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Seven Must-Have Homeware Items That'll Make Your Rental Apartment Feel More Like Home

Just because you don't own the walls doesn't mean you can't accessorize them.
By Stephanie Monteith
August 02, 2021
By Stephanie Monteith
August 02, 2021


in partnership with

Just because you don't own the walls doesn't mean you can't accessorize them.

They say home is where the heart is, but sometimes the task of transforming a basic rental into a place you truly love can be a battle. You can't jazz it up with wallpaper or a lick of paint or tear up that hideous lino — it's a far cry from your wildest Grand Designs dreams.

The good news is that even the blandest of apartments can become an inspiring canvas for your interior stylings — think feature pieces and flourishes, beautiful embellishments and stylish upgrades to elevate your basics. All these little touches come together to make a rental house a home. We've teamed up with American Express to give you a head start, curating the perfect collection of items to upgrade your pad.

Greater Sydney is currently under stay at home orders so, while you can't visit these shops in person, you can still show your support and purchase the items you love online. You can stay up to date with the developing COVID-19 situation in Sydney, as well as current restrictions, at NSW Health.

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    Think outside the ‘candle in an empty wine bottle aesthetic’ — it’s time to level up your hygge. Give in to the vintage 70s aesthetic and master mood lighting with a statement piece that’ll really give life to a neutral rental space. These playful-meets-functional Aeyre candlesticks look more like sculptural pieces of art than practical furnishings.

    Part of making your rental feel more like home is successfully graduating from a deep-seated fear of housemates breaking things to filling your home with stylish adult items that spark joy. There are a few unique variations on this piece to choose from — match your decor with the peachy pink Bonita, the lilac-hued Gordo or burnt brown Alto.

    Image: Cassandra Hannagan

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    It’s rarely acceptable to remove the carpet or fake parquetry lino in rented digs but you can add your personal design flourishes and cover up any threadbare patches with stylish rugs of your own choosing.

    Take ownership of your hallway with a simple Tribal Zig Zag Floor Runner from Betty and Lola. Betty and Lola trade in unique furnishings, pretty homewares and clothing. This runner is 100-percent cotton and is sure to collect compliments from your guests the next time they cross the threshold of your home.

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    Channel your inner 70s lounge lizard with this sophisticated velvet number. The Draper is an opulent piece that’s also designed with comfort in mind, with cushions of foam and duck feathers for that extra dose of downiness that you can properly sink into.

    This is where you’ll invite your guests to sit while you shake up a cocktail and the spot you’ll lounge with a book on a slow winter morning. And while our pick of the colours is the forest green (or ‘cotton velvet grass’), it’s also available in a deep grey or navy blue.

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    You spend a third of your life in bed, you might as well make it special. Upgrade to a linen sheet set that makes your bedroom look and feel like a hotel getaway every day. Nothing makes you feel more like a high functioning adult quite like good quality bedsheets. Linen is natural and biodegradable but it’s also durable and softens with age to get even comfier.

    Assembly Label’s approach to clothing design is clean, smart minimalism with an ethos of reducing environmental impact, and the same principles are pulled through to the brand’s bedding collection. Choose your size (king or queen) and colour (charcoal, silver or white), then top with a patterned throw for a pop of colour and you’re all set.

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    Your home should smell as good as it looks, so incense can help create an atmosphere that fires up all your senses in the best possible way. Crave’s clam incense holders are hand moulded from stoneware clay. They look delicate but are surprisingly strong with a non-toxic, food-safe glaze.

    Each piece is individual and unique and the perfect vessel for Crave Wares’ coastal-inspired incense collection: Byron Bay features rosalina and white cypress, the Yamba scent is an earthy cedarwood, and Margaret River is a refreshing combination of sandalwood and mandarin.

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    This vase comes from the range of signature glassware by Maison Balzac, a brand that has earned a notable cult following, and one that has found a long time home with archetypal Sydney retailer and curator of cool, Incu.

    This small opaque mint piece makes your shelf look more beautiful when holding a single stem flower, a sprig of native leaves or simply as a sculptural piece of objet d’art — no blooms necessary. And the best part is that once you fall in love with your Loulou, you can come back and complement it with carafes and candle holders.

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    When you crave the white picket fence suburban fantasy but only have a tiny balcony at your disposal, this is the barbecue for you. Forget the gas and go for true blue charcoal instead. The Napoleon Barbecue is compact, slick, efficient and perfectly engineered for all your future flame-grilled feeds.

    Invite the gang around, fire it up and it’ll sear your steaks beautifully while a temperature gauge ensures the perfect brisket every time. With a cool-touch handle and easy-clean ash catcher, this is made for great grilling in a limited rental space (where you’re still hoping to get the bond back).

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Now is the time to support the places you love. Shop small online to support the local stores that make Sydney so great. To learn about American Express and the Shop Small initiative, visit here. Then, head this way to find more must-visit spots.

Top image: Lounge Lovers

Shop Small All Around Sydney

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