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How to give your rental property a reversible renovation

Living in a rental property but want to make it your own — minus the bond-busting damage? Here are some simple ways to turn someone else’s house into your home.

Living in a rental property can limit how much control you have over your home’s look, with bathroom renovations, stylised paintwork, or a kitchen upgrade pretty much off the table. The good news is, there are plenty of affordable, removable big-ticket changes you can make and change back before you go. The added bonus? Many of them can be packed up and go with you.

Recolour your walls

If repainting isn’t an option, you can spruce up a dull wall with new wallpaper ranges that are simple to hang, and easy to remove, says Warren May, paint accessories buyer for Bunnings. “These ranges provide seriously sophisticated finishes but simply peel off without taking the paint with them,” he says. They are available in a wide range of different patterns including floral, retro and bright block colours, so achieving any look is possible.

Change your lighting

Another way to easily transform your rental is with stylish lighting. Hit your local lighting or hardware warehouse for DIY light fittings, which come in all sizes, shapes and styles (just be aware you will only be able to swap like for like; for example, you can’t change a downlight for a batten fitting, so check what type of fitting you have before you hit the shops). Stylish floor and table lamps are another easy option that can leave with you when you go.


One of the easiest ways to change the feel of a room is with textiles — think curtains, floor rugs, cushions and throws. Even if your window frames don’t have a curtain rod installed, these are easy to remove and patch (provided the paint or paper isn’t difficult to retouch). Most homeware stores including Spotlight, IKEA and Kmart offer cheap and cheerful options that allow you to decorate in the latest trends, usually coming in complete collections that match back with kitchenware and bathroom accessories, so you can create a coordinated look throughout your house.

Pot plants and hanging gardens

Your choice of plant (and the pot you put it in), from the architectural but colourful bird of paradise, to the Zen lucky bamboo or cosy cottage plants, can add to the overall style of your house. Transform a small balcony or patio with wall-hung pots or a vertical garden. Use oversized pots in neutral tones for a Zen style, or scour home and hardware stores for boldly coloured designs.

Bump up the storage

Lack of storage is a common cause of complaint in rental properties, and keeping the clutter at bay is part of a home’s overall aesthetic. Clever storage can make a world of difference in transforming a small cluttered rental into an organised haven, says Terri Grant, storage buyer at Bunnings. Add wicker, felt or metallic baskets to an industrial-style shelf to keep common areas tidy, clever cube storage units for books, paperwork and magazines, or add storage to existing wardrobes — think shelves, baskets, extra rails and over-the-door shoe organisers on the inside of your wardrobe.


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