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Rent but Live Like You Own the Place

The rented house is not your own but the space is your home so make it enjoyable and nice for you to come to and to show off to friends and family. The 3 things you can work with without breaking the bank and your back are

1. The Lighting
Make sure that all the lights in the premises are working and everything is well insulated and not a fire hazard. If you have some iffy sockets contact your property-owner and have them rectify the faults. Or, agree with the property-owner that you will take care of the problem and knock it off the rent. Agree is the operative word here.
Do not go buying fancy sockets, chandeliers, lamps and present the property-owner with a bill. Just make sure that you have working lights and the sockets are working as they should and then buy shades, self-standing lamps and maybe a few desk lamps to bring more light in as you wish. These will be easy to pack when you move from the premises.
2. The Furnishing
Always work with the space you have. The large faux-leather sofa you saw in the furniture shop may look nice in the furniture shop but place the same one in your 3 by 3 living space and it will look ghastly. And there will be more chair than space in the room. If you have some chairs already, consider changing the upholstery.
Yes, you can reupholster furniture and no one will fault you for it. Shop around for a carpenter with upholstery skills and re do the sofa you have. If you have wooden furniture, beds, chairs and tables consider painting, staining or varnishing them to give them a new lease on life and to brighten up the rooms.
3. The Decorating
These days you can walk into a store and buy décor as it is not the preserve of the corporation or hotel lobby. Replicas of famous paintings, ceramic knick-knacks and all manner of factory churned plastic stuff are out there. The challenge is the price and your own taste.
Speaking of your own, you do not always have to buy stuff as you can find good stuff by looking in your own home. If you still use printed calendars you will know that some come with great photos so before you throw the calendar away because of the New Year; consider cutting one or two pictures out and having them framed to hang on the wall. Either buy a frame or have one made by a carpenter.
If you have children choose one painting done at pre-school, an art assignment or school’s art competition and give it pride of place in the home. You will be surprised at the cheerful and happy effect this will have, not just on the room but, also on your child.
Try not to overdo it through; as you can hang only so many pictures of your child’s hand prints or stick figures.

Balekile Gausi is a Zambian freelance writer and she is an avid bird watcher with an extraordinary fondness for chikanda (a Zambian delicatessen that vegans and non-vegans world-wide are putting on their bucket list!)