Tuesday, 28 May 2013

{how to} put down your roots in a rental

In the two years that I have been married I have never lived in a permanent home. In our first year, we had a twelve month lease in married dorms. We knew we had exactly a year in our tiny apartment (approximately 400 square feet!) After a four month stint at my Mom's house after Penelope was born, we moved into our current apartment. It is beautiful and perfect for our family, right now. Again, we know that this is not a permanent place for us, since we'd like to grow our family and eventually live above ground!

So how do you put your roots down in a home when you know you'll only be there for a year or two (or for some, even less!) When you're on a tight budget, it's hard to imagine spending money on a place that is so impermanent. In other cases (like ours), you can't paint and are limited in the amount of nails you can put in the wall.

1. Keep things clean and fresh.
I think some renters have in their minds that since it's not their home, and they won't be there long, there is no point in keeping things clean. I try to treat my home like it's my own, even though it technically isn't. I clean my house often, I declutter as much as possible, and I respect the place I live. I think this is important as a tenant, and important for your own sanity as a human-being!

2. Have a spot for everything.
Have a spot for your books, keep your cupboards organized, and keep things in place as often as possible. Having a house that feels like a home just makes life feel cozier. I even have a space for my library books (and I'm looking to buy a little crate to put them in). Things like that just help you to take "ownership" of the place that you live.

3. Fill your walls.
Honestly, this is a huge thing for me. Especially if you can't paint, putting up pictures and other things on your wall helps to fill the space and make it your own. We have been really bad about this, and it makes me sad when I see all these bare walls in my house. Right now we're in the process of framing some pictures and putting them up. We also have those removable wall decals in Penelope's bedroom and playroom, which is great because they're bright and vibrant and removable!

4. Paint.
If you can, paint. I have never had the luxury of being able to choose paint colours and spend a Saturday painting my walls. This is something I seriously fantasize about. One day...

5. Get some plants.
Having some plants in your home is a great way to add life and vibrancy to your rental. We have some herbs growing in our windowsill, and I'm going to try and find another home plant for another windowsill of ours (if you have any good recommendations leave me a comment!)

6. Do some online research.
If you have the time and the desire, there are some really neat DIY's on the internet for rentals. My favourite and most comprehensive is here. I have done a small scale confetti wall mural, and today I am planning on hanging up some pictures using hemp cord and clothes pins.

In the end, if I've got my husband's laughter and my daughter's giggles filling the room, that is enough to remind me that I'm exactly where I need to be: home.

(1) home office
(2) organized kitchen
(3) simple photo wall
(4) plants


  1. Orchids are great house plants! They are pretty and require not a lot of care (3 ice cubes once a week). They come in beautiful colours and are pretty reasonably priced (under $20.00 at Home Depot, Wal-Mart or Canadian Tire)

    1. thanks for that! I love orchids and have often wondered if they can live long..sounds like they can! I'll have to pick one up soon! :)

  2. Love, love, LOVE this post! Hubby and I are currently in the process of moving to our third rental since being married. Our last place I definitely failed at making it feel our own... I plan on changing that this time! I'm honestly going to follow ALL your tips! Another idea I am going to try is to go thrifting and garage saleing as much as possible for fun pillows, art pieces/wall hangings, etc.

    Thanks so much for the tips!!

    1. awww...3 houses is a lot..I feel you. We are in the same boat (if you count my mom's place, which we couldn't "nest" in at all!) I just put some pictures up and I honestly feel so much better! so funny! and yes garage sales are an amazing option! a ton of our furniture is from garage sales and kijiji (and the rest is from ikea..lol!)

    2. Haha yup! Kijiji is great! We just found our bed set and couch from there! Still lookin for a kitchen table! And we have an ikea trip planned for next week! :-)

  3. Ha we are going on rental 6 in september..... 2 years married..... oh coop school schedules what fun ;)