Just because you don’t own your apartment doesn’t mean that it should feel like a temporary space. If you treat it like an impermanent home this can leave you feeling highly unsettled – even if it is subconsciously. It is so important that the place you hang your hat is somewhere that makes you feel grounded, stable, and relaxed. So what can you do to make the apartment feel like “home”? I always tell my clients to look to design for the solutions. And remember: the answers don’t have to be pricey or complicated!
1. Get some Color in your life
This is one of the easiest and best ways to make a rental apartment feel like your own. Hire a painter and change those drab beige walls in your bedroom to a deep, vibrant hue. Are you a DIYer? Then take a weekend and choose a side of your living room to turn into an accent wall. You can even paint your front door (with the landlord’s permission of course), and have a new color greet you as you come home on one side, and another as you head out.
2. Don’t leave you walls Naked
The number of clients’ apartments I have been in with nothing hanging on the walls still after 2 years of renting is shocking. Your walls are your blank canvas-be the artist! Art work is a great way to personalize your space and make it feel less temporary. Choose one big statement piece. Create a gallery wall. The possibilities are endless! Selecting art also does not have to break the bank: there are websites that sell original art that is beautiful AND reasonably priced.
3. Lights, Camera, Action!
Don’t leave that bare bulb on your ceiling for the duration of your lease! Even a single light fixture can make such a big difference in terms of creating a feeling of ambience and permanence. What is your personal style? Is it Modern? Classic? Contemporary? There are thousands of pendants to choose from. The light fixture might not be the first thing that you notice when you walk into the room, but it will be one of the things that ties the space together. Best of all, it’s an investment that you can take with you when you do move.
4. Don’t Hate on IKEA
Nothing can make your space feel less like personal than outfitting your entire flat with flat-packed furniture. But don’t despair – IKEA can actually be a good roommate if you know how to handle it. Go ahead and buy that Expedit Bookcase, but leave out a few of the shelves to give it a less uniform display. Use the larger openings for showing off some personal photos or a piece of art. While you’re at it, paint the back of the shelf a different color. Now you’ve got yourself a customized bookshelf that reflects your personal sense of style. Do a google search on more IKEA “hacks”. The point is to have fun with it, and since the pieces do not cost an arm and a leg, you can afford to get creative.
5. Collect While You Travel
Apartment living can feel anonymous and monotonous, so decorate your space with objects you’ve collected from your trips. That carving you picked up in France or the sculpture you bought in India should have pride of place in your home. Enlarge some of your travel photos and have them printed on canvas to put on your walls (see #2!).
At the end of the day, whether you are in your apartment for 2 years or 20, you will want to make the most of it-as you should! And when you come home after a long day (or night) out, your apartment should be a place of enjoyment, restfulness and refuge from the intensity of the outside world. It should feel like home!