Let’s face it. You want your rental unit to look like a magazine-worthy palace instead of a glorified dorm room. Yet putting your stamp on your new abode might be easier said than done. While there are challenges inherent to living in a rental, it’s possible to make it feel more like home and less like a temporary living situation.
Clean It to Your Satisfaction
Hopefully, the landlord had your rental professionally cleaned before he or she handed over the keys. Though the kitchen, bathrooms and floors may look spick and span, you’ll feel more at home knowing your new space has been cleaned to your standards. While you’re at it, toss or donate anything the previous tenants left.
If You Can, Paint
It’s true many landlords won’t allow you to paint the walls, but it doesn’t hurt to ask if you can add some personality to a monochromatic color scheme. Negotiate with your landlord by asking to paint the walls a neutral color such as a warm gray, pastel or calming shade of beige. You might even get the OK to paint an accent wall a brighter color, especially if you agree to repaint it when you move.
Work With What You Have
If your landlord won’t let you paint, lean into your environment. If the walls are stark white, adopt a minimalist, Scandinavian vibe. Incorporate modern furniture with clean lines along with live plants, chunky textiles and wood tones to warm the space.
You could also add pops of color in artwork, tchotchkes, throw pillows and rugs. There are plenty of ways to personalize the rental without making permanent changes.
Get Creative With Space
Look for ways to arrange your furniture that may not follow the expected layout. Don’t just stick the couch in the obvious spot. Try different setups until you find the layout you prefer. it’s fine to think a little outside the box, even when it comes to room usage. Just because it’s intended to be a living room doesn’t mean it has to be. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t put a couch and television in the dining room if you prefer that arrangement.
Add Some Greenery
Make your space homey with live plants. Philodendrons, rubber figs and spider plants are easy to grow and don’t require much upkeep. Use attractive planters and place them throughout your unit where they’ll add color and softness. You’ll not only make your rental feel more personal, but you’ll enjoy the experience of watching the plant grow and thrive. If you absolutely don’t have a green thumb, opt for artificial plants that you can easily find at any home decor store.
Many rentals can be rather bland when it comes to color and design. Strategically placed rugs are an easy and affordable way to add color, texture and interest. Bonus: Rugs can mask sounds coming from your apartment. This is especially helpful if you live on the second floor. Kids, pets and even the sound of high heels walking across the room can prove problematic for downstairs neighbors.
Invest in Luxe Bedding
Nothing feels more like home than a comfortable bed. Invest in a new mattress and a set of sumptuous bedding, including tons of plush throw pillows and soft, downy throws. You’ll thank yourself every night when you nestle into those luxurious sheets and blankets.
Splurge on Key Pieces
If you don’t plan to be in your rental for the long term, it may not make sense to invest in furniture that might not work in your next space. However, if there are pieces you’ve been eyeing — say an uber cushy reading chair or an antique dining set — splurging on these will make your rental feel cozier. Just be sure to factor these into your next move so you don’t have to part with your new treasures.
Use Lighting Strategically
Rentals have notoriously inadequate lighting. Either overly dim or non-existent, apartment lighting doesn’t have much to offer in the way of ambience. Use floor and table lamps to illuminate your space and tie your room together. Add lamp shades for color and texture. Buying lamps in matched pairs will give your home a polished appearance rather than a haphazard feel.
Update Where You Can
Spending a bit of money to update switch plates, towel bars, cabinet and drawer pulls, shower heads and toilet seats can make your rental feel much more like your own. Even though these can easily be reverted to the original fixtures, it’s best to ask your landlord first.
Host a Gathering
The key to making a space feel like home? Your friends and family, of course! Create a warm, inviting atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable and welcome. After you’re settled, host a dinner party or a wine tasting for your nearest and dearest. You’ll make memories that immediately help your rental feel more like home.
Living in a rented apartment or house needn’t feel temporary or artificial. It’s easy to love living in your rental using a little creativity and these simple tips.
Kate Houston is Director of Client Services at Ward North American. She attended Minot State University, and has more than 25 years of experience in the transportation and relocation industry. Currently she is associated with Voymedia, researching to draft article on facebook carousel ads hacks topic