“There’s no place like home.” – L. Frank Baum, The Wizard of Oz
Thankfully for most of us, finding home is a lot easier than it was for Dorothy Gale. There is no need for a trek along the yellow brick road, ruby slippers, or the clicking of heels. Even so, creating that feeling of home can be more elusive for some than for others.
“Man wants a home, a place for warmth, or comfort, first of physical warmth, then the warmth of affections.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden
When deciding to keep, remove, or purchase an item for your home, ask yourself why? Why should you keep it? Is it more beneficial to remove it? Are there compelling reasons to buy it? Home is all about what matters most to you.
“Home is where my habits have a habitat.” – Fiona Apple
Home is a feeling. Decorating to achieve that feeling can seem like a daunting task, but it really does come down to finding what fits your life right now. That might mean that you’re removing pieces from your spaces rather than adding anything. To achieve that sensation of home, you want to put together pieces that look good and feel right, which might be something only you know. What is home for you may not be home for your neighbor or your friend. It is a feeling that you have to discover and define for yourself.
“Home is where the heart is.” – Pliny the Elder
When you’re renting, you want to concentrate on the heart of your home, the items you will take with you, the details that will furnish your life. For some that means adding comforting details with lush, soft, touchable fabrics. You can also focus on collecting and displaying timeless pieces you’ll keep forever, like candlesticks, holiday collectibles, or heirloom pieces.
“Home isn’t where you’re from, it’s where you find light when all grows dark.” – Pierce Brown, Golden Sun
For smaller rooms, making it feel larger is key. This can be accomplished with mirrors, which reflect light and give rooms an open feel. Tall bookcases can also help a small room feel larger. Additionally, they can be used as functional room dividers to break up a space. Area rugs can also separate space in rooms.
“Home is always the impossible subject, multilayered and maddening.” – Paul Theroux
When renting, make the most of your space with furniture that can serve several functions. For example, ottomans with storage space can also be used for extra seating or even as a table, with the addition of a tray. Further, choosing lightweight furniture means you can change the layout and feel of a room rather easily. Modular furniture is another great tool, allowing for quick changes to suit different needs and situations.
“Beauty and graciousness, joy of living, being used in every part, these are the things that make a house a home.” – Ellen Baker, Keeping the House
Personalizing your space with little hints of style, as well as convenience, will contribute to the feeling of home. High-quality ceramic pots for plants or silk flowers are a great way to bring personality and color into a room. Displaying collections or vibrant, interesting knickknacks can also accomplish this. Bookcases make a great showcase for clever pops of color which can break up the neutral color schemes of rental spaces. Adding bright knickknacks, vibrant vases or containers, and colorful plants can liven up the color palette of your apartment home and bring in some personality. Pillows and throws can add color and personality too, and they can be recovered or changed out rather easily to give your room a new feel.
“Sometimes memory is the only gift we give ourselves and the only hope we have of finding our way home.” – Harley King
Walls—even despite a neutral coat of paint—can be spruced up in a number of ways which won’t damage them. Transferrable wall decals are a great way to decorate without damage. Removable adhesive strips and hooks also fit that bill, allowing you to hang lightweight pieces. In place of a large art piece, which would require anchors and hooks to hang, perhaps try a gallery wall. This is a great way to show off your personality and feature memories in several smaller frames.
“Home is the nicest word there is.” – Laura Ingalls Wilder
Renting doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with your decorating details, either. If you’ve got the DIY spirit, you can make some pieces to inject your personality and brightness into your home.
Corkboards are a great way to display pictures, keepsakes, messages, and other items. Give them a little life with patterned contact paper or fabric and ribbons.
Thrift stores and garage sales are a great spot to find deals on furniture. Take a beat up end table or other piece and apply some blackboard paint, then all you need is some colored chalk to turn these pieces into a fun way to display your personality. Or, maybe for your guests to leave their mark on your home.
And one final tip that will always be in style—clear away the clutter. Whether you fight the pile up by regularly getting rid of items you don’t need or use (donating, garage sales, or craigslist are all great options for those things you don’t need or want anymore), or you just have enough storage to keep those possessions with untidy potential tucked out of sight and out of mind, keeping your home clutter-free is one way to keep your home feeling comfortable and even spacious.