Five easy ways to transform your rented home without spending a fortune

Decorating hacks for renters that make a big difference without breaking the bank

Here in the UAE, many of us rent our homes, and, as such, we put decorating on the back burner. But here at B Living UAE, we think it’s important to feel good in your home, and just because you’re renting doesn’t mean you can’t make your house a home. Of course, if you’re not planning on sticking around for the long haul, we know that keeping costs low is important, that’s why we caught up with the founder of affordable interior design service, Click Bayt, Holly Castro to get her top tips on transforming your rented villa or apartment.

Change the power socket covers

Metallic plug sockets
Plug sockets can make a big difference. Image via Instagram @welcome__inside

While you may need to ask your landlord’s permission, this is something extremely affordable but will make a strong impact on the design of your home. If you’re okay with a trip to Dragon Mart, you will find many shops selling all kinds of styles for as little as Dhs20 per socket. Just make sure you count every single light switch and power socket before you go to save two trips!

Change the ceiling lights in each room

Pendant lights
Pendant lights can make an inexpensive statement. Image via Instagram @_homeatno25

If your home has spotlights all over, then you’re fine, but most rental properties have traditional ceiling pendants or chandeliers in place. A quick fix to keep the whole style of each room unified is to change these to match the look you’re going for with the rest of the room. Again, this doesn’t have to be expensive with a broad collection of ceiling lights stocked at high street brands like IKEA, Home Centre, Home Box, Pan Emirates and Luxxe Lighting.

Change cupboard handles

Wardrobe handles
Handles are a great way to make an impact. Image via Instagram @brightonabode

If you have built-in wardrobes or standalone pieces of furniture from the likes of IKEA, one way to spice up the design without breaking the bank is to change the handles. You can even change the handles on your kitchen cupboards quickly without causing any irreversible damage. Again, head to Dragon Mart or look online on Amazon and you will find an endless selection to suit the rest of your design. Just remember to measure your handles beforehand so you buy ones that perfectly fit, as the range of sizes can be overwhelming, especially if you’re looking online.

Invest in large rugs

Blue and white rug from Weave Factory
Cover up unsightly tiles with large rugs. Image via Instagram @weavefactory

One of the most undesirable aspects of rental properties is the flooring. Especially in Dubai where every place seems to have the same tiled floor! It can really throw off your design and be the main thing that your eyes are drawn to when you walk into the home. While covering the floor completely is out of the question for most budgets, you can help make it look better by investing in large area rugs. Our favorite shops for rugs are Home Centre, Abrash Carpets, Luxxe Home and the likes of smaller homegrown brands such as The Weave Factory. Large rugs can be quite expensive so take note of when these shops are having seasonal or clearance sales to save yourself some dirhams! Another tip is to keep your rugs neutral so that if you want to change the design or color palette of the rest of the room at a later stage you can do so without having to re-invest in another expensive rug.

Repaint the walls

Grey wall in house number 10
Neutral colours are a fail safe way to make impact. Image via Instagram @housenumber10

This may sound like an obvious one, but many people don’t want to spend money repainting a home they don’t own. However, if you’re planning on staying in your rental property for a couple of years, it’s definitely worth repainting the walls in a color that goes with the rest of your home design. Keep the color neutral such as an off-white or a pale gray and that way you will not need to repaint over bright colors when you decide to leave. You can get a professional team to repaint your property at an affordable rate and you’ll instantly notice a difference when the commonly used magnolia cream wall color is gone!

With these affordable and quick fixes, you will be able to add an extra touch of homely-ness to your house without having to use up too much of your hard-earned savings in the process. Add these into the mix and you’ll instantly see your interiors improve, taking away the feel of being in a rented apartment and creating a scroll-stopping home at a price you feel comfortable with.

And if you’re considering hanging some art to brighten up your rented apartment, read a local art expert’s tips for choosing the right pieces

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