7 decorating tips for first time renters

Written by Douglas Ross in Renting on July 5, 2017

7 decorating tips for first time renters

Decorating for first time renters is quite different to decorating for those who have been renting for years. Often, first time renters seek cheaper rent to allow them to afford their studies. This usually means sharing a home with so many other like-minded people to legally call themselves a commune. But beyond being the first one in the house and decorating it how you like before everyone else joins, which is sure to ruffle feathers, how do you decorate with so many different opinions flying around?

Start with your room

In a sharehouse, your room is your sanctuary. So, it makes sense to make that sanctuary a space that truly reflects your decorating tastes. How do you do this within your budget?

1. Rank the importance of different decorating approaches. This will help you identify what you are willing to spend the most money on, and what you can either leave for a later date or spend a minimal amount on. For example, if your room has floorboards and you think it will be cold underfoot in winter, then a nice rug will not only address this need but also have a major impact on the look of your room and how you experience it each day.

A bedroom with wooden floorboards that could use a rug

2. Have a caring personality? $100, spent wisely, can jumpstart the process of creating a jungle of inside plants. Be warned: make sure you buy plants that are going to survive in your home. Don’t be fooled by those ‘inside’ plants at the nursery nestled in a humid, rainforest-like corner. Unless your room has the same climate as northern Queensland – or actually is in northern Queensland – then these sorts of plants are going to be a lot harder to keep alive.

3. Have an artistic personality? Why not create some of your own art to hang on your walls? If you want something sizable, and don’t want to spend too much money on a new canvas from an art shop, check out some op shops for donated paintings on which you can paint a white background to start a new painting.

Read more about starting a share house

Shared spaces

The most important thing when decorating in a sharehouse? Communication. Get together and brainstorm ideas, while finding some common ground on some of the below:

4. Colours: While you could paint a wall with the approval of your landlord, another option is to temporarily fit one or more walls with wallpaper. It’s easy to find removable wallpaper these days, but these can be more expensive. A cheap and simple solution can be found at the supermarket. Use double-sided tape for regular wallpaper. Just make sure that the quality of the wall’s original paint is strong enough that it won’t come off with the tape.

5. Lighting: This can be an easy decorating fix. It’s hard to go too wrong when it comes to creating a well-lit space. Seek out softer, yellow globes that are energy efficient to help keep the electricity bills down. A floor lamp in a corner can do wonders to warm a room and don’t forget the strange power fairy lights have to make us feel like we’re dreaming.

6. Storage: One major issue when decorating for first time renters is space! A house full of people (and often their partners) can easily become a messy house. While your room may be your sanctuary, it doesn’t mean the living room has to look like a farm animal has gone on a rampage. It’s inevitable that one person is going to end up being the person who cleans the space more than others, so good storage solutions are the best way to keep that person happy. There’s less chance of a meltdown if there is a place for the mess to go.
Tip: a cheap storage option? Again, head down to that op shop and get yourself some old leather suitcases. Stacked next to each other, they can be a stylish decorating option, while giving you a place to store all those knick-knacks.

A living area with plenty of storage space

7. The weird and wonderful: Brainstorming with your housemates is sure to yield some strange ideas. This can be a great way to build house morale, whether it be as simple as installing a hammock in the living room (which you can easily store when not in use), creating art for the space, turning a palette into shelving by adding some extra wood, or whatever you guys can imagine!

What do you think of our decorating tips for first time renters? Did we miss anything?