It can be hard to make an apartment or rental house feel like home, especially when you don’t know how long you’ll be living there. Anything you can do to customize a temporary space can make you feel more relaxed and settled in for the time that you are there.
Before you go all-in on tweaking and tailoring, though, clarify with your property manager exactly what changes you can and cannot make as a tenant. Some properties allow repainting with stipulations like which colors can be used or an agreement to repaint it back to its original color before moving out. Some properties don’t allow more than small picture hanging nails in the walls or additions like wallpaper (even the removable kind). Going against the rules of your lease can lead to fines or eviction, so don’t make any drastic changes before you get the ok from management.
Fortunately, you really don’t have to do anything drastic to your space to make it feel like home. Here are some of our ideas for making easy personalizations to your rental home without spending a ton or by using what you already have!
Use Your Green Thumb
Plants make excellent additions to every single room in your home. That’s right—every single room! And you don’t have to be a master gardener to maintain them if you choose hardy varieties that are known to thrive indoors. Leafy green ivies, ferns, and succulents will add visual color and softness while they improve your indoor air quality. Plus, caring for them can help you relax and provide a sense of accomplishment. If you have a patio or balcony, use an outdoor cart as a mini gardening table that you can move indoors during cold winter months. And don’t worry about spending big bucks on plants from a gardening shop. Ask friends for cuttings from their indoor gardens, or purchase small varieties that you can nurture into big, healthy green roommates.
Use Those Walls
You don’t have to resign yourself to big, empty walls, even if painting and wallpapering are out of the question. Putting up wall decor like clocks, shelves, framed photos, and artwork can do a lot of heavy lifting toward personalizing a room. A single shelf can hold a favorite photo, a childhood teddy bear, a scented candle, a plant, or anything that represents, well, you! Check out local thrift stores for wall shelves and frames that you can paint to match and then place in a grouping. You can fill those frames with anything that makes you smile—old concert tickets, that first love note from your spouse, or the kids’ artwork.
Use Your Creative Side
Decorating on a budget means creativity is now your most valuable skill! Scour post-holiday sales for things like string lights, garlands, or wall plaques that can bring personality to a room. Watch seasonal clearances for throw pillows and blankets that can add color and pattern to a beige sofa. Scour garage sales for glass jars, fill them with colorful gumdrops and faux flowers and use them as a centerpiece. Just be careful. Once you get the hang of it, you might get hooked on repurposing found items as decor.