How to personalise your rental space

How to personalise your rental space

Private Property South Africa
Sarah-Jane Meyer

There are many advantages to renting as an alternative to buying. These include living in different neighbourhoods just to find out which ones suit you best and having the landlord carry the cost of maintaining the property.

However, one of the biggest problems renters have is creating a personalised space because they can’t decorate in the usual ways, such as using paint or wallpaper.

With a bit of creative thinking, though, you can dramatically transform your rental property without forfeiting your security deposit. In some cases, you can take these upgrades with you to your next home.


Exchange your rental’s outdated drawer handles and door knobs for hardware more suited to your style.

Make sure to keep the original hardware on hand. At the end of the lease period, change it all back and take your new hardware with you.


Old lighting fixtures are inclined to reflect the old history of a home. To instantly update your space, replace your existing lighting fixtures.

  • Pendants and chandeliers add a decorative touch while providing additional lighting for smaller, darker homes.
  • Cover bare bulbs with attractive lampshades to match your moods and preferences.
  • Place floor and table lamps strategically in living areas and bedrooms.
  • Modern power point and light switch covers are available from lighting or hardware dealers. Matte covers, or those with flush buttons, will instantly make a room feel more modern. As with the door knobs, make sure you keep the old covers to replace them when it’s time to leave.


An accent wall is perfect for jazzing up a temporary space and adding colour to a home. By simply using wallpaper on one wall in a room, you can create a point of interest and make it feel more like home.

A large selection of temporary wallpaper and wall decals is available online, and they are relatively easy to install and remove when you’re done. Whether you’re looking for a simple design to add some subtle style to your space or want to make a bold statement, a renter-friendly wallpaper will enable you to get your security deposit refunded.

Indoor plants add colour, instantly making any space feel more attractive and homely. They’re also great if you’re in a flat with no garden.

If your kitchen splashbacks are just too dreadful to live with, many beautiful and temporary stickers are available online. They are easy to peel off, and a drop of eucalyptus oil will remove any sticky residue.


Masking ugly flooring is easier than you would expect.

Whether you like dramatic tile or a simple and understated feel, vinyl flooring could be the perfect upgrade.

Laying down a large carpet can add an extra element of comfort and style to a rental home. It can also be a great way to tie together all the colours and themes in the room. Be sure to choose one that complements your furniture, accessories and wall colours, and consider the room's space requirements before making your choice.


Your bed is one of the largest surface areas in the bedroom, so a new quilt, comforter or duvet cover and pillows will have an immediate impact. Treat yourself to new bed linen to personalise your bedroom, add texture and colour, and make the space feel really special.

Use colourful throws, cushions, ornaments and carpet runners to make the space reflect your style.


To soften a room or hide an ugly blind, hang some attractive curtains.

Thick textured block-out curtains or elegant sheer drapes will make an instant impression.

You can also buy temporary blinds online that will work wonders.

Updating and personalising your rental space doesn’t need to be onerous – or overly ambitious. The key is to find eye-catching materials that do no damage and, ideally, can move with you from one home to the next.

Writer: Sarah-Jane Meyer

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