Most people will find themselves in rental housing at least once in their life. Whether you’re living in student housing while completing your undergraduate degree, or renting a townhouse while waiting to purchase your dream home, it can be hard to settle into an unfamiliar place. Use these five tips to make your rental space feel more like home for the duration of your stay.
1. Start a Garden
Whether you have yard space for a vegetable garden, or only have a window box, growing a garden will help you feel as though you’re putting down roots. Tending to living things can help you feel connected to a new place, and instantly increase your investment in the rental space. Tend to the trees and plants that have been left by previous owners, but don’t hesitate to add a few of your own if that’s allowed under your lease agreement.
2. Get to Know Your Neighbors
Reach out to neighbors and the community. Though your stay may be temporary, making yourself part of the fabric of your neighborhood will make you feel more at home in your rental. Getting to know your neighbors can help you get involved in worthwhile community projects and may even help you make new friends.
If your rental is furnished, it can feel sterile like a hotel room. Counteract this impersonal feeling by integrating some of your own furniture into the mix and rearranging the furnishing that came with the rental. If you’re really ambitious, repurpose the rooms—adding dining room furniture to the office and moving the comfiest armchair into your bedroom—to make the space feel like your own. Use your own bedding, throw pillows, and decorative afghan to make the rental furniture feel more like it belongs with your own.
Infuse the space with your own style. Moving in your own furniture will help, but you may also want to repaint (if you landlord allows it), find modern wall art to hang, or replace the light fixtures. Hang your own curtains, put up hooks for backpacks, keys, or your handbag, and change out the knobs on the kitchen cabinets to instantly brighten and personalize your rental.
5. Make Memories
It may be strange celebrating holidays or hosting dinner parties in a new place for a while, but doing so will make you feel more connected to your rental and your neighborhood. Even if you don’t feel like it, put up a Christmas tree in December and false spider webs at Halloween. Invite friends and family over, have girls’ nights and movie nights, and take lots of pictures. Just because the stay isn’t permanent doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyable or memorable.
It can be hard settling in to a new housing arrangement, but these tips can help you assimilate more quickly and make your rental seem so much like home that it may be difficult to leave it when you have to move.