Making A Rented Apartment Feel Like Home

Making A Rented Apartment Feel Like Home

This was an advert in collaboration with Pixers, however, they failed to pay me.

I'm very fortunate to live in an apartment with a rolling contract (that we can terminate when we want to) and a landlord who doesn't bother us; no monthly inspections, no rent increases, no lease renewals. My apartment feels like home. Not just because I lucked out with my landlord but because of how I've worked with my partner to turn the space into something that feels like ours.

Previously I've lived in rented accommodation that wasn't as relaxed, where I found it difficult to make my mark on the space without breaking the rules. Fussy landlords and rigid contacts can be a real pain when it comes to decorating what should be your home. If your rented apartment has more strict rules about what you can and can't do, it doesn't mean you're stuck living in a place that will never feel like your home. Simple changes and decorations can make the world of difference.

Making A Rented Apartment Feel Like Home

Simple Upgrades

Talk to your landlord about making changes to your apartment. Although a contract might state "no painting" and request you don't bang holes into the walls; ask them, they might allow it. Our contract originally said no painting but it turns out they meant no wild colours that would be tricky to paint over. When we asked if we could paint them white they said, "sure, of course; go ahead." If you don't ask you won't know.

If you're still unable to paint or hang pictures, simple upgrades can change how a room looks and feels without any drastic changes that might get you into trouble. Invest in lighting to change the mood of your space. Add lots of pillows to the bed (if that's your thing), blankets on the sofa, rugs on the floors; use cabinets and shelving units to style plants and objects of interest. Find ways to work with what you've got to turn your rented space into something that feels like your own. Play with light, texture, and colour to transform the blank slate of someone else's property into your home.

If you have furniture you dislike, ugly curtains, or hardware you hate, switching them out is easy and relatively cheap to do. It's worth it for the small investment to turn your rented space into a welcoming home. Drab furniture can be disguised with throws, lampshades can be replaced, and curtains can be swapped for something less garish. Just make sure you keep all the original items for swapping back when it's time to move out.

Making A Rented Apartment Feel Like Home
Making A Rented Apartment Feel Like Home Making A Rented Apartment Feel Like Home

Larger Upgrades

If you're planning on settling into a rented home for a few years, it's worth asking your landlord about making bigger changes, like taking up the carpets and exposing the floorboards or upgrading hardware and fittings. You might find they're willing to cover part of the cost if it benefits them.

My landlord is fine with installing shelves and hanging artwork. We have free reign to do whatever we want so long as we don't knock down walls or add on extensions, which would be pretty tricky to do to a first floor apartment and I didn't have any plans to either! There are a couple of larger upgrades we're considering though. We love our apartment and plan on staying here for the foreseeable future so we're considering investing in our kitchen to make it more aesthetically pleasing.

You might not want to do anything as drastic as ripping up the carpets but there are some larger updates you can make to your rented apartment, which make a huge difference to how your space looks and feels, which aren't impossible to reverse. Painting is the easiest option, of course. We decided to paint our entire apartment white, adding colour in with the furniture, personal objects, and a botanical gardens worth of plants. Another option is wallpaper but not the old stuffy kind your grandmother used to have. Self-adhesive wallpapers and wall murals turn your space into something more impressive than magnolia walls. Even counter-tops, desks, wardrobes, refrigerators, tiles, and doors can be disguised with stickers and veneers to hide their ugliness and make them suit your apartment's style.

After I broke our shower rail hanging too many plants from it in an attempt to turn our bathroom into a jungle, I decided on a different approach. I used the botanical wallpaper to upgrade our bathroom. It gives the room that jungle-look I was after without requiring quite so many plants. I'm a complete DIY novice. This was the biggest DIY home improvement I've ever attempted and it was easy! With two of us working on the wallpaper, we had it done within an hour. The instructions were simple to understand, easy to follow, and the finished result was great.

Using wallpaper in your rented space is a significant upgrade that makes a huge impact to a room yet it only requires a small investment. It isn't too much of a commitment should you change your mind as wallpaper is easy to remove or change, especially with reusable decals.

Making A Rented Apartment Feel Like Home

Furniture, Decorations, and Personal Touches

If you're anxious about making changes to your rented accommodation or don't plan on staying there long and don't want to commit to changes, however temporary they might be; there are easier ways of going about making a rented space a home.

Furniture is a worthwhile investment if you're confident in your style preferences and don't choose anything based on how they fit in awkward areas of your current home. Large pieces of furniture like bed frames, coffee tables, wardrobes, and seating can feel like a huge commitment but it's a good idea to invest in the essentials you're going to need wherever you live. There's plenty of sustainable homewares brands you can purchase from or opt for second-hand finds, it might take longer but it's well worth it.

If you're stuck with furniture that came with the apartment or you'd prefer not to invest in your own just yet; decorating your space with artwork, plants, and sentimental items is the most obvious and effective way of transforming a rented space into a home. Artwork, even if you're unable to hammer nails into your walls, can be strategically propped up against walls and on furniture or even suspended using adhesive hooks (these ones don't take the paint with them when they're removed). Plants add colour and vibrancy when you use them as decoration, and they're even good for your health. Sentimental objects could be photographs or scrapbooks, drawings, homemade objects, and souvenirs. Whatever you have that you love, keep it on display.

Each of our friends who visit our apartment has their photograph taken with a Polaroid camera; we display these photographs on a pillar in our living room as a reminder of all the wonderful people we have in our lives. Dotted around our home are homemade items gifted to us, plant cuttings from friends, hand-me-down furniture from family, and an assortment of objects we cherish.

What are your tips for making a rented space feel like home?

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Making A Rented Apartment Feel Like Home