We’ve all heard the saying “There’s no place like home.” But what makes the difference between a simple place to sleep and an abode where you feel you genuinely belong, especially if you’re only there for a short time?
A home is more than just four walls and a roof; it should be a true headquarters where you can retreat, settle down, and charge your batteries, no matter whether you rent, own, or are between places.
Studies have shown that children who live in positive home environments perform better academically. Home affects working professionals in much the same way, so it’s critical to ensure that you make your living space feel like home, regardless of its duration.
Living in a temporary space can be born out of a number of situations: Renovations on your current home, extended visits to an area, a new job, or even a short-term consulting gig could land you in makeshift digs with limited time to add homey touches. Even so, DIYers can transform their living spaces in several ways to create a sense of ownership. You want your home to feel authentically “you.”
A rental can provide the benefits of a permanent dwelling if you put in the effort. Try these techniques to create the satisfaction of home, even if you’ll only stay a short while:
1. Consider the Furnishings
In the case of temporary housing, furnished spaces are popular, especially for businesspeople on extended trips. Consider the furnishings already put in place by the landlord when you’re searching for short-term options. Any rental can be enhanced with personal touches, but if the pre-existing couches and coffee tables give you that warm and cozy feeling, much of the work has been done for you.
2. Display Your Personal Touch
Keep your personal items on display. Photographs and artwork help you feel secure in your own space and reinforce pleasant memories. Your favorite blanket might be a little frayed at the edges, but keeping around those little reminders of home can make even the dullest rental feel like your own charming nook.
3. Keep Things Fresh
Your move-in day furniture configuration might not be the optimal setup for an extended stay. Many people just leave things as they are, even if they don’t make sense. Get creative! Move your furniture around and try new floor plans until you find the arrangement that feels the most like home. If the property owner lets you, go one step further and paint the walls.
4. Stay Organized
If you let dishes pile up and watch garbage and dirty laundry overflow, your living space will become more of a burden than a refuge. Organization can be especially important when your space is limited, so keep your area at least semi-neat. You don’t have to cover the couch in plastic, but you should at least be able to remember what the carpet looks like.
5. Let There Be Light
Many smaller rentals and temporary spaces don’t provide overhead lighting, and one lamp usually doesn’t do much to dispel the darkness. Get a few good light sources and place them strategically to illuminate your space and make your home feel less cave-like.
“Home” can mean different things to different people, but the idea is universally linked to comfort, safety, and community. Don’t hesitate to put a little work into your temporary residence — with some creativity and elbow grease, any living space can feel like a real home.
Author Bio: David Adams is the founder of HomeSuite, an online marketplace for temporary furnished housing that uses technology, data, and customer service to provide the best possible experience for tenants and landlords.