With 7 million Australians renting and a third of those people doing so for the flexibility it allows, this presents a serious interior design challenge. We spoke to The Block star Darren Palmer about the changing face of the Australian renter and he also revealed his top interior tips for renters.
“With the property market becoming increasingly difficult to break into, renting is a more realistic option for a lot of people. Equally though, renting used to be something you did until you bought a house but now, it’s something that plenty of people are doing by choice,” says Darren who says many people choose to own their own property but rent in a more desirable area as it allows them flexibility to travel without the weight of a mortgage and also to be able to move on a whim.
But what are the key concerns for renters when looking for a rental? “You want to find something that’s comfortable, homely and in a quiet area in a desirable location. You want to consider whether the rental has enough floor space and whether the layout works for you. For instance, will your furniture fit? You should also consider whether the electrical and data points are where you want them to be, look at the available light and the noise in the district,” says Darren.
From hanging artwork, photographs and new curtains to changing light fixtures, installing rugs and painting, there are myriad options for the renter looking to upgrade their home’s interior.
“Painting the walls and ceiling is a nice, quick and easy solution but I wouldn’t recommend painting woodwork as that is a lot more labour intensive,” says Darren who also imparts a word of caution on this front. “Obviously you need to ask if you can paint your rental first and if you get approval you need to discuss the value you are adding to the property. You must make sure your landlord doesn’t start charging you rent based on the improvements. When the job is done they may think they can get a renter who will pay more so you must discuss all of this before proceeding,” says Darren. In fact, you may be able to negotiate a discount on your rent for a period of time, given the value you are adding.
“Hanging artworks, changing light fittings and replacing shower heads, door handles and cabinet handles can all be easily reversed before you leave,” says Darren who has known some renters who have put floating floor boards down. “The vinyl plank, wood-look variety are easy to cut, install and lift up when you leave,” says Darren.
Another thing to consider is your rental’s internet connectivity and Darren has a solution for that too. “Optus has a great new home wireless broadband product that, unlike a fixed broadband connection, makes it easy for renters to hop online quickly,” says Darren of the small wireless device that you can unplug and take with you to the next place. “It’s ideal for renters as if you move frequently you don’t have to wait for days for the connection to take place – the internet will be up and running straight away,” says Darren.