Are you maximising returns from your property investment?

You’ve bought an investment property, so now you can sit back and watch those returns roll in, right?

It’s not quite as easy as that. Up to 80% of property investors don’t take full advantage of tax depreciation. Ignore the details of what you can claim, and you could leave up to $15,000 on the table each financial year. That could slow the growth of your investment portfolio, or cost you an annual family holiday.

The low-down on tax depreciation schedules

The good news is it’s easy to become depreciation-savvy. With quality data and the right paperwork in place, you’ll get more cash back in your pocket each financial year.

Nathan King, National Director Advisory from Acumentis Property Valuers says the best way to maximise your investment is to have a qualified quantity surveyor prepare a detailed Tax Depreciation Schedule.

This is a 40-year forecast prepared by experienced quantity surveyors and property valuers who know property and buildings inside and out. The schedule lists every depreciable item, including the building costs and asset values of your property and their depreciation through wear and tear.

“The Tax Depreciation Schedule covers Capital Works –– the bricks and mortar, foundations, walls, roofs and fixed items like doors and windows. And Plant and Equipment –– the easily removable items, like carpets, blinds, air-conditioning, ceiling fans and kitchen appliances”, King explains.

A depreciation schedule will outline any building works undertaken on a property and their costs.

Tax depreciation misconceptions

Many investors miss vital depreciation opportunities and lose thousands. You might be losing easy cash because of one of these common misconceptions:

  • You think your property is too old, any investment property built after 1987 can attract deductions.
  • You assume you can’t claim for renovations completed by the previous owner, you can! When you purchased the property, you purchased the entitlement to claim depreciation on these improvements.
  • You think your property is too small to make a depreciation schedule worthwhile. Small apartments have many depreciable items including common areas like pools, gyms and entertaining spaces
  • You’ve lost ground by not having a schedule in place sooner and think it’s too late to start. The good news is you can claim for back dated depreciation so it’s not too late, start saving today.
  • You think your accountant will take care of tax depreciation for your investment property. A tax depreciation schedule must be prepared by a registered quantity surveyor and with an experienced property valuer undertaking the inspection they’ll make sure all the depreciable Items in your property are listed.

A Tax Depreciation Schedule report will be based on your property’s type, age and historical construction allowances.

“When you give this report to your accountant, you can claim all the depreciation allowances you’re entitled to. It’s an ongoing tax deduction over a period of time, and will reduce your payable tax and increase money in your pocket,” King says.

Maximise your property investment returns

Whether it’s tax depreciation schedules, capital gains tax valuations or self-managed super fund property assessments, it’s more important than ever to get professional advice.

“The government has in place various incentives running until 2023 that may mean depreciation deductions can be increased. The intricate details of these deductions may not be known by your accountant,” King warns.

Avoid paying more tax than you need by having the tax deductions for your investment property outlined for your accountant.

“A Tax Depreciation Schedule helps with your cash flow,” he says. “At Acumentis, we provide your accountant the information they need to use recognised best practice acceleration techniques and take advantage of any legislative changes, which means you’ll maximise depreciation deductions sooner. You’ll free up more cash and can build your property portfolio faster.”

One schedule lasts the life of an investment. You need only update a Tax Depreciation Schedule if you make extensive renovations or have additional costs. Allowing experts to do the legwork for you now will pay big dividends over the life of your investment.

Schedules cover all property types, including agricultural, residential and commercial.

And the icing on the cake? The fee for a Tax Depreciation Schedule is 100% tax-deductible itself.

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How to keep the cold out of your home this winter…

How to keep the cold out of your home this winter

As the temperature drops, it’s tempting to head straight for the heater. However, with the cost of warming our homes increasing, it’s important to use your heater as efficiently as possible to keep the warmth inside and the cold out.

While older models of heaters may not be heating your home as economically as newer models, it’s actually poor insulation that compounds the problem even more. Warmth may escape out the roof as heat rises, drawing cool air in under doors and through cracks. The more draughty the home, the harder your heater works.

