The majority of the readers here are women aged 18-24, meaning you are either reading this in your bland dorm room or rental apartment. If you've managed to buy a place at 24, can we please be friends so you can share all your secrets with me? Up until last year I always strived to decorate my place, but moving across the country upped the need for my house to feel like a home.
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Now living in my own apartment, there's nothing quite as comforting as stepping through the door every night and feeling like the place is mine. It smells like me, matches my personality, and is scattered with objects that make it feel like home even though I'm 3,000 miles away from everything and everyone I know and care about.
For those of us who desperately need our security deposit back, here are a few ways to make your space feel less like a rental and more of a home.
Invest in a rug.Yes, rugs are expensive. Why? I have no freaking clue! But be like me and buy a rug online, on sale, with a coupon code. My favorite website to buy a rug is Wayfair, especially because the big stuff ships for free, but Target is another great option when they're having a sale. Investing in a good rug not only adds color to your space, but comfort for those of us who have hardwood floors.
Buy some art, then hang it!It can't just be me who has the laziest reputation when it comes to hanging the art I buy or make. While I know many places are against putting nails into the walls, with things like Command hooks you have no excuse to not hang all your frames. Mounting a few pieces on the wall will instantly bring some life to the walls and is an inexpensive way to decorate.
Bring some fresh life into the space.Every girl needs to have a plant in her apartment. Or ten. Whatever your preference is. If you are worried you won't be able to keep it alive, I suggest buying a succulent or cactus. Those things can survive anything. Otherwise big leafy plants really brighten up a small space and look great against bland white walls.
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Pack a piece of home.My hometown is where most of American's strawberries come from, which is why I can't look at a strawberry without thinking about where I grew up. Apart from that, it's tucked between the beach and redwood covered mountains. Having something in your space that reminds you of home is a nice reminder without taking over the space. Hang a canvas of your home state or display your home team's colors in some way.
Fill your cabinets.I know, very random, but what's the one thing you always find when you visit home? Cabinets full of food! How our parents manage to never run out of groceries I will never understand, but having your favorite snack when you're feeling down is such an easy way to lift your spirits. To go the extra step, buy something grown or produced locally, like strawberries in my case.
Invite your furry roommate.If you can bring a pet with you, do it! Two months after I moved to Washington DC I adopted my cat Max, and it was the best decision I've ever made. Having someone to come home to is the best feeling, especially after a long day when the idea of human interactions is just too much to handle.
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Display your photographs.For a generation that feels the need to photograph everything from the food we eat to the junk we carry around in our purse, we don't proudly display our photos as much as we post them. Choose a few of your favorite photographs and have them actually printed. Displaying photos is an inexpensive way to put something up on your wall or decorate countertops.
Toss all reminders of your move.Who here is guilty of unpacking then leaving the boxes sitting around for weeks? (Raises hand high.) Save yourself the pain of tripping over the junk and of having to look at it constantly by tossing out all your moving supplies! Your home won't feel like home until you get rid of all the things that make it looked like you just arrived. Let's pledge to stop being lazy and toss the things we just don't need.
How do you make your space for less temporary and more like home? What do you struggle most with personalizing in your dorm or apartment?