According to Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies, a little over a third of the population in the U.S. rents their home - that's a pretty substantial group! Up until about a year ago, my husband and I fell into that category, so I have plenty of experience being in the sign-a-lease-every-year crowd. And when you find yourself moving around a lot, it can often make you wonder whether it's worth spending the time/money/effort to decorate a place that you'll only be in for a short amount of time.
Well, I'm here to tell you that it's totally worth it. Here's why:
It's your home.
That may seem obvious, but that's just the thing - there's a difference between a house or apartment and a house or apartment that feels like a home. When a place feels like it's yours, you'll be happy to walk through that door every day. It'll be a place you're excited about inviting others into and sharing life with. Regardless of whether you live in the most generic 1980s tract home with the worst kitchen known to man, or you're sharing a tiny New York City apartment with four roommates, there are always things you can do to personalize it and make it a reflection of your personality and style.
And also, I should add that I don't really believe in the "but I'll only be here for a year!" excuse. :)
There are so many things you can do that don't have to be huge investments of either your time or money, and they'll make such a difference. So let's talk about a few of them!
1. Banish blank walls
Definitely get your landlord's permission before taking on this kind of project and be prepared to have to paint it back to the original color when you move out, but sometimes the headache can be worth it. Heck, if you do a good job and it's a neutral color, your landlord might even be thrilled that you did it!
3. Bring in the green
Fresh flowers and green plants are one of the cheapest and easiest ways to give your home that lived-in feel. This is true for any home, but it's especially true if you live in a concrete jungle of a city where that daily dose of green is hard to come by. Even if you're a self-proclaimed black thumb, try a few low maintenance plants like succulents or simply pick up some cut flowers from the supermarket.
4. Change out lighting and hardware
This is another one to ask your landlord about, but as long as you're not drilling new holes and you hold onto the original pieces, this is typically an easy one to do. There are lots of reasonably priced light fixtures and hardware out there these days, so if you hate those ornate Tuscan drawer pulls on your kitchen cabinets, go ahead and swamp them for some sleek modern ones instead.
5. Invest in versatile furniture
Ok, so this one might not fit the criteria I mentioned before about not having to be a huge investment of money, but if you buy items that'll fit in just about any space, you'll be able to hold onto them for years to come. A quality sofa, expandable dining table and a great dresser are a few pieces that come to mind.
6. Cover up the ugly
Terrible carpet or floors that have seen better days? A big ole beautiful area rug can work wonders. Ugly wallpaper? Cover it with temporary wallpaper. A little creative thinking can go a long way. In our last rental, I completely covered a brown tile wall in our living room with temporary wallpaper and I couldn't believe how much lighter and brighter it made the room feel!
And lastly, if you need help making that rental feel like your home, I'm here for you! E-Design isn't just for homeowners - in fact, the Modern Farmhouse Master Bedroom project I shared a few weeks ago was in a rental!
So tell me, what are your favorite ways to make a rental feel like home?
*Denotes an affiliate link. If you purchase through it, I may make a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks for supporting Mix & Match in this way!