“Insulation should be the first thing considered before purchasing a heater,” says Luke Walker, NSW and ACT state manager for Rinnai.

Interior of a bedroom with modern furniture.
Double-glazing windows can help ensure heat doesn’t escape. Photo: iStock

When renovating, batts can be placed behind walls and under flooring and roofs. Heat also escapes through single-pane windows, which double-glazing can help to combat. If a renovation isn’t on the cards or you’re renting, try thick curtains to help trap escaping heat. Adding a door snake and rugs for extra comfort can also warm up a space.

“If the insulation is poor, you may never achieve the desired temperature,” Walker says.

Upgrade your ducting

If your ducting is more than 15 years old, consider replacing it. Older ducting could have leaks, restrict airflow, or trap mould or dust. Today’s ducting is also more energy-efficient.

“The Australian standards for ducting are much better these days. So even a small change like upgrading ductwork can make a big difference to the performance and efficiency of your overall system,” Walker says.

Install smart technology

With an app on your phone and the use of Wi-Fi, smart technology can program your heating to be on so your home is toasty and warm when you arrive. It’s also handy to check it’s been turned off when you leave.

“The homeowner can turn the gas log fireplace or ducted gas heater on and off from anywhere in the world,” Walker says.

Woman dressed in green sweater regulating heating temperature with a modern wireless thermostat and smart phone at home. Synchronization of thermostat with mobile devices concept
Using smart technology can save you money when it comes to heating your home Photo: iStock

Running a bath, washing your hands or having a shower no longer wastes water while it heats up, or requires you to adjust the taps. Smart technology has even made its way to the hot water heater in the form of Rinnai Smartstart, which has hot water ready in the pipes for when you need it.

“You have fast hot water, at the right temperature, without wasting any water,” Walker says.

Find the right heater for your space

As the temperature plummets in places like the Southern Highlands of NSW, heating becomes an essential part of daily life.

“We have ducted gas heating that warms the whole house on those chilly winter days here in the highlands,” says retiree Carolyn McGregor in Bowral. “I love it.”

Ducted natural gas heating systems are a very effective way to heat the home.

A gas-fired furnace heats the air when required. The high-efficiency heat exchanger then distributes the warm air through the home via insulated ductwork in the ceiling or under the floor. Hydronic heating systems work in a similar way and can be just as efficient.

“Ducted gas heaters work extremely well in very cold climates,” Walker says.

Gas-flued heaters are great for anyone with allergies or asthma. The heater sends any gas fumes outside the home.

Wooden table on carpet in african living room interior with patterned cushions on grey sofa. Real photo
The living room is the most efficient room in which to install a natural gas heater. Photo: iStock

“We also have a wood fire. But as we get older, we’re looking at replacing it with a gas log fire. So, we still get the ambience and warmth of a fireplace without the hard work,” McGregor says.

Natural gas log fires can look very realistic and, instead of chopping wood, can be conveniently turned on at the switch of a button or via an app.

Saving energy with heating

Heating can chew through your energy budget, but there are ways to save. Gas heaters and hot water systems use a simple star rating system to measure efficiency and emissions. The higher the star rating, the more efficient the unit is to run, which means lower energy bills.

Gas-boosted solar hot water systems are among the most efficient hot water systems on the market. Solar heats your cold water, and if the water is still not hot enough, the gas booster heats it that little bit more.

The efficiency of these products is measured in STCs (Small-scale Technology Certificates). Like the star system, the higher the STC rating, the more efficient the system, and the lower the running cost.

Walker says it’s “perfect for your hip pocket and great for the environment.”

Stamp duty catch: what happens when it’s time to sell?

Stamp duty catch: what happens when it’s time to sell?

6 tricks to make any small room feel much bigger….

