Security tips for your rented home

Security tips for your rented home

October is Home Security Month, reminding us how important it is to keep our homes safe and secure, even if you’re home is rented! Sometimes it can feel like the security of your rented home is out of your hands, but there are things you can do! Read on for our top tips on how to boost security for your rented home.

#1 Insurance and Secure Entry

Make sure that all the contents in your home are covered by insurance in case the worst does happen. If you live in an apartment, you can’t control who comes in and out of the whole building, but a secure door entry system prevents unwanted people from just walking in. All of our apartments have this feature!

#2 Doors and Windows

Check your doors, windows and locks are secure and in good condition, and if they aren’t, let your landlord know! Always make sure they are locked when leaving the house; even if you’re just popping to another apartment in the same building, or even when you’re in your home, keep your doors locked. Keeping windows locked is especially important if you’re in a ground floor apartment. If your landlord permits, ask them to install a deadbolt or if you can install one yourself, they are much more secure.

#3 Alarms

Some rented homes may not have a security alarm, especially apartments, but you can buy adhesive sensors for windows and doors that detect huge vibrations such as break ins and sound an alarm. There are also now many wireless systems and monitoring cameras which can send alerts to your phone when there’s any irregular activity!

#4 Night Time

Whether you’re in a house or an apartment, if you’re going out at night or away for a while, make sure to shut the curtains and turn the lights on (or have a timer) so it looks like someone is home to deter burglars.

#5 Valuables

Never leave valuable items in sight, and keep them hidden somewhere that isn’t obvious. Also never leave keys near windows, whether open or not. You can also put your house number and postcode onto really valuable items to make them traceable and harder to sell if someone does get hold of them.

#6 Garages and Sheds

If your rented home has a shed or garage, make sure they are secure, well maintained and always locked. If you have lots of valuable items in there you can also have an alarm system for them too.

#7 Get to know your neighbours

Make friends with your neighbours and people in your apartment block. This helps put your mind at ease about who you’re living next to, especially in an apartment, and you can look out for each other when one of you is away to keep an eye on things. This is even more important if you’re living in a flat share; and you can ask your landlord to put a lock on your bedroom door for even more security.

#8 Don’t attract attention

Never leave notes for service people or relatives as this tells everyone that you’re not at home! Also if you’re going away, don’t advertise it on social media for everyone to see. If you are going away, have a read of our blog on keeping your home safe while on holiday.

 

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Autumn Home Decor on a Budget!

Autumn Home Decor on a Budget!

Summer is officially over and the weather is getting cooler; time to make your home warm and cosy for the autumn/winter months ahead. But what if you don’t have loads of money to spare for a revamp? Don’t despair, as our cheap tips and tricks to make your home a cosy haven won’t break your budget!

#1 Key colours

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Warm hues are perfect for Autumn – pumpkin, maple, espresso, mustard, terracotta, chocolate, wine red, burnt orange, cinnamon and amber. A neutral backdrop is the perfect setting for these rich colours, ideal for rented homes you can’t paint!

#2 Get cosy

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Adorn your home with an array of blankets, cushions and rugs to keep you and your home warm whilst you wait until the last possible minute to turn your heating on! They’re not only practical, they look pretty too! Purchase soft and fluffy ones for extra comfort, there’s loads available for great prices on the high street! And make sure you swap to a thicker duvet too.

#3 Fall in love with nature

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Autumn calls for natural details; trying adding a few wooden pieces to your home, turn crisp autumn leaves that have fallen into pretty decorations, and add some branches or even have a small tree in your living area. Also organised your belongings with wicker baskets as a perfect symbol for the harvest.

#4 Be creative

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Create your own centre piece or vase decoration using acorns, pinecones, branches and ornamental pumpkins decorated with glitter, metallic paint or pretty patterns. Also introduce rustic details, vintage pieces and distressed textures.

#5 Mood lighting

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As the days get darker, invest in some lamps to create more light; ones with a dimmer switch and warmer lighting are perfect to create a cosy mood, as are pretty fairy lights for a romantic feel.

#6 Autumnal scents

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As well as the visual aspects, create an autumn smell within your home. You can do this with scented candles, incense, oil diffusers, scent sticks and potpourri. You could even try a simmer pot of hot water filled with cinnamon, orange peel, cloves and bay leaves.

#7 Snuggle up

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Create a simple but cosy nook in your home – it doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, just a little corner where you can snuggle up away from the cold. For even more cosiness, create a canopy bed; it’ll keep out the chill while you sleep and make you feel like you’re in your own cosy cocoon.

#8 Prepare your pumpkins

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Fake ornamental pumpkins are perfect to last all autumn. But if you want real ones, there are a few things you can do to preserve them: once carved, rinse out, add 3 teaspoons of bleach to 3 gallons of water, then dunk the pumpkin in for 2 minutes, and let air dry outside. You can also use special pumpkin spray, or petroleum jelly/vegetable oil to keep them moist.

