How to make a rental apartment feel like home: 7 tips

Your home should be a place that welcomes you back at the end of a busy day; your own small castle and a reflection of your personality. It shouldn’t matter whether you’re renting or have a mortgage, but there are practicalities with a rental that can make it trickier to achieve.

Here we share some tips on how to make a rental apartment feel more like home:

  1. Don’t wait: Have you ever thought ‘I love that dinner service / bed / desk but I’m going to wait for my forever home before I buy it’? Meanwhile you’re putting up with chipped plates, a lumpy bed or an ugly desk? WHY?! Start investing in things you love now. It’ll make your space much nicer and you’ll have some great pieces to take with you when you do move on (plus it’s easier to start a decorating project if you already have some furniture).
  2. Talk to your landlord: Work out between you what’s possible. Are they happy for you to hang pictures? Can you repaint the walls if you agree on the choice of colour? Granted, a full paint job is a major task but a good rule of thumb is that if you’re likely to be there for three years or more, it’s worth the time and effort.

    Rita’s New York rental after she finished making it her own

  3. Get the light right: Everyone knows that lighting does an awful lot for the mood of a room but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Your landlord probably won’t have put much effort into the lighting scheme beyond the basics so it’s worth investing in some table lamps that you can position around the room to make it warmer and more inviting. Pooky is a great place for lamps while Rosi de Ruig and Matilda Goad do beautiful shades.
  4. Combat the neutral: Landlords want to appeal to as many people as possible and that usually means great swathes of bland, boring magnolia. You need to get some colour and texture in there – whether that’s with rugs (maybe even layering a few), some stand out cushions, or a really big, impactful piece of art like this silver Clouds print by Sam McEwan. Plants and fresh flowers are also a brilliant, cost effective way to liven up a dull space.

    Silver Series II by Sam McEwan

  5. Storage: Many rentals woefully underperform when it comes to storage, meaning clothes spill out onto chairs, books pile up on the floor and the general detritus of life doesn’t have anywhere to go. All of which can make your apartment feel cluttered and a bit sorry for itself. Invest in some extra free standing storage to help keep things ship-shape.
  6. Shelving: If your landlord is a bit iffy about you hammering nails into walls, think about using free standing shelves to display art instead. You can intersperse books with pictures, photographs and objects that will make you happy every time you look across the room at them.
  7. Enjoy a little luxury: If you’re saving to get on the property ladder then you’ll be keeping a tight reign on your expenses and a major overhaul is off the cards. But buying something special now and again can make the process of saving more bearable. Maybe it’s some lovely bedlinen that feels wonderful every time you climb into it, or an antique piece that’ll be with you for years to come… it will make you home a more enjoyable place to spend time in.

Rita’s other New York rental apartment with her D. Porthault ‘Coeurs Pink’ Bed Linen

More? See below for Rita’s edit of the products that will make your rental to feel more like home