Friday, February 15, 2013

7 ways to make your rental feel like a "home"

Being a military family, we never know where we might be uprooted next and never know how long we will be there. We grow a custom to living day to day without stability or knowing where "home" may be next. Many of us military families live in base housing or rent & let's be honest, being in a rental isn't exactly many people's idea of a 'dream home'. For us, owning a home is quite a few years away until Mr. C is out of the military and we can decide on where to settle down and plant our roots. But until then, I still want our 'rental' to feel like "home", not only for my husband and I, but for our daughter. Now having a family, priorities have changed. We may not have control over where life may take us, but I want my husband and child (and hopefully future children) to have a safe haven to come home to at the end of the day, no matter which state or what kind of home we may live in.

Being in a rental has it's limitations, meaning that you have to live with the structure that you see, AS IS.
Many times this means no painting or changing out any of the fixtures. Some rentals are better than others... but many are not ideal. So whatever you may have to live with in your rental, work around it & make it your own!

Here are a few of my decorating tips & ideas for those of you who are decoratively restricted
and also want to keep as much money in your pocket as possible through the process...

- Pillows: by using bright pillows or bold patterns, it is an easy way to
change up the decor in your home without spending a fortune!

- Fabric Covered Canvas: Use a large canvas or even a piece of wood and cover with fabric.
When hung on a blank white wall, it will instantly bring interest and color into your home.

-Bring in Color with Accessories: By using pops of color in your accessories, it will tie the whole room together without using even a drop of paint on the walls!

-Painted Furniture: When painting isn't an option, painted furniture can bring
in you favorite color into any room and make it feel warm and inviting

-Add interest to a plain wall with a patterned headboard: A large headboard covered in fabric brings in a touch of color and focus' your eyes somewhere else other than on bare walls

-Add a pop of color using painted frames: Another great way to bring in color without
spending more than a few dollars is by painting inexpensive frames

-Take down the old ugly blinds and replace with curtains: Many rentals come fully equipped with those oh so wonderful  vertical blinds. Take them down! It is a quick and easy fix, just make sure to replace them back up before moving out.
- Bring your eyes away from the stark white walls and ugly fixtures, accessorize with items that you love,
take attention away from unpainted walls by layering accessories

- Mirrors bring in light & make the space look bigger: Use a collection of various mirrors on a wall to make a small apartment or condo look larger!

- Pattern, textures, colors, finishes, height, shapes, layers & sizes create interest & tie everything together:
Sticking with a neutral color scheme, use a rug, or pillows of different patterns and textures to make a room come together. All of these items can make any ugly rental feel like home and can easily be switched out or taken with you to a new home.
Small Spaces Need Lots of Storage!
- Baskets: If you live in a small rental, you know that any storage space is a luxury! Take advantage of every wall, use hanging baskets in a bathroom if you don't have much cabinet or counter space.

-Hutches: Some rentals come with minimal closet space.
Using large pieces of furniture creatively allows for more storage options!

-Storage Ottomans: If you have kids, you NEED one of these! Living in a small rental, there isn't much room for all of those wonderful toys that come along with having children. Storage ottomans are a great solution and are so much prettier than a toy box ;)
- Add an area rug over old carpet: Rental carpets can be old, ugly and worn.
With no option to replace them, use a large area rug right over the existing carpet!

6. PAINT ACCENT WALLS (ask first)
- If your landlord allows, accent walls can make a huge difference!
- If you want to get really fancy smancy there is peel and stick wall paper

- Fabric wall decals: Follow the link below for a great tutorial on how to apply fabric straight to walls!

- Using large patterned wall art brings a focal point to bare walls

Don't be afraid to take decorating risks even if you are a renter! Select pieces that you can take with you as you move on your way, to one day, your 'dream home'


  1. Thank you so much! I am a Proud Army wife, so moving around is definitely familiar territory. These are some great ideas I can't wait to put to use! May God bless you and your beautiful family.

  2. Jennifer - would love to see how you used some of these ideas in your current rental.
    Hugs -

  3. Love you tips, Jennifer!! I'm sharing on my facebook page!

  4. This is fabulous! We live in base housing and ughhhh its so darn ugly! I feel like the Marine Corps has some of the worst housing around... My husband swears the tile in our bathroom is the same tile that was in his barracks room in bootcamp! haha! Anyway glad I found your blog!! You can check out the latest room I did in our rental at:


  5. These are great tips! We're in OLD base housing and it's definitely a challenge.

  6. This is great! I'm totally going to share it. I repined several ideas. I'm moving into a new rental and you gave me new inspiration!

  7. Great tips! With these points in my mind, I can finally realize my dream home in my rented house. I know my contract here is effective for three years only, but I know that’s already long enough and I don’t have the time to make this place homey. After all, I think I can have my contract renewed and stay here much longer. :)

    - Demetria Iman -

  8. It’s nice to decorate your rental to make it homey, but I think you can also try to have your own home and incorporate the designs that you want in it. I know there was a recession in the financial market before, but this year is the great time to purchase your own home. :) Anyway, thanks for this post since I love the tips that you’ve given. I can use this in renovating my new house. :)

    Carmen Monrovia

  9. Those are wonderful tips! It's a good thing my wife does wonders in making our rental house as homey as possible. We transferred for the third time already and we have always enjoyed the adjustment period, especially the renovation process. Just treat it like it is your dream house and you'll have fun transforming it. It's comfortable to stay in a place, even if its just temporary, when you put personal touches in it.

    -Von Madison

  10. I loved reading these tips! These ideas are all so cute! My husband and I are actually looking at townhouses for rent in North York, at the moment. When we find something and get settled, I will use every single one of these tips!

  11. I love the painting accents in the wall to make your apartment feel like home! These are amazing ideas to make you feel like you belong in your apartment. I've been looking for apartments for rent. I can't wait to live in my new "home!"
    Sylvia |

  12. This is really pretty cool place I like it because it has everything I want more on this blog soon.
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  13. I have always found that putting up pictures really helps change the dynamic of the apartment. That's what I have been doing for ours. These tips are all excellent for current and future apartment dwellers.