(Inexpensive) ways to make your rental feel like home.
I have been living in my apartment for a little over 10 years and I know I need to get ready to move, most likely next Summer. I really like my place and wish I could stay but the landlord is no longer able to keep up maintenance which brings up a lot of stress (for me).
I love my place. In fact I love it more than the last house I owned. It’s a well lit duplex, with windows on four sides. I have French doors in the living room leading to a small deck and a huge oak tree providing Summer shade. The thought of moving is not fun and it makes me think how I would make sure I love my next place as much as I love this one and how I could make it feel like home.
Make sure you love at least one feature of the place you are about to rent.
This is so important. Moving is expensive and tiring. It can be the light, the fireplace, the location or the size of the rooms. Just make sure you fall in love with at least one feature that is important for you before you sign the lease. I fell in love with the gas fireplace and the French doors in this place and the location. Oh, and access to a clothesline.
I made a terrible decision before I moved here. I bought a house that just did not feel right. And I paid dearly for it, in dollars and stress. For me, location is very important. I am a city woman and love being close to everything. I know other people who would rather live in the country and don’t mind the driving.
The best way to put the odds in your favour is to visit the neighbourhood a few times during the day, on the weekend and in the evening. It will give you a taste of what you can expect on your street. This piece of advice definitely also applies when you decide to buy a house.
Treat your new place as if you owned it. Put your signature on it.
No, you may not be able or want to redo the kitchen, but if you can, paint the walls in colors you enjoy. The walls in my living room are a very very light peach, so is the bathroom, the kitchen is white but I added a warm deep orangy yellow wall to offset the cold feeling (facing north, with no sun ever), and I splurged in the bedroom. It’s cinnamon. Warm color and feels cozy both with sunlight and night light.
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If it’s not possible to paint the walls in other than off-white, one way you can bring color to the wall is with a huge canvas that you can paint any color you want. For less than $100. you can get a huge 4 x 6 feet canvas that will give a big splash of color to your walls, or for around $25. a few smaller ones like these.
Display a few family pictures as well as a few favorite trinkets.
My favorite decorations besides the family pictures are a conch shell I have had since I was a child, two beautiful copper lanterns, a soapstone Dance sign that reminds me how much I love dancing a vase with silk flowers as well as a couple other decorations. I am working on becoming a minimalist but I have a long way to go
Area rugs, wall hangings and throws
I have nice Persian like rugs that come out in the winter to protect my toes from cold hardwood floors, and I have a couple of throws I like to use while watching tv when the thermometer dips to below 20 and even colder.
I love mirrors and have quite a collection. They brighten up a room, reflecting the light. As an amateur painter, my living walls are covered with my art but you can also find nice paintings at Ikea or a reproduction from a Grand Master (Van Gogh) here at Amazon for under $10.
Whatever you buy, go for quality. It will be that much less you have to buy if you decide to buy your own place.
Make sure you maintain a certain order.
Pick up after yourself, wash the dishes, keep the floor clean and the bathroom spotless. The more you give it love, the better you will feel coming back home or inviting friends over. And if something breaks, do notify the landlord asap.
I am no Miss House Beautiful myself. I rarely make my bed, I have books all over the place but put my clothes on hangers and I do not leave dirty dishes around. Oh, and I never eat in the bedroom and the bathroom is spotless. Well, almost.
One last thing to make your rental feel like home. If you like gardening and there is a space for you to do so, add some flowers to the porch or the front yard. I added irises, lavender and other perennials at the front of my place, making it a splash of color all Summer long, the only front lawn with as many flowers on my small street, as well as basil, rosemary and an hibiscus flowering on the balcony, and tomatoes, thyme, rhubarb and mint in the backyard.
My easy hibiscus comes in when Fall arrives and usually flowers all through Winter.
A balcony can add living space and does not have to cost you much. A few plants, a comfortable chair, a small table, candles or solar lights can make that place a great living area for the warm months of the year.
It’s so totally worth it to invest emotionally in your living quarters, whether you stay 6 months or like me 10+ years. Coming home to a place that truly feels like home is a great way to destress at the end of the day. Here are some more ideas for your new place.
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