Whether you’re renting an apartment or a house, it can be tough to make something temporary feel more secure and permanent.  Finding tricks and creative ways to make your rental situation feel like a home is not as hard as you think! From renting college houses to my first and second apartments, I found ways to make my living space homey and welcoming. 

1.  Unpack FAST 

As daunting as it can be, unpacking everything is so important. While I am a messy person, living out of boxes and suitcases when I don’t have to is silly. You’re not on vacation where you’d have to repack everything a week later. Unpacking is also exciting! Putting away all the things you’ve brought and bought to this new place gives you the chance to start new do things differently than where you lived last.  Maybe you lived with your parents and hated keeping everything in drawers. Now you have a walk-in closet and can put everything in there! Plus, the faster you get it done the less chance you will have of not being able to find which box something is in.  Looking at 20 boxes filled with your stuff for more than about 3 days could also make you a bit stressed and overwhelmed. So turn up so music, grab your favorite drink and have fun with it!  

2.  Decorate ASAP 

Just like unpacking, decorating as soon as possible is one of the biggest ways you can make your rental feel more like a home. When you put your photos or personality throughout the house or apartment, you’re able to look around and feel that this is your space. Decorating is also probably the most fun part! Even if you only stay in a rental for a year, it is still the place you come back to every night.  Feeling comfortable and at ease where you live is as important as feeling safe.  

3.  Cheap Updates/Swaps 

When it comes to rentals there is not much you are able to do about the design or layout for certain features. However, there are a few easy and cheap updates you can do! Items such as toilet seats and lids, shower heads, light fixtures, and painting are some typical options you could have to change in a rental. As long as anything you want to change is approved by your landlord, doing some cheap updates is worth it to make your rental feel more like home.  

4.  Surface Paper 

Something I found to be a game changer in making my rentals feel clean and like home was surface paper! This may not seem like anything that will make a place feel like home, but trust me, it works. Using surface paper or liners in your cabinets, drawers, and closets not only allows you to add personality but provides a clean surface for all of your things.  My first apartment was built in the 1980s and did not have many updates. Putting my clean cookware and utensils on old wood used by who knows how many other renters was 2 parts gross and 1 part creepy.  The liner also helped make the drawers look fresh and slightly newer. Choosing surface paper with a fun pattern or bright colors is great!  They just make opening your drawers and cabinets more fun and give you a little happy feeling when you look at them. 

Living in a rental does not have to feel temporary or like you’re always about to pick up and leave. Life can change in an instant so while you thought you’d only be renting for a year it could turn into more.  The longer you keep things in boxes or lacking your personality, the more stressed and unhappy you’ll begin to feel. A rental may not turn into your home, but you can still find ways to give it that home feel!