5 Ways to Make Your Rental a Home

Living in a rental can be a beautiful thing. It offers the freedom to bounce from place to place, and the opportunity to get a feel for different neighborhoods and buildings. And let's be honest, life happens, and breaking a lease takes less time than selling a home! But temporariness is both apartment-living’s key virtue and downfall. And you’re not alone if you moved in six months ago and have yet to feel truly settled. Read on for five ways to make your rental a home.

1. Plants

A bit of green truly brings a space to life. Even the plant-challenged can find success with a few small succulents and cacti. These cheerful guys are low-maintenance and can spawn more plants. Quick tip: cut a three to four-inch branch off a healthy jade plant, let it dry for one to two weeks, plant it in some cactus potting mix (make sure the container has a drainage hole), and watch it take off. Green thumbs for all!


Metallic Crackle Herb Pot, Anthropologie, $68

Metallic Crackle Herb Pot, Anthropologie, $68

Modern Ceramic Planter, Target, $5

Modern Ceramic Planter, Target, $5

Mod Metal Planter, Urban Outfitters, $10

Mod Metal Planter, Urban Outfitters, $10


2. Art

Instagram Mini in our Irvine frame with a white mat. | Via @itslindak

Instagram Mini in our Irvine frame with a white mat. | Via @itslindak

Your furniture may be of the IKEA fare, but your personal memories aren’t, so incorporate them into your space to make it your own. Whether print or digital, we started this business to make it easier for people to frame and display the things they love. And if you’re leery of putting holes in your walls, you have options: large prints can look great when simply leaned up against a wall.


"Skulls" by A House in the Hills, $25-$350

"Skulls" by A House in the Hills, $25-$350

"Miss Jade" by Hilde Mork, $89

"Miss Jade" by Hilde Mork, $89

"Breakthrough" by Samantha French, $48-$200

"Breakthrough" by Samantha French, $48-$200


3. Lighting

Map and matchbooks float mounted in our Irvine Slim frame | Via @sfgirlbybay

Map and matchbooks float mounted in our Irvine Slim frame | Via @sfgirlbybay

Leaf prints in our Richmond frame with white mats | Via @amanda_holstein

Leaf prints in our Richmond frame with white mats | Via @amanda_holstein

Mercer slim frame with no mat. 

Mercer slim frame with no mat. 

A typical rental will come with some track lighting or one of those mammary-like overheads. Do not settle for these. Invest in lamps and candles. Bonus: they're easy to move with. Having a variety of lighting schemes can create depth and texture. Pause to imagine yourself curled up under lamplight with a good book. Sigh.


Nova Table Lamp, West Elm, $103

Nova Table Lamp, West Elm, $103

Antique Brass Floor Lamp, Target, $72

Antique Brass Floor Lamp, Target, $72

Morgan Metal Desk Lamp, CB2, $200

Morgan Metal Desk Lamp, CB2, $200


4. Paint

Landscape photo in our Marin frame with a white mat | Via @freshexchange

Landscape photo in our Marin frame with a white mat | Via @freshexchange

Photo in our Irvine Slim frame with no mat | Via @nickisebastian

Photo in our Irvine Slim frame with no mat | Via @nickisebastian

Landscape photo in our Marin frame with a white mat | Via @alainakaz

Landscape photo in our Marin frame with a white mat | Via @alainakaz

Yes, the white-washed look is in, but it’s not for everyone. With $50 and a few weekend hours, you can dramatically transform your space with a vibrant cobalt or dove gray. If a lease agreement stipulates walls must be painted back before moving out, try doing one or two accent walls.


Palladian Blue, Benjamin Moore

Palladian Blue, Benjamin Moore

Essential Gray, Sherwin-Williams

Essential Gray, Sherwin-Williams

Hale Navy, Benjamin Moore

Hale Navy, Benjamin Moore


5. Small Furniture

Prints by Amaryllis Truth in our Irvine Slim frame with a white mat

Prints by Amaryllis Truth in our Irvine Slim frame with a white mat

In an interview with Business Insider, interior designer Nina Etnier says rental living shouldn’t deter you from acquiring beautiful furnishings. But carefully consider the kinds of furnishings you spend your money on. "I wouldn't invest a lot in things that you can't take with you," Etnier says. Choose "a beautiful side table, a nice dresser, coffee tables—pieces that are going to work wherever you land.” Great advice.


Parquet Side Table, Target, $76

Parquet Side Table, Target, $76

Terrace Side Table, West Elm, $299

Terrace Side Table, West Elm, $299

Nolita Side Table, CB2, $149

Nolita Side Table, CB2, $149


We want to see how you make your space feel like home sweet home. Don't forget to share photos of your freshly customized rental with us on Instagram.