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7 Landlord-Approved Hacks to Update Your Rental Living Room

The limitations you face when renting can be frustrating, especially when your handy work will only add value to the property. But there are still plenty of renter-friendly hacks to update your living room without making an appearance in your landlord’s bad books.

From revamping window treatments and lighting fixtures, to creating open shelving without leaving a mark, here are updates that’ll make your temporary home feel much more permanent.

7 best landlord-approved hacks to update your rental living room

1. Window shopping

Not to throw shade at landlords, but ugly plastic blinds and cheap blackout curtains are unfortunately pretty common window treatment choices in rentals.

Thankfully, they’re not permanent and are usually easy to remove, so go ahead and pop them out and store them somewhere safe to swap back in at the end of your lease.

Replace whatever drab disaster dangles down your window with neutral linen curtains that pool slightly at the floor to create a bit of drama. It’s amazing how much a little texture and taste can transform a dim, dull room into a light-filled luxe space.

2. Open shelving

Another quick hack that requires little more than a safe storage spot is removing the doors of any built-in cabinets to create open shelving.

If you live in an open plan living space or a studio, chances are your kitchen cabinets are visible from the couch. Unscrew the dated or patterned cabinetry doors and immediately modernise the space while lining the newly exposed shelving with treasured trinkets and ceramic dinnerware.

3. Go green

Your landlord might’ve specified no furry pets, but they never said anything about the leafy kind.

Not only do house plants purify the air, they also inject colour, life and tranquillity into your home. Be it an unruly Monstera, classic Fiddle Leaf Fig or Devil’s Ivy cascading down a bookshelf, no living room is complete without luscious greenery. Plus, unique ceramic planters and rich terracotta pots double as functional sculptural pieces that add style to your space.

4. Mirror magic

Unless you catch your landlord in a particularly generous mood, your chances of being granted permission to knock out a living room wall to make your home feel more spacious are slim to none. But that’s where mirrors come in.

The bigger the mirror, the greater the illusion of space, and you can’t go wrong with a classic yet contemporary oversized floor mirror perched against the wall. Or, if sleek and simple isn’t really your style, opt for ornate gold frames or art-deco detailing for a more opulent look.

5. Vintage room dividers

While some of us might dream of demolition, others only contemplate construction. If you live in a studio or small apartment, you might find your sleeping, eating and lounging quarters a little too close for comfort.

Vintage room dividers are the perfect temporary fix, providing structure and privacy while also doubling as functional works of art. Whether it’s a multi-panelled French wood and cane divider from the 50’s or a sleek and simple screen, this clever hack nails both structure and style briefs.

6. Rug up

Whether it’s dated carpet dampening your aesthetic or tacky tiling causing concern, an accent rug will cure all your flooring woes. Mix patterns, colours and textures together to tie the room together in an unexpected way.

Pro tip: start with a neutral jute rug as your base layer, then add a smaller, patterned Moroccan rug on top and finish with a sheepskin for the ultimate lax-luxe aesthetic.

7. Fixture fix

Working around a loud and laughable lighting fixture is a renter’s rite of passage, but maybe it’s time to stop ignoring the elephant-sized 80’s brass chandelier in the living room. You’re going to have to call in some help from a professional handy (wo)man, but swapping out an eyesore that also doubles as the centre-point of your space is worth the investment.

You can always re-install the original when your lease is up and bring yours with you to the next abode.

If a replacement is out of the question, consider littering your living room with lamps to steal the attention away, and opt for warm-tone globes and vintage filament light bulbs to set the perfect mood.

So you're renting? Here are 10 simple decorating tips that will make your rental feel like a mansion.

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