5 Easy Ways to Make Your Rental Feel Like "Home"

 image source:  Lizbeth Foster

image source: Lizbeth Foster

For Nicole Blackmon, a design enthusiast from NYC, living in a rental home has become second nature to her since she's moved from one rental to another her entire life. She quickly discovered that rental homes posed many obstacles since they normally come with furniture and other items that you're unable to change and must come to terms with - even that potentially bizarre decorating style. While living in someone else's home may feel odd and isn't ideal for everyone, Nicole found ways to elevate her rentals from temporary housing spaces to spaces that felt personal and showed off her personality.

Read further to learn more about Nicole's simple fixes to transform any rental into a place that you can call "home" without upsetting your landlord.


Rental homes can come with lots of challenges and even more so with small rental homes. 

How do I know?  I've pretty much been a renter all of my adult life. From a 500 sq. ft apartment in a brownstone to a 1500 sq ft condo on the 36th floor to a Victorian townhouse: you name it and my little family has lived in it. Currently we are living in an 1100 sq. ft rental apartment in NYC that has been completely renovated but even with the renovations, I wouldn't choose some of finishes. You just overlook, move on, and fix the things you can. 

Some rental homes were easier to decorate than others and thankfully with the rise and interest in home decor over the years (thank you Trading Spaces!), we now have a variety of options to make our rental home feel more like a home than ever before. 

So how can you make your rental home, whether it's big or small, feel like it's actually your home? To find out, keep on reading!


Temporary Wallpaper

Don't think of wallpaper from the 80s. We're not talking about wallpaper borders either. Think fun botanicals, modern prints, and geometric patterns. Temporary wallpaper looks like the real deal except you don't have to be committed to it, and there's no glue or paste involved. It simply sticks to your walls, sort of like contact paper.  Make it an accent wall in your bedroom or a fun wall in your dining room. I recently added wallpaper to the back of our door at the end of a long boring hallway. Now it's a super fun entry way and always catches guests by surprise when they are leaving and notice it! And when I want a change, I simply peel it off and put something else up. I see it as art on my door!  


3M Command Hooks/Strips

You guys, these are your rental home's best friend!  You can hang almost anything with the range of Command strips that exist these days. We have a large gallery wall in our living room that's hung almost entirely by using them. The part is, there's no nail holes to repair when we get tired of it or if/when we move from this place either.

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Light Fixtures

Believe it or not, many landlords will allow you to change out your light fixtures. You just need to ask if it's okay first. Most landlords will just ask that you hold onto the current fixtures and put them back when you move. We added a simple pendant in our little dining nook over the table and it instantly personalized our space.  


Throw Pillows and Accessories

These go a long way in making a home feel like yours, even if it's not!  If you're short on storage like yours truly, purchase pillow covers instead of an entire pillow. It saves on space and it's so easy to swap out for the seasons or when you just want a change.  For accessories, it's amazing what something can do for a coffee or side table. Think of it as a necklace or earrings for your home. 


Plants and Fresh Flowers

Plants and fresh flowers or faux. Whatever you're vibing with, flowers can instantly add a bit of a cozy to a space!  Thankfully for us, faux flowers have come a long way but they aren't for everyone. If not, hit up your supermarket and grab a fresh bunch, put them in a vase, and voila! Plants instantly give life to a space. There's something about greenery and the energy it adds. Even if you don't have a green thumb, there are plenty of hearty plants that are hard to kill. Just ask someone working in your local nursery! 

So hopefully you've got a few ideas now that maybe you hadn't thought of before and can see your rental home in a new way.  Make it yours and don't be afraid to take a few risks! They'll almost always pay off. 


To see more of Nicole's beautiful NYC home follow her on Instagram @sweet_domicile.