6 tricks to make any small room feel much bigger

When decorating small houses or rooms, the last thing we want is to make the space feel pokey. Luckily, design experts have a bunch of tips and tricks up their sleeves to help any compact space seem larger than it is.

Trick 1: Use cool colours

One of interior designer Meredith Lee’s main principles when working with small spaces is to favour a cool colour palette over a warm one.

interior designer Meredith Lee favours a cool palette of blues and greens for small spaces. Photo: Elizabeth Schiavello

“If you use blues or greens the walls feel like they’re moving backwards, whereas if you use warmer colours on the walls – like oranges, yellows, pinks – the room will feel smaller,” she says.

Justine Lanigan, interior stylist at Destijl, likes to use bold, bright colours in her work but is careful to offset vibrant hues when working with small spaces.

“As long as everything is not colour,” she says. “Choose a neutral colour to balance it,” she says.

Trick 2: Keep things off the floor

Touted for their many health benefits, indoor plants have returned to our homes with a vengeance. Styling: The Real Estate Stylist
Furniture that sits up off the ground will give the illusion of more space. Styling: The Real Estate Stylist. Photo: Shannon McGrath

If space is limited, the experts recommend steering away from furniture that sits low to the ground.

“I’d be using a sofa that has small, maybe timber-turned legs so it sits up off the ground, so there’s a sense of space underneath the sofa,” says interior designer Annie Bowen.

Hanging plants, as opposed to pots that sit on the floor, can also free up floor space and help create a sense of height.

On that note, if you have the ceiling space you could take things up a level (literally) and install a loft bed that allows space underneath for other activities – as Tiny Away has done with its tiny houses.

“How we actually make good use of [the] space is by creating a loft where we can throw in a queen-sized bed so that we maximise the floor space,” says Tiny Away co-founder Jeff Yeo.

Trick 3: Hero one main item

Go bold with a colourful artwork or couch. Interior styling by Justine Lanagan. Photo: Armelle Habib

While it might seem like a daring move to put a large item in a compact space, decorating a small room with a variety of small items can make it feel cramped.

“You can actually make it a little bit fun by adding a big piece, a statement piece,” says Yeo. “That gives it a little bit more vibrancy.”

“Whether it’s artwork or whether it’s a big couch … make one thing the feature,” agrees Lanigan. “And usually I would do that in a bold colour.”

Lanigan adds that the bed linen can become the hero in a small bedroom where you can’t fit a large bed (or even a bedhead).

Trick 4: Go for a large rug

A cute apartment interior
Opting for a small rug can actually make a room feel much smaller. Photo: iStock

It might seem counterintuitive, but the designers say putting a small rug in a small room is a mistake.

“One thing people tend to do is buy a small rug, which visually makes the room feel smaller,” says Lee. “A larger rug that fills up the space of a room will help make a room feel larger. Putting a rug under furniture is really important to make the room feel comfortable visually.”

Trick 5: Create depth through texture and lighting

Mix different textures in cushions and upholstery to create visual interest. Interior styling by Justine Lanagan. Photo: Stephanie Rooney

Having too many elements in a room can feel crowded and distracting, but too much sameness can create visual flatness.

“While not having lots of clutter, you still need to catch your eye in a room so you don’t kind of sum up the room all at once,” explains Lee. “In a lounge room, you might have different textures in the cushions or the upholstery … things that your eye can rest on.”

Using different lighting options – including sconce lamps and table lamps – can also help create depth and bring life to areas of dead space.

Trick 6: Get creative with storage space

Storage is key when it comes to creating more space in a kitchen. Annie Bowen interior design. Photo: Sue Stubbs

In smaller kitchens, cabinetry can be taken all the way up to the ceiling to maximise storage space, and island benches can be exploited for their storage potential.

Bowen, who frequently works with custom joinery experts Blum when improving storage in smaller homes, suggests putting shelves or drawers in odd-shaped areas (like alcoves) to help stow items such as linen and placemats.

