into a made bed is much more pleasurable than facing a heap of bedlinen and dirty clothes all over the bed. Make sure you throw back the covers and air your bed while you get ready, then make it just before you leave the house. It takes two minutes.

7. Add some cushions
Even you guys, yes you cushionphobes. You might think they are frippery but they are essential. They make a sofa both comfortable and inviting, they make a bed. These ones form H&M Home start from just £2.99 for a cover and come in plain, patterned and almost every colour and fabric.

5. Swap out your ceiling shade
Even having no shade is marginally better than something old, dusty or ugly. For a mere £2.25 though you can have the most basic REGOLIT paper shade from Ikea and still have something stylish. This shade works in every room, with every scheme. There's no excuse not to!

6. Bring the outdoors in
Get a plant or buy some flowers, having living things in your home completely transforms it. I recently picked up a little ficus at my local supermarket for £1.50 so it really doesn't have to be an expensive undertaking. Not good with plants? buy a succulent or a cactus, which need minimal care.

8. Move your furniture around
If you feel like one of your rooms is just not right, try looking at how else you might arrange the furniture, either to enable you to move around the space easier or to give you more room. This is especially true if you rent somewhere furnished, you can bet your landlord hasn't given the first thought about the best furniture placement.

9. Hang some art
There are so many great options for low priced wall art now. For super thrifty options, head to Ikea. This BILD poster is just £6. For £10 you can have something more street art inspired from the ART EVENT range. If you're concerned about how to hang them, they don't need framing and you can carefully affix with black washi tape which comes away from walls nicely if you peel slowly.

10. Make it yours
Personalize your space as much as you can. Surround yourself with the things you love, be that family photos, your record collection or your musical instruments. If you have a prized collection of something, celebrate it, display it. Have a thing about purple? Go for it, on everything you can get away with. It's your home after all, even though you rent it.

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