5 ways to make a rented space feel like your own

Amanda T. Lago
5 ways to make a rented space feel like your own

Photo by Martin San Diego/Rapple

Turn your rental into a dream home with these designer-recommended tricks

MANILA, Philippines – Rented spaces can easily feel generic and dorm-like, but with a few clever tricks, they can actually feel more like the home you’ve always dreamt of living in.

At the launch of SM Home’s “Essentials of Condo Living” series, Cebu-based architect and interior designer Maya Franco told Rappler that there are many ways to work around the limitations of living in a rented space.

Here are her top tips for those who want to make their rented spaces a little more cozy.

Buy ready-made, mobile furniture

Maya suggests choosing ready-made furniture that you don’t have to mount to a wall or install anywhere – better if they come with wheels.

“These are things that after you rent, you can take with you wherever you move to next,” she said.

STAY MOBILE. For renters, Maya suggests using furniture pieces that can be easily moved, such as this kitchen island on wheels, which Maya used in the kitchen she designed for SM Home's Design Series. Photo by Martin San Diego/Rappler

Don’t forget the artwork

Artwork ups the style factor of any space, and while you may not be able to hammer hooks into your landlord’s walls, you can still find creative ways to display art.

“Artwork doesn’t have to be attached to the wall, you can put it on top of a TV console or things like that,” she said.

Get colorful – with or without paint!

Maya highly recommends painting – if there’s even the slightest chance that your landlord may agree to a wall color makeover, go for it. But if the landlord won’t budge, you can still wash your space in your favorite hue through the accessories you use.

“To maximize the impact, repeat the colors everywhere. If you have orange throw pillows for example, also have an orange-framed mirror. Repeating or picking up the colors maximizes the impact so when you go in, the color pops out,” she shared.

Create a theme around existing furniture

Most rentals come semi- or fully-furnished, so residents will have to bring in a bit of imagination to create a coherent theme around furniture that may or may not suit their personalities.

Again, Maya says that accessories hold the power.

“f you’re lucky and the furniture is very basic, then it’s easy to create a theme. If you’re a traveler, you can put accessories that reflect that,” she said. “If the existing furniture is kind of eclectic or [doesn’t match], then that’s more of a challenge, but there are ways around it. As long as [the] accessories you add in there is cohesive, then [they can help draw the eye away from the furniture].”

COVER UP. Slipcovers and pillowcases come in a variety of fabrics and colors – one of them is bound to suit your style. Photo courtesy of SM Home

If all else fails, cover up

You don’t have to endure the sight of your rental’s tacky furnishings every day. If your landlord allows you to paint some of the furniture at least, you should do it. “Something can look really ugly, but if you paint it with a funky color, it sort of gives it new life,” Maya said. If that is out of the question, slipcovers and fabric would work just as well.

“You can choose the color of fabric right, plus you can [wash] it!” Maya said.


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Amanda T. Lago

After avoiding long-term jobs in favor of travelling the world, Amanda finally learned to commit when she joined Rappler in July 2017. As a lifestyle and entertainment reporter, she writes about music, culture, and the occasional showbiz drama. She also hosts Rappler Live Jam, where she sometimes tries her best not to fan-girl on camera.