Both Yeo and Bowen are also big fans of installing drawers in the cavity space underneath the stairs.

“On a Friday afternoon when you don’t want school shoes lying around there’s somewhere to put them, and then they’re easily accessible on a Monday morning when [the kids] are off to school,” Bowen says.

7 ways to make your rental more energy-efficient….

You want to play your part in reducing emissions and improving energy efficiency, but there isn’t much you can do on the home front because you live in a rental, right?

Not so fast. While renters aren’t in a position to build a brand-new passive house or retrofit the place with all-electric appliances, there are plenty of actions you can take to improve your home’s sustainability. And, considering that around a third of Australians are currently renting their homes, these actions can make a difference in our collective effort to reach zero emissions.

1. Start with the basics
There are the basic lifestyle changes and behaviours that most of us are already aware of but might need to be reminded about.

Turning off lights and appliances at the wall when you’re not using them.
Closing doors of unused rooms when running heaters or airconditioning.
Making use of curtains and blinds to keep warmth in or heat out.
Washing clothes on windy or sunny days so you can dry them on the washing line instead of using a dryer.
Loading your dishwasher and washing machine to full capacity before turning them on.
Composting via a backyard or countertop compost bin.
Wash clothes on windy or sunny days so you can dry them on the washing line instead of using a dryer.

2. Investigate government initiatives
If you’ve ever had someone knock on your door and offer to change your light bulbs, you might be aware that across the country there are various programs where qualified tradespeople provide and install products that improve your home’s energy efficiency. These programs extend to renters.

“This is actually a system where there’s an energy efficiency target and energy businesses are required to contribute towards meeting energy efficiency targets,” says Dean Lombard, senior energy analyst at Renew.

Depending on which state you live in, you might be able to have LED light globes, draught-stoppers, weather seals, water-efficient showerheads, standby power controllers and ceiling insulation installed free of charge.

Depending on which state you live in, you might be able to have LED light globes installed for free. Photo: RT Edgar
“That all saves energy, reduces emissions, saves you money … and people can do that themselves, too. I’ve done it myself in previous rental houses,” Lombard says.

Several of these changes don’t require your landlord’s permission, though you should always check with your property manager or find out the laws specific to your local area before making any changes.


3. Cover up your windows
Curtains, which renters usually don’t need permission to install, can make a big difference to insulation and draught-sealing (buildings can lose up to a quarter of their heat through not being sealed properly). And while replacing your rental windows with a triple- or double-glazed option may not be on the cards, renters can use stick-on glazing film to improve the thermal performance of a window.

4. Monitor your energy usage
Lombard also suggests using an energy monitoring device such as a Power Pal that helps track electricity usage and shows how much each of your appliances is contributing to energy bills.

5. Switch to a reverse-cycle unit
When it comes to heating, Lombard recommends using a reverse-cycle unit rather than ducted or gas heating where you have the choice. He also points out that Victoria has just passed a law requiring all landlords to install heating in their rental properties — meaning some tenants might be in a position to suggest that their landlord installs a split system for its superior energy efficiency.

Ask your landlord to install a split system for its superior energy efficiency.

6. Talk to your landlord
On that note, having a conversation with your property manager or landlord about making more drastic changes to improve energy efficiency may be worth it.

“Some tenants we’ve spoken to have had good results from talking with their landlord about installing some appliances or installing insulation,” Lombard says. “I knew a guy … who had a chat with the landlord about installing solar panels and they agreed to contribute some of the cost, and the landlord did it. So, it really depends on how good you are at having those sorts of conversations and how receptive the landlord is to it.”

If approaching your landlord, it might bolster your case to mention any relevant government programs or schemes that offer rebates for homeowners transitioning to more energy-efficient options.

Curtains can make a big difference to insulation and draught-sealing.


