Home Sweet Apartment: Make Temporary Living Feel Like Home
Chances are, you’ll move quite a bit throughout your lifetime, and not always from dream home to new dream home. You may find yourself in a temporary living situation in college, during a house hunt, while you’re saving to buy, after a move to a new city, or a number of other possibilities. There’s no reason your house/apartment/condo/friends’ basement shouldn’t feel like a space made just for you. Here are some suggestions for personalizing your part-time pad.
- Color is the quickest way to make a plain space come to life, and painting the walls in colors you love will immediately change the feeling you get walking through the door. Be sure to check in with your landlord before you dip into that can of paint — some have rules against painting (and others might be willing to paint for you before you take occupancy!).
- If painting is out of the question, never fear. We live in a time when temporary wallpaper is widely available and looks fantastic. Choose a space or two that could use a little personality infusion (perhaps a feature wall in the bedroom or behind your couch in the living room) and have some fun! It’s temporary, which allows you to play with bold patterns or colors you’ve always admired but never tried. Just don’t forget to remove it when you move out.
- Family photography not only helps fill space on the walls, it reinforces the sense of comfort only found at home. Choose photos that evoke memories of trips taken, people you love, and important moments in your life, then create a gallery wall (or several) so you can appreciate them again and again.
- Of all the stock features found in apartments, lighting — or, the lack of good lighting — is the most insidious. A dearth of natural light combined with cheap fixtures can lead to a feeling of discomfort antithetical to home. A quick and easy fix is to replace the bulbs you were provided with options that work best for you.
- In addition to switching out old incandescent light bulbs, you can supplement (or replace entirely) dated dome/canned/pendant lights with strategically placed lamps, sconces, and task lighting. As a bonus, choosing your own fixtures allows you to infuse a little more of your own style into the home.
- While updating bulbs and fixtures may seem obvious, you can also employ mirrors to maximize light in an apartment or other dark space. Hanging a mirror facing a window will reflect the natural light coming through, brightening and opening up the space.
- Temporary living situations like apartments and dorms tend to skimp on details like window treatments. Typically, the best you can hope for are some underperforming mini-blinds. But, it’s an easily remedied situation. Add floor-to-ceiling curtains in a style and color you love to create the illusion of both larger windows and a larger room.
- If curtains aren’t your thing, or they just don’t work in certain places, you’ve still got options. Roman shades, cornice boxes, and window film add style, privacy, or both without managing miles of fabric or investing in pricey custom curtains.
- Once you’ve made basic improvements on the walls, windows, and lighting scheme, it’s time to add the touches that truly make a home. Unless your living situation is going to be very brief (waiting for a new build or house hunting from a corporate apartment), don’t delay purchasing cozy, comfortable furniture that works in your current home. Make smart purchase decisions and invest in a quality mattress and sofa, then look for deals on things like dining tables and nightstands that might work differently in your next place.
- For many, it’s tough to live without a backyard or private green space, even temporarily. However, you can still breathe life into your home with apartment-friendly plants.
- Scent and memory are closely related. An easy and effective way to make your house feel like home is aromatherapy. Whether you use candles, plug-ins, reed diffusers, or some combination of the three, hone in on the smells that bring you feelings of calm and comfort, and keep them handy in your temporary home.
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