 

No garden? No problem! Gardening for rented homes

No garden? No problem! Gardening for rented homes

You may think because you live in a rented home with little or no outdoor space that you can’t enjoy a garden. Well you’d be wrong! You can create lush indoor gardens, utilise balcony space, and if you do have a garden in a rented home, there are still ways to transform your green space.

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Indoor gardens

Creating an indoor garden and scattering house plants around your home not only makes your space feel fresher and more lived in, they also help purify the air, suppress bacteria, help counteract central heating by adding humidity, and can even make you feel happier and more relaxed. Growing plants indoors is actually easier than outdoors, as you don’t have to deal with bad weather conditions or diseases.

Low/medium light plants:

  • Chinese evergreen, Pothos
  • Snake plant, Zeezee plant
  • Peace Lily, Bird’s Nest Fern
  • Spider plant, Rubber plant
  • Dracaena, Prayer plant
  • Parlor Palm, African Violet

 

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You can fill empty spaces on bookshelves or in corners with potted plants, or create a no-mess terrarium to use as a unique table centre piece by putting small rocks, soil, live moss and low maintenance plants into a large, wide-mouth jar. Bathrooms are great spaces to grow plants as they provide warmth, moisture and light. If you are accident prone, opt for woven and material planters to avoid disaster, or if not you can choose quirky glass or ceramic pots to add decoration.

Unique ways to display houseplants:

  • On a repurposed, decorated ladder
  • In old light bulbs filled with water (for indoor hydroponics like English Ivy and Philodendron)
  • In small vintage teacups
  • In an small, recycled drawer set
  • In a range of different coloured pots with different materials and textures
  • Create a fairy garden in a small wooden crate
  • In repurposed mason jars, decorated if you want more colour
  • Hung up vertically to save space

 

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Home central heating can really dry out plants; in this instance most people would be tempted to water them more, but this can damage and kill them too! Instead what they need is to have the leaves misted with water daily to add humidity again. However, if you don’t have a great track record with growing plants, these are the hardest to kill: Aloe, Kentia palm, Arrowheaded vine, Golden pothos, Zebra Haworthia, Ghost plant and Geranium.

Succulents are also a great choice of plant to grow in the home: use loose cactus soil, expose to medium sunlight, only water when soil is completely dry, use plant food to input nutrients, let air get to them, and repot occasional in large containers to give them room to grow. The best succulents for rooms that receive a lot of light are Aloe Vera and the Jade plant.

Best purifying plants:

  • Aloe Vera, Areca palm
  • Baby rubber, Bamboo palm
  • Boston fern, Chinese evergreen
  • Mass cane, Ficus alii

 

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Herb garden

Herbs are great for your indoor garden as they also can be used for flavourings in your cooking! To plant herbs: soak seeds for a couples of hours, fill plant pots with soil/coarse sand mixture, plant seeds 3 times deeper than seed width, water only when soil is dry to touch. Herbs are ready to harvest when flowers bud; cut 4-6 inches above the base of the plant and harvest in small amounts.

The best herbs to grow on your kitchen windowsill are: basil, chives, coriander, fennel, lemongrass, parsley, rosemary, sage and thyme; and they’re also best for seasoning your food. A great way to display them when ready to use is hung up vertically so they are easy to reach up for when cooking; unique and practical!

 

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Balcony/back garden

If you are lucky enough to have a balcony or a back garden, you have more choice, but you still have to be careful in a rented home! For balconies, vertical or hanging gardens are the best option as they leave room to put seating and a table so you can sit and enjoy the nature. It’s also a chance to get really creative without making any changes that would lose you your deposit! You can hang baskets on the balcony railings, and if you want to create more privacy, put in a trellis and grow climbing plants to create a natural barrier. You don’t have to splash out on new things to display your plants; you can reuse old items such as a ladder for great vertical display, a decorated shower caddy or hanging shoe rack.

The key for back gardens is to avoid digging anything up; instead use pretty plant pots to grow flowers, or set down wooden crates and fill with soil to plant, which will blend in more to the natural surroundings. Balconies and gardens also offer the opportunity to grow a little vegetable garden in containers.

 

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Best container vegetables for beginners:

  • Tomatoes, Peppers, Lettuce
  • Chilies, Onions
  • Beans, Peas
  • Eggplant, Carrots
  • Radishes

Even on tiny balconies you can add a couple of seats and a chair to create an outdoor space you can enjoy, or throw down loads of cushions and blankets for a chilled vibe. As well as plants to create your garden, decorations are just as important; fairy lights and lanterns look stunning at night on balcony, as well as a back garden. With a house garden you will usually have more space to be creative and to add seating and tables, or be a little different and put in a swing seat or hammock! Rented back gardens can tend to be a little plain, so add anything to give it personality and make it your own space, just no digging or serious landscaping!

 

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