Living in an apartment can be a struggle. Many parents have tried and failed to make a rental feel like home. Depending on how often you and your family move, you might not get the opportunity to really settle in properly. And if you move often enough, that means no place ever really feels like home.
Of course, plenty of families also deal with the difficulties of living in rentals. As of 2016, about 27% of Americans rented their home. If you’re a long-time renter, then you understand the decorating dilemmas that come with apartment life, especially if you’re working with a tight budget. So how do you make a rental feel like home?
Here are a few things you can do to make your apartment or other rental space feel more like a home for your family – just be sure to check with your landlord first on what you can and cannot do with the space.
Pick up a paintbrush
You might not regularly think about the color of the walls in your home, but it can have a greater impact on the appearance of your space than you realize. Most landlords select paint colors that are going to appeal to the widest group of people possible to make their properties more attractive to as more tenants. This usually means neutral tones for your walls. In a 2017 interior design trends survey, more than a third of respondents said they would choose a neutral color palette if redecorating their home.
However, if you’re not a fan of basic eggshell or beige paint, talk to your landlord about whether you are allowed to change things up. Even if you can’t paint your walls, there are plenty of wallpaper options available now that are easily removable for those in rentals.
If painting and wallpaper are out of the question, then it’s important to decorate your children’s rooms to their liking. That could mean posters and artwork that they pick out, or fairy lights and cozy rugs. Plus, those glow-in-the-dark stars never go out of style.
Hang those photos!
Putting photos on the walls serves a dual purpose. First, you have a relatively easy wall decoration that can move with you. The frames don’t have to be overly expensive. It’s easy to find frames that fit basic size photos like 4″x6″ or 5″x 7″.
It’s also a big boost to daily family morale to surround yourself with pictures of you and your kids smiling during happy events and travels. It’s harder to stay mad at your spouse too when you have many photos of all of you having a great time together. Kids also get a boost feeling like they are the movie stars in your life and that you treasure all their accomplishment likes first day at school, school plays, and sporting events.
Look for long-term leases
If you want to make a rental feel like home, then this piece of advice is crucial: think beyond the 12-month lease. Some landlords will offer a free month’s rent on 18-month leases. The longer you stay in one place, the more like home that place will become. Plus, most landlords will be happy to have a reliable tenant stick around for longer.
When you begin your next apartment hunt, talk to landlords about the possibility of longer leases. You might just save some money in the process.
Find apartments with outdoor space
If you’re lucky enough to find a rental with outdoor space, make sure you’re taking full advantage of it! By using your outdoor space, your whole apartment will feel that much bigger. After all, a whopping 83% of Americans think having a yard is important, and that’s especially true if you have kids. Many apartment complexes now include community outdoor space such as pools, playgrounds, fire pits, and walking trails. These options are perfect for families with young kids, but they aren’t in everyone’s budget.
However, you can still find affordable apartment rentals that come with outdoor space. To make the most of your limited outdoor space, invest in a barbecue grill, a basketball hoop, a kiddie pool, or all of the above. After all, to a kid, even an empty driveway can be transformed into a basketball court.
To make a rental feel like home, bring the outside in
Not every rental property comes with access to outdoor space; in these cases, you may need to get a bit creative with adding greenery. Try adding some extra houseplants to your apartment, or even start up a small herb garden in a window box. Your space will feel more lively, and you may even be able to teach your kids a thing or two about taking care of a garden. You’ll be amazed by the way a few succulents, potted plants, and fresh flowers can liven up cramped apartments.
Remember too that decorations can only make a house look like a “home.” You just have to spend time with your kids and family to make any place feel like home. That’s why many of these activities like painting and decorating are best done as family projects where you are creating both a nicer nest as well as fun family memories.
Rental spaces often require a bit more creativity, but you can easily make them feel more like home, even if you’re on a tight budget. What decor options do you use to turn your apartment into a home fitting for the whole family?