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How to Make a Rental Feel Like Home

Updated: Jan 28, 2019

#howtodecorateyourapartment #howtoupdatearentalproperty

If you are currently renting (like me!), you know it can be difficult to make the place feel like your own. Why even try to help the situation when you’ll be moving out in a few months? Might as well get back to planning your dream home that you’ll be decorating in 5….ok fine, 10 years, right? Wrong. Stop waiting until you own your own home to decorate. Your surroundings affect you. And coming home to an old, dirty, depressing home that hasn’t experienced any TLC in decades just does something old, dirty, and depressing to you. Here are some tips to make your temporary home a place you never want to leave while sticking to a budget.

First things first, decide on a budget. You don’t need a lot of money to make some big changes, but you also don’t need to make any big changes to have a lasting effect on the way your home feels. Decide how much you can afford to put into improving the next 6 months of your life and then go from there. Next, decide on a color scheme. Neutral, blues, yellow and green, coral, gray and navy with gold accents. Just pick one that you love and stick with it! There are a lot of options out there so if you start having a hard time deciding, choose what represents you and the way you want to feel.

Photo: Domino

Paint! Use your color scheme to paint the walls. Check with your landlord first and get written approval from them. Most landlords will say ok if it will help them get more contracts in the future, or if you promise to paint it back to its original color before you move out. Painting is the cheapest, fastest, and easiest way to instantly update your space. If your landlord won’t let you paint, add color through bold accessories, a colorful bedspread, patterned curtains, and removable wallpaper. Removable wallpaper is easy to apply and can double as back splash! You can also put it behind shelves or in cupboards for a little extra personality.

Make your space your own through artwork, clocks, mirrors, tapestries, rugs, shelves, plants, pillows, a throw, and cute towels in the kitchen. Use the color scheme you chose to make it feel more cohesive. If you’re worried about nails in the wall, hang wall décor with command hooks that won’t cause any damage. Mirrors are a great way to make a small space feel much bigger and rugs are a great way to make a room feel more put together. It will also either cover up old, outdated carpet or warm up cold hardwood flooring.

Use EVERY SINGLE SPACE of your temporary home that you can for storage. Think under your bed, in your ottoman, baskets under the sink, floating shelves, and hooks on the wall. For example, if your not-so-walk-in closet is overflowing with clothes, hats, shoes, and scarves, put hooks on the walls and doors of your closet and hang those things. Add a shelf inside your closet just to get shoes off of the floor. You can also find lots of great storage solutions for in the shower, over the toilet, and on the wall so that everything has a home.

If your rental came with lots of old, bulky furniture that you’re not sure what to do with, don’t be afraid to use your apartment’s designated storage area to store a few pieces of furniture that you won’t need and create more space in your living area. If you don’t have the storage room, consider moving pieces around. For example, if your bedroom feels crowded with chests, nightstands, and dressers but your living room is sparse, use one of the dressers as a TV console in the living room. Move things around until it feels less crowded in each room.

Upgrade hardware throughout the rental. Something as small as changing out all the hardware won’t cost much and will make a huge difference. Just remember to store the old hardware somewhere safe and change it back out before you move.


Now that you’ve read all your options for updating your rental, remember-stick to your budget! This space is yours, but it IS temporary. Don’t go out and spend a bunch of money on anything that you aren’t willing to use in your next dwelling and even then, keep it low. The best thing to do is mix old with new. Put the antique accessories and books on the floating shelves from IKEA. Scour thrift stores, yard sales, estate sales, ReStore, and ask friends that are moving or spring cleaning for unique pieces. Remember to stick to your color scheme and create a space that you will truly love. It may be only 6 months, but you’ll be so happy you might even find yourself signing on for another 6 months.

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