How to Make Your Rental Feel Like Home: Renovation Tips


Moving into a new rental can feel a bit sterile. It’s not quite yours, but you still want it to feel like home. I’ve been there, and I know how important it is to create a space that feels cozy and inviting. Here are some practical tips that have worked wonders for me.

Personalize with Temporary Decor


Wall Treatments

If you’re moving into a new rental, like some of the cozy USC off campus housing, consider personalizing your walls without permanent changes. Removable wallpaper and wall decals can add color and personality without damaging the walls.

For a unique touch, try using fabric with starch to create a temporary accent wall. These simple updates can make your rental feel much more like home.

Renting often means white walls. While painting might not be an option, there are many other ways to add color and personality:

  • Removable Wallpaper: Comes in various patterns and is easy to apply and remove.
  • Wall Decals: Perfect for adding fun shapes or quotes.
  • Fabric: Use starch to attach lightweight fabric to your walls for a temporary pop of color.

Art and Photos

Hanging art and photos instantly makes a space feel lived-in. Use command hooks or other non-damaging hanging solutions. Mix framed photos with canvas art and maybe even some DIY pieces.

Optimize Your Furniture Arrangement


Space-Saving Ideas

Rentals can sometimes be smaller than ideal. Here are some ways to maximize space:

  • Multi-functional Furniture: Look for pieces that serve more than one purpose, like a sofa bed or a storage ottoman.
  • Vertical Storage: Use tall bookshelves or wall-mounted shelves to free up floor space.
  • Under-Bed Storage: Great for storing off-season clothes or extra bedding.

Cozy Corners

Create cozy nooks with comfortable seating, a good lamp, and some throws and pillows. This can be a reading corner, a breakfast nook, or just a spot to relax.

Light It Up

Layered Lighting

Good lighting can transform a room. Aim for a mix of ambient, task, and accent lighting:

  • Ambient: Overhead lights or floor lamps that illuminate the whole room.
  • Task: Desk lamps, reading lights, or kitchen counter lights for specific activities.
  • Accent: String lights, candles, or small lamps to add a warm glow.

Natural Light

Don’t forget about natural light. Use light, airy curtains that let in as much daylight as possible. Mirrors can also help reflect light and make a room feel brighter and more spacious.

Add Personal Touches


Soft furnishings can make a huge difference:

  • Rugs: Define different areas in an open space and add warmth.
  • Cushions and Throws: Mix and match different textures and patterns for a cozy feel.
  • Curtains: Change out the standard rental blinds for curtains that reflect your style.


Plants not only improve air quality but also add life to a space. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, there are plenty of low-maintenance options like succulents, snake plants, or pothos.

Respect the Rules


Communication with Your Landlord

Always check your lease and communicate with your landlord before making any significant changes. Many landlords are open to reasonable modifications, especially if they improve the property.

Reversible Changes

Focus on changes that can be easily reversed. Use removable adhesives and avoid drilling holes whenever possible. This will save you time and stress when it’s time to move out.

Final Thoughts

Making a rental feel like home is all about adding your personal touch without causing permanent changes. With a bit of creativity and some smart choices, you can create a space that feels just right. Enjoy making your rental your own little haven!