Renting in a stupidly expensive city.

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There’s no doubt about it, renting sucks when you’re a hardcore nester. Even if you’re blessed with a landlord who lets you go crazy with the paint and hammer shiz into the walls, investing your own sweat and cash into someone elses’s property is depressing.

I’m a long term renter. Even though rental prices in Perth are ludicrously inflated, property prices are worse and home ownership is pretty much an unattainable goal for single income Gen-Y’ers that don’t have loads of business acumen or methamphetamine to sell. And unless you’re willing to fork out in excess of $500 a week, the chances of securing a well-maintained property with basics like security screens, air-conditioning and neutral décor are slim. So I’ve had to settle.

When it comes to older rental houses in Perth, there’s the good kind (think polished floorboards, ornamental fireplaces and cottage gardens) and the bad kind. I’ve lived in more places with rusted fittings, cracked linoleum and burnt orange tiles than I care to recall. So, if you ever find yourself in my situation, here are my top three methods of making your dodgy dwelling a more pleasant place to reside.

1)      Hide the worst bits.

Carpet is unhygienic and ugly as feck. Forget the “warmth” factor,  I’d choose bare concrete over carpet because at least you can hose it off. Unfortunately, the relative cheapness of carpet makes it the floor covering of choice in most rentals. If you can’t rip it up and burn it,  cover those blood and urine stains with a large area rug. If you want to be stylish and screw with your visitors’ heads, try a design that looks like timber flooring.

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Pack away heavy, dingy curtains (double bag those suckers to stop the dust and ugly leaking out) and replace them with a bright new set. Bonus points if you can make them yourself or bribe your mum to do it. Ditto with dated or broken light fixtures; replace these with $6 ikea paper lanterns and put the old ones back up when you leave.

2)      If you can’t hang prints, improvise.

If your landlord won’t even let you install temporary command-strips, any surface will do; desks, sideboards, chests, slow-moving pets, even the floors can showcase your art just as effectively. Grouping prints with sculptures will make you appear especially inventive and avoid the whole “too lazy to hang the pictures” vibe.

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3)      If all else fails, go with the flow.

My current kitchen is so dated that any attempt to modernise it would just look tragic, so I’ve chosen to embrace the vibe and accessorise with era-appropriate décor. These inexpensive orange accessories almost make those ugly 1970’s tiles appear a deliberate choice.

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Photos by Madame Squee

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