After some deliberation, we've decided to extend our lease for our current one-bedroom apartment. Knowing we'll be in the same space for another year or so gives us a even more motivation to continue to make it feel homey. Of course, we're still renters, so we're somewhat limited in the ways we can personalize the space, but there's still a lot we can do to make it feel like it's "ours."
First things first, Nicholas and I spent nearly ten hours deep-cleaning the apartment a few Saturdays ago. I'm amazed by how much nicer it feels after a thorough clean. I won't bore you with the details, but we did vacuum and pull up our area rugs. Initially, we did it because we needed to mop, but we like the bare laminate floors (for now). If we change our minds, we can always lay out the area rugs again.
Other (subtle) ways to personalize our rental home:
Rearrange/alter the furniture you already own. We swapped out the dark grey couch cover (on our IKEA couch) for a light grey tweed cover. It was a simple, inexpensive switch, and I like the higher contrast when we don't have the rugs out. Alternatively, you could add different toss pillows or a different afghan to drape over the sofa.
Find new ways to display photos. We've had a paper airplane banner from our wedding reception suspended over our bed since we got married. It's been my little bit of sentimentality that we move with. Just to add some variety, I hung mini instagram prints between the airplanes with mini clothespins (pardon the messy bed—right after I took this photo, I crawled in bed for a nap before work).
Invest in storage with personality. In a small space, we want pieces that are functional and attractive. We have a few favorite baskets around the apartment: one for library books, one for knitting projects; and a few more in the closet for hats, scarves, etc. I store many pantry items in glass jars for beauty and practicality. And just this weekend, my mother-in-law came to visit* and brought us a pretty red egg tray for the fridge. I notice that when we incorporate a little personality to our organization, I'm more apt to stick to whatever organization system we have in place. (If you're interested, I recently wrote a post about Our Take on Minimalism).
*I'll be writing more about her visit soon. :)
Make outdoor spaces feel like extra room. We are so guilty on this point. We've lived in this apartment for 10 months without patio furniture! But I found some today at Target that we like, and now, it's almost like we have another room.
A few other plans for our space include hanging curtains and put up a gallery wall of my photographer brother's prints in our entryway. I'm excited to see everything put together a bit more.
And of course, most importantly, no matter how comfortable our home is, we wouldn't feel "at home" if it weren't for our community here. These are my Austin sisters, and I love them so.
In what ways do you make a rental space feel more like "home"?