Making An Apartment Feel More Like Home

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Today’s post is sponsored by Acorn Influence and it’s advertiser, SC Johnson.  That just means that I get a little something for writing a unique article that readers can enjoy and that SC Johnson can stand behind.  If you’re living in an apartment or missing an old home, I hope you find it useful.

Make Your Apartment Feel More Like HomeIf you’ve somehow missed that I’ve left behind my home of over 10 years for a small apartment in another city, I’ll wait while you catch up…  Change is hard.  It’s hard leaving behind things that don’t fit in my new place or things that needed to stay behind at the house for one reason or another.  The first night in my apartment, the only time it felt like home was when my kids were bouncing off the walls and my Border Collie was pushing on my arm, begging me to throw a toy.  Once everyone settled down for the night, it was lonely and strange.  I was missing my stuff, I was missing my home.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m also exciting about starting over, starting fresh.  Still, I want my apartment to feel like home – preferably sooner rather than later.  I’ve put together a few tips for making an apartment feel more like home.  They’ve helped me and if you’ve just moved or are moving in the future, they may help you too.

1) Get stuff up on the walls.  It might seem like something that should be an after thought, but you’d be surprised how much the little things, the things that seem irrelevant, play into a place feeling like home.

When I made this piece (from pallet scraps) I had no idea where it would hang, but one of the first things I did the weekend I moved in was find it’s home and get it on the wall.  With all of the adhesive products on the market for hanging things, you don’t have to worry about finding the place things are going to stay forever and ever (that or filling your rented walls with a hundred nail holes), so stop worrying about finding the perfect place for everything and hang some of your favorite pieces, or even new ones.

2) Put out a welcome mat.  Maybe you don’t want guests knocking on your door, but at least your welcome mat will be there to welcome YOU home every day.  It’s also a way you can show a little personality outside of your apartment and mark your place as “yours”.

3) Embrace color where you can.  If you can paint walls, do it.  If you can’t, pull color out in other places… like your furniture, curtains or your floors (rugs!).

Y’all, when I found out my walls would be beige and tans, I knew the whole brown/tan sofa thing I’ve had going on for the last, of, 15 years wasn’t going to work.  I mean, I could’ve bought another boring, blah sofa and it would’ve been “fine” but it would’ve felt sterile and *blah*.  I don’t want home to feel *blah*.  So, when I set out shopping for furniture and found this blue little number at a resale shop, I took it.  It’s actually brand new… I had no idea that some resale shops sell new stuff too.  The greens in the pillows and the chair that matches will give me a perfect jumping off point for curtains and rugs, as well as little decor touches that will add to the color in the room.

Make Your Apartment Feel Like Home with Candles4) Don’t underestimate your sense of smell.  The nose knows!  While my new place smelled absolutely lovely when I moved in, it didn’t smell like home.  Home smells like food, stuff baking (sometimes like the dog – they don’t make a candle for that, do they?)  In the fall, my house always smelled like pumpkin or spices – sometimes both.  Lighting candles or using plug-ins or wax melts in scents that are familiar to you will make your space feel more homey.

5) Don’t spend more than you need to, but get things that will last.  Unless you’re moving into a college dorm, there is no reason that your whole place should be furnished from the “back to school” section at your local big box retailer.  If you buy an apartment full of furniture meant for a dorm room, that’s what your apartment is going to feel like.  Now, that’s not to say that $10 end tables from IKEA don’t have a place (I just picked up 2 last night myself) but they are a small piece of my furniture puzzle, not the whole thing.  If you can’t afford new, “real” furniture pieces, shop used!  There are tons of great resale shops and you can really have fun with yard sales or refinishing furniture too.

It feels more like home already, yes?  If you’ve moved from a house to an apartment or other short-term/rental situation, I’m sure you’ve been there too!  What tips or tricks do you have up your sleeve for making an apartment feel more like home?

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22 Responses to Making An Apartment Feel More Like Home

  1. Summer says:

    I like how you mention about putting stuff up on the walls. My home doesn’t quite feel like my home until I have my pictures and decor up on the walls. I have been in our current home about 3 years now and still haven’t put up some of the pictures – maybe that is why it doesn’t quite feel like home yet – I need to get on that!

    • mamamommymom says:

      For sure! There were places in my old house that took years to get stuff up and it never really did feel like home until I had at least one picture up in each room.

