Friday, June 6, 2014

How to Make a Rental Feel Like a Home

Renting a home can be tricky. With stipulations in lease agreements, it can begin to feel like you are paying a whole lot of money to settle. But with the proper approach, you can turn settling into "settling in," and your rental house (however temporary it may be) can begin to really feel like a home. 
Over the past few years of consistently renting homes, I have gotten pretty good at adjusting my decor from place to place to make each new space work for me, and utilizing the space I am given (or compromising on the space I was NOT). Even for those who own their homes, making them feel comfortable and customized can be a challenge. The tips I've learned can help give warmth and life to any living situation, and will one day help me when I am finally ready to purchase a home of my own. So after all this practice, I'd like to share with you a few of the tips I've picked up to feeling at home in borrowed space.

Introduce Personal Elements:


Nothing makes a home feel more homey than reflection of personality, and reminders of things you love. Displaying photographs of family and friends is a wonderful daily reminder of the people who love you most, which I find instantly brightens up my day, and makes me feel more comfortable. Find attachment with your decor. Your home can feel much more personalized when you are connected with the elements in your design-that old pillow your great grandmother made decades ago, or the wall art you created yourself. I like to think my home tells a story; a story about me. With every project I complete and improvement I make, my little work in progress becomes a bigger part of me, and I of it.


Find Out Painting Limitations:

Each lease agreement is different. You'll want to check with your landlord to find out what the policy is with painting. Then decide on what approach you are going to take based on their answer. Some landlords are completely okay with changes (I got lucky there), and you can paint to your heart's content. At about $20 a can, it is the easiest and most effective way to change the whole feel of a room.


A simple coat of paint can drastically alter the look and feel of a room.
http://elledecoration.co.za/jiving-with-colour/
Most landlords will allow paint changes, however, they require you to pre-approve the color with them. That's great! We can work with that. In some instances, they will require you to paint it back to the original color before you move out. In those cases it is up to you to decide if it is worth the effort, based on the amount of time you plan on being a tenet there and the necessity of the change. If you are unable to make changes to the paint, you'll want to think of other ways to brighten up your walls. Vibrant wall art can bring excitement to boring walls. Just make sure before hanging anything that you are allowed to put nailholes in the walls. Since they are extremely easy to fill, most rentals allow it. If not, there are so many great options now for hanging things without a hammer. Command Strips are very strong and sturdy, and even come in hooks. Some of them can hang up to eight pounds!
If you want a more allover effect, gallery walls are great for filling up spaces, or if you are feeling ambitious, you could try something like this genius paint swatch wall (although I probably wouldn't recommend getting all of your swatches from the same store-I somehow don't think they'd appreciate that).


https://www.flickr.com/photos/lizapple/7478089458/in/photostream/

Bring the Outside In:



Bringing natural elements into the home automatically make it feel more alive. You can even look for inspiration in your own back yard. Flowers and plants instantly bring life into a room and brighten up any space. Plus studies show that people who keep plants are more psychologically healthy, positive, and productive. Score!


Give Yourself a Warm Welcome:

They say first impressions are everything. The same goes for your home. The first things you see when approaching or entering your home should be inviting. Whether it be a front porch, an entry way, or even just a welcome mat in front of your apartment door, invite yourself in! Wreaths are a simple and stylish (okay... most of the time) way to warm up a front door, and work well with limited space. Follow us to see our upcoming post on how to dress up wreaths to fit every season, and fun DIY wreath ideas.

http://www.stonegableblog.com/2012/05/summer-wreath-tutorial.html
Change The Little Things:

While you may not be able to do much about the more permanent fixtures in your home, there are a lot of small things that can be changed to personalize your home, that can be changed right back with minimal efforts. Light switch and outlet covers can be changed in seconds with a screwdriver. Knobs and handles on cabinets and drawers are also incredibly easy to change and come in a wide variety of colors and styles. It's amazing what small changes such as these can do to the overall appearance, and again, can be changed back in no time at all. 

Utilize Space: 

Using the windowsill for storage is ALMOST enough to distract you from the hideousness of the window.
Though it might not always be ideal, work with the space you have to make it work for you. Windowsills, counter tops, plant shelves, tops of cabinets; give these spaces purpose by using them to help enhance your decor.

Create Comfort:

Throw pillows and blankets are a great way to help you feel relaxed, and give the home an air of warmth and comfort.  You can also bring comfort in your home with lighting. While lease agreements can limit the changing of light fixtures (although it's usually allowed if they can easily be changed back), it is important to be mindful of the light (both natural and artificial) in each room, and make adjustments accordingly. If you can, curtains are a wonderful way to both add style, and block out unwanted light, or when drawn, invite in natural light. If you can't hang fixtures such as curtains or blinds, make sure the lighting in each room is suitable by adding lamps. Temperature, color, and scents also have an effect on comfort levels, so be mindful of each of those on a day to day basis. 


Most importantly, be sure that whatever it is you decide to do to your home, it is an inviting atmosphere for you. After all, it's where YOU live. What makes you feel most at home? Have you made any adjustments to your home to make it where you want to live? We'd love to hear tips or feedback from you! 

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