7. Choose a green energy provider
If your landlord won’t come to the sustainability party or you feel limited by your rental status, Lombard says you can perform an altruistic and empowering act by purchasing GreenPower from your energy provider. It won’t reduce your energy bills, but it will help generate more renewable energy and contribute to a greener future.

5 tips that every new homeowner should know…

5 tips that every new homeowner should know

BPAY logo

Congratulations, you’ve bought a new home! Enjoy the ride, but remember these golden tips to avoid an overwhelming situation.

Start off on the right foot in your new home by understanding a few tricks of the trade, so to speak.

From creating a foolproof bill paying system to getting to know your neighbours, we asked a few home owners for their best tips for getting settled without angst.

1. Create a system to pay your bills

You may be used to having funds debited from your account – your rent, your streaming services, your phone bill, your gym – but when you buy a home, a few more (rather large) bills start coming your way such as insurance, water, gas and electricity.

Using BPAY to pay bills can help you avoid having unexpected direct debits coming out of your account. Picture: Pexels

You’ll want to set up a secure and reliable system to keep these sorted to avoid getting caught out when it’s debit day – as sometimes, unfortunately, bills can come when you least expect it.

BPAY® is an easy and convenient way pay your bills and stay in control of them. You may recognise the BPAY logo on the bills you receive from utilities companies or your phone bills. It allows you to make secure payments from your preferred account and even lets you schedule your payment on a date that works for you such as after pay day, as long as you pay by the due date.*

“I feel that it’s an easy way to stay in control of my bill payments,” south Sydney homeowner, Alice, shares. “And it’s secure because BPAY doesn’t receive any of your personal details or account details during the payment process.”

You can pay with BPAY directly from your mobile or internet banking platform; you’ll just need to input your Customer Reference Number, the company’s Biller Code and the Amount, which should be provided on your bill. Too easy.

2. Get to know your neighbours

Whether you absolutely love your neighbours or you barely tolerate each other, don’t underestimate how beneficial it can be to have friends in close quarters.

Friendly neighbours provide an extra layer of security. Picture: Getty

Depending on how long you plan to stay put, your neighbours could be in your life for decades. It helps to be friendly, not only because you’re bound to need a favour from them at some point, but because it creates a nicer environment for everyone to live in.

3. Prepare for emergencies

Whether you previously rented or lived with your parents, you’re probably used to having someone else arrange the handiwork when things go wrong. If this is your first home purchase, it may come as a shock when you suddenly need a plumber because your drains are blocked or you need a wasps nest removed from your entryway.

First of all, don’t forget to buy insurance. Secondly, have some reliable contacts ready to go for plumbing, electric, gas or any other round-the-house jobs that you manage by yourself.

4. Start practicing your handy skills

Further to that last point, you’ll suddenly find yourself needing to do chores you’d never even heard of.

From caulking gaps in your windows to finding the studs in your walls, you’ll need to expand your home care know-how. While you can always hire someone to help, there’s no time like the present to learn a few DIY fix-it skills for jobs that don’t mandate a professional hand.

Buying your own home also means buying a bunch of tools and equipment you never knew you needed. Picture: Getty

You may even find yourself making some entirely new purchases, like ladders and lawn mowers.

“I’d always lived in the city, so I’d never mowed a lawn until we moved to Bowral [regional NSW],” shares first-time homeowner Emily. “I think you can buy electric lawn mowers now, but mine isn’t. So, I learned all the fussy tricks, like not mixing fuel and oil, knowing when the engine is flooded and so on. The mowing part is easy!”

5. Actually check your mail

There’s a lot of junk mail going around. With most communication moving online, catalogues and vouchers may even be the only mail you get.

However, every now and then, something important slips through among the junk. This could be council notification of roadworks, plans for new developments, or a heads-up that electricity maintenance is happening in your area. Miss a council notice and next thing you know an airport is moving in next door.

Speaking of councils, don’t forget to check and change your voter registration to your new address.