  2. Chelsea says:

    It’s hard to make an apartment a home! Ours feels like home finally after a year of living here, although we still don’t have much on the walls because we can never agree on art, haha!

    • mamamommymom says:

      Ah, yes… that is an added benefit of my current situation… no one to argue with over how I decorate 😉

  3. Ashley says:

    Getting things that last is SO big. I used to buy cheap, but they would never last so I’d end up spending twice as much as I wanted to to buy it once then replace it. Now I spend more to make sure it’s quality!

    • mamamommymom says:

      My rule of thumb is generally that if I’m not sure what I want, if I can get a cheap temp fix a few dollars (ie – my IKEA end tables for $9.99) and it’s something I actually *need* vs just want, I’ll do it as a short term solution. If I can live without it and there’s not a HUGE price difference between the cheap temp and a more permanent solutions, I’ll do without until I can get what I want.

  4. Jennifer says:

    I had some Homey and some not so homey apartments. These tips are definitely helpful for those not so homey places!

    • mamamommymom says:

      My first apartment 15 years ago was definitely not homey. Gray carpet, white walls and junk everywhere. I’m doing so much better this time around!

  5. Laura says:

    I’m so big about hanging up stuff on the walls!

    • mamamommymom says:

      I’ve got a few canvases I’m wanting to get up in my stairway now (I’m in a townhouse) but I have to get some more adhesive strips first. Love those things!

  6. kendall says:

    Love this post – I am so happy that you’re starting fresh in a new place and decorating it how you want. It looks great and your pup is just too cute!

  7. Karly says:

    Such good tips! And I’m glad you are starting to adjust to your new life, especially in your new home.

  8. Stephanie says:

    These are great tips! We lived in an apartment for a little over 2 years and it definitely can be difficult to make an apartment a home. Putting stuff on the walls definitely helped us. Once we got some floating shelves up things started feeling more home-y

    • mamamommymom says:

      I went to IKEA Tuesday and had to stop myself from buying all the shelves. Seriously. I wanted them all. That’s where being careful to buy permanent things (for the most part) becomes important. Otherwise, you end up with a bunch of “stuff” and a lot less $$.

  9. Kate K says:

    Great tips! We are renting right now too and I HATE that I can’t paint the walls, but I’ve been trying to get creative with the decorating to make things feel more homey. Scent is a big thing for me. I love a fresh, clean smelling home. With 5 kids and 2 dogs that is kind of hard to keep up so I’m so very happy the plugin air fresheners were invented!

    • mamamommymom says:

      Vinyl wall decals have come down a lot in price too. I’m looking at a big tree for my living room wall. My sister has a gorgeous one in my niece’s room… I think she paid like $200 for it about 3 years ago. You can get the same one now for about $50.

  10. Sandy Weaver says:

    other ways to add in color to walls that can’t be painted…1.) get 4×8 sheets and prime and paint them and then affix them onto your walls…whether by industrial strength velcro on each corner and every 2′ down the sides or by a skinny screw at each corner and 1/2 way down on each side; 2.) use fabric as a non-invasive “wallpaper”. Find fabric (cotton or cotton blend is best) of your liking, prewash and dry it, use liquid starch as your “wallpaper paste” (roll it onto the wall and onto the back of the fabric, wait til they both get tackyish and then hang the fabric like wallpaper. Wait for it to dry on the walls before using a sharp boxcutter to cut along at ceiling and floor.) When you get ready to move you peel the fabric off the wall-no damage- 🙂 wash down the wall and its back to normal. Wash the fabric and you can fold it to take with you, make something else with it, or donate it for someone else to use. These things I Know work too because I’ve used them many times as a military wife living in base housing and apartments, and later, as a paint specialist at a hardware store, suggested these same things to young people wanting to spiffy up their college dorm rooms (lots of rules there about not touching the walls.) Some of the students also came up with the idea of building a big frame (wall size) of 1″x 1″ lumber, sewing the fabric into one big piece and stretching it like on an art stretcher frame. The girls liked that cause they could pin posters and art or jewelry and scarves onto the fabric. Just a couple more ideas….

  11. Sandy Weaver says:

    sorry, to amend to the above suggestions, under #1.) 4’x8′ sheets of MDF (a type of very thin “wood” (for those that aren’t familiar with hardware or construction terms) sheeting…

  12. We have lived in our rented place for over a year. Not sure how long we were going to stay but once I started putting up things on the walls it def made it feel more like home, so if we stay for another year or another month we will enjoy it. Great tips!

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