Making yourself feel at home in a rented space may be difficult as one has to factor in many things. However, by initiating small changes, you can transform your rented pad into something of your own, writes Nandita Manwani
At some point in our lives, each one of us has lived in a rented accommodation. The reasons can be many - moving to a new city, need for a bigger place, or perhaps, we felt that the time was not right to have our own place.
While a new place comes with its own quota of excitement, doing it up to suit one’s taste and lifestyle is a bit of a tug of war between balancing the costs against the desire, and of course, the landlord.
However, there are many things that can be done to make your rented home reflect your lifestyle and make it feel like ‘home’. These simple tips should help you create a balance.
Before and after moving in
There are several things that need to be done before you move into your rented home with a truck full of your things and this requires judicious planning.
One of the most important things to ensure is that the place you are renting has the right amount of fixed furniture. At the very least, the place should be fitted with the kitchen, and wardrobes in every room. These are your core storage spaces and without these, no matter what you do, your stuff will be found lying around in places where it is not supposed to be, giving your home the typical ‘rented home’ look.
As for your kitchen, ensure that your landlord installs a decent chimney. Without one, you will see black soot accumulating sooner or later around the cooking area and it will be a no-win situation for both you and your landlord.
At least one day before you move in, get the floor cleaned and if it is too dirty, get it acid washed. Additionally, get a round of pest control done through a reputed company. Doing this in an empty home is better as you can reach into every crevice and corner, and further, your kids don’t suffer the inconvenience and the poisonous fumes.
You may also want to get the curtains resized according to the window dimensions of the new home in advance so that they are ready to go from day one. If your curtains are ready when you move in, they will define your home’s colour theme. Further, if you are intending on getting new ones without spending a lot, you can look at some of the readymade ones available in the market.
Colour coordinating your abode
With the colour theme defined, decide on the bed linens. Your existing sets of linen will mostly do, however look at adding small cushions in different finishes and colours to either merge with, or to contrast with the colour theme. Once you are done, start adding other things to help enhance your home.
l Walls: Look at highlighting one of the walls of each room, including the living room, in line with the colour theme. You can do this by painting, wallpapers, wall hangings and photo frames. Wallpaper and paint may sound difficult but nowadays, it does not take more than a few hours to do up a single wall and it is not too expensive. Just this single investment will go a long way in adding a fair degree of the desired warmth to the new home.
l Shelves: Depending on the space available, you can look at adding designer shelves for showpieces or books on the other walls. Today, there is a wide range of shelves available to purchase online as well.
l Rugs and mats: You can add a touch of luxury to your floor by placing rugs and mats, especially the ones that go with your colour theme. With Bengaluru’s weather, you can have the rugs on all year.
However, be careful not to overdo it since rugs everywhere may make the space look smug and small.
l Lighting: To most people, lighting means having just enough light to read. Depending on the living space, proper lighting can either make the place feel warm or full of energy and affect the mood of the inhabitants accordingly. Although you many not be able to change the light fittings that the landlord has given, you can enhance the same by changing to warm white LED/ CFL bulbs, and also keep floor and table lamps. By adding dimmers to your lamps, you can adjust the brightness of the light and keep it in line with the mood you want to set and the time of the day.
Do also remember that yellow lighting, also called warm white, will make the space feel comforting, while white light will make it feel more efficient. In well-designed homes, as a result, you will find warm white in the living rooms and white in the study.
l Greenery: Plants, both indoors and outdoors, add colour as well as style to the living space. If you have the luxury of a large balcony or a terrace, take help of the local nursery to identify the right plants that will thrive in the given space based on the direction of the sun. Have a combination of flowering, fragrant and fruit-bearing varieties. There are a number of different plants that one can keep inside the home - bamboo, herbs and ferns can be arranged in regular pots as well as in vertical stacks. Some of these indoor plants also have air purification properties ensuring good health, along with a plush look.
l Doors: If your rented place is passing its middle age, then the doors will mostly have a worn-down look. One may feel that not much can be done about it – nevertheless there is still hope. Scrub the doors with a good cleaner and you will not believe the years of accumulated dirt that will come off them. The resultant clean and catchy doors will bring in a substantial change to the overall look of the home.
Once you are through with the above changes you will surely have a place to call your own. You will also hopefully have a long enough rental contract to ensure that you enjoy it for a long time to come.
(The author is an interior designer and founder of The Studio, Bengaluru)