*Scheduled payments are subject to systems and funds availability. The BPAY Scheme is managed by BPAY Pty Ltd. BPAY Payments are offered by over 150 BPAY Scheme members. When you use BPAY the BPAY Scheme is paid fees relating to processing costs and BPAY Scheme membership. Contact your financial institution to see if it offers BPAY and to get the terms and conditions. Any financial product advice provided by BPAY Pty Ltd in relation to BPAY payment products is general advice only and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs.  Before acting on such advice, you should review the Product Disclosure Statement and consider whether BPAY payment products are appropriate for your personal circumstances.


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How to avoid capital gains tax (CGT) when selling a property…

What is Capital Gains tax?

When you have an asset, such as an investment property, when it comes to selling you may find that you have made either a capital gain or a capital loss.

A capital loss is when you have sold your investment property for less than you bought it for.

While a capital gain occurs when you have been fortunate enough to have sold your investment property for more than you paid for it.

But before you crack open the most expensive champagne, in this case, you need to consider capital gains tax.

According to the Australian Taxation Office capital gains tax is the tax you pay on profits such as selling property. And it has to be paid in the financial year that the property was sold.

When do you have to pay Capital Gains Tax on a property?

Not every property incurs capital gains tax when it is sold for a profit.

If it is your own that you live in then you are home free, with no capital gains tax occurring.

Also if you have bought the property before September 20, 1985, it does not incur capital gains tax.

However if it is an investment property that has been sold for a profit then capital gains tax applies.

This includes rental properties, holiday houses, hobby farms, vacant land and business premises.

Properties that are flipped – renovated and sold without being your main residence – are also up for capital gains tax.

How is Capital Gains Tax calculated on property?

The capital gains tax in Australia is calculated by treating the net capital gain on the property as taxable income in the year that you sold your property.

The first step then is to record what you received when you sold the property. If you decide to give away the apartment to a relative or friend, take note that the market value of the property is what is considered as the sale price – in order to work out the net capital gain.

When working out how much you paid for the property remember to include not just the sale price, but also other costs that come with buying a house or unit such as the cost of transfer, stamp duty and borrowing expenses such as a loan application fee.

How to avoid Capital Gains Tax

It is important to remember that there are ways – all very legal – to also avoid capital gains tax on your investment property along with minimising the amount you pay. We now explain the ways to do this.

Wait for one year

When you own a property for at least 12 months then you can reduce your capital gains tax by fifty per cent. This is a substantial amount, however it applies only when an individual owns a property rather than a company. It also applies only to Australian residents.

Use the main residence exemption

The capital gains tax only applies to investment properties – that is ones that you make money out of. So generally this means that if the property is your home, then it is exempt from this tax.

There are conditions to consider however, to make sure it fits into this category. Firstly the home has to have been your place of residence for you and your family. If it has been an investment property for some of the time that you own it, then it doesn’t fit this exemption.

Also it is important to be able to prove that the home has not been used for making any income. For example it can’t be a home that along with renting out, you have not been using it as a business.

Use the temporary absence rule

If you move out of your former home it can also be exempt from capital gains tax. You can treat the property as your main residence indefinitely.

Or if you initially buy it and then rent it out it can be considered under the temporary absence rule for up to six years. If you then move back into the property within the six years then it can be treated as your main residence for another six years.

It is important to remember that no other property can be treated as the main residence for tax purposes during that time.

Get the property reassessed before renting it out

If you are renting out a room in your home, you will also be required to pay tax on the rental income.

However the capital gains tax will only be due for the period that the room is rented out – and therefore producing an income.

In such a case it is worth getting the property valued before you start to rent out the room.

Invest in superannuation

Another way to minimise capital gains tax on your investment property is if it has been acquired under a self-managed super fund.

Self-managed super funds receive a discount of one third on capital gains tax, the standard tax rate for funds is 15 percent, which means that the maximum capital gains tax is 10 per cent. This is likely to be lower than many people’s marginal tax rate.

6 creative ways to decorate your rental property….

Make your rental property feel like home with expert tips from an interior stylist. 

Just because you’re renting doesn’t mean your home can’t look like your own. While you may not be able to lay your own floorboards or paint the walls (unless you have a very accommodating landlord), you can still style your space to make it look and feel like you.

 1. Pick a style theme

“Choosing a style or aesthetic that continues throughout the house makes a really big difference,” Eve finds.

“Whether that’s coastal, Scandinavian, modern or monochrome, just following it throughout the entire house makes it all come together and feel like a complete space.”

Carrying a theme throughout your home will make it all come together. Picture: Stayc Connolly Photography

Having a strong sense of theme as opposed to a fragmented collection of furniture and ‘stuff’, can make a temporary home look like your forever home.

2. Style-up your tech and appliances

When you have limited control over the larger style features of your home, it can pay to take extra care when choosing any items within your control.

For instance, avoid plonking a clunky, black TV in the middle of your living room when you can opt for something sleek and stylish.


Long gone are the days of a boring TV! Picture: Stayc Connolly Photography

Samsung’s The Serif QLED 4K Smart TV was created with style in mind, in a collaboration with famed Paris-based modern furniture designers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec. Its iconic I-shape profile and 360-degree design means it’s beautiful from every angle, giving you the freedom to place it virtually anywhere in your living space.

“It can save you money on a TV cabinet because it has its own legs,” Eve says of the Samsung The Serif TV.

“It’s also a good TV for renters because it’s easy to style, move and use in your bedroom or lounge room. It can sit on most surfaces because it’s so slimline.”

3. Cover your floors

Whether you have floorboards, tiles or carpet, it can help to invest in rugs to cover it up.

Rugs can help cover your floor and create zones for different living areas. Picture: Unsplash

Not only will a rug protect the flooring underneath (adding an extra layer of security for your bond), but it can help define a space and lift its appearance.

“Rugs can help zone certain spaces,” Eve says.

“For instance, if you have an open-plan living and dining room, you can use a different rug in each space to create more of a zoned area.”

4. Create warm lighting

While you can’t alter the lights themselves in your rental, you can find alternative solutions. To start, consider swapping any cool-coloured, fluorescent globes for something warmer in living spaces.

Don’t have a dimmer switch? Use lamps, Eve suggests.

“You never know what you’re going to get in a rental in terms of the ceiling lighting,” she adds. “At night, you can use table or floor lamps, any sort of lighting that creates a bit of ambience.”

5. Hang wall art

“Art plays a major role in adding your personality to a space and bringing it to life,” Eve notes.

When it comes to styling wall art, she says the positioning and even type of art can depend on the space available.

Add some interest to those white walls with some art. Picture: Stayc Connolly Photography

“It depends on the size and scale of the room and your furniture,” she begins.

“But as a rule, it often works to hang one big piece above your bed or couch. If you have a hallway, you could do more of a gallery wall. With smaller pieces too, you can use the removable, sticky hooks.”

Before hanging any art, check with your landlord as to what you’re allowed to do. While adhesive hooks provide an option for many, if you want to hang anything heavier, you will need permission before you start drilling into the walls.

If you’re unable to hang art in your home, look for products that can inject personality to the space. For instance, The Serif’s Ambient Mode can transform your TV screen into a beautitful display when you’re not watching it*.

6. Add a few plants

Finally, Eve says plants give a rental a more home-like feel. Not only have indoor plants been proven to elevate your mood, but they have a decorative element that will pretty-up any space.

If you’re new to indoor plants, be sure to consult with an expert before purchasing. Seek advice for the best plants for your space (bedroom, bathroom, low-light, bright light etc.), lifestyle (is the plant poisonous to pets?) and experience level (opt for a hardy species if you’re going to forget to water it).

“Whether real or faux, a bit of greenery can bring a space to life,” Eve says.