“Wherever I lay my hat, that’s my home”. You said it, Paul Young. But the problem is, many people who live in temporary accommodation – such as expats who move overseas for a few years, or those who rent and move around a lot – don’t take the time to make their ‘today’ house, their home. These are some of the common excuses:
‘It’s Not Mine So Why Improve It’
There’s a common belief from renters and expats that there’s no point in improving your temporary house because you’ll only be there for a few years. It’s not your property so why spend the money on it.
I’m a strong believer in ‘if you hate it, change it’. You should always ask your landlord/Agent if you have permission to make small changes (you don’t want to lose your bond), but if there is a crack in the wall that annoys you or if the kitchen cupboard doors are loose, fix it yourself!
‘I’m Only Here For a While So I Can’t Be Bothered Making It Look Nice’To me, this is the laziest excuse. Some people don’t make an effort because they don’t intend on staying in one place for very long. Did you know that living in a clean, lovely environment actually reduces stress? Recent studies have shown that looking at something beautiful makes us happy, stimulating dopamine and even inducing the same brain activity as being in love. If you get your home right, you get a love-high - or at least an enormous sense of belonging and relief - just from stepping through the door.
How to turn your rented house into a home
- If your furniture is looking worse for wear but you can’t yet invest in upgrading it, use neutral throws to cover it up
- Painting a room white and changing light fittings can really help improve the expat house or rental property without costing a fortune
- Introduce loads of indoor plants (and try to keep them alive). Greenery hides a plethora of ugly-house sins
- Art in all sizes is the best way to bring your personality to your home. Group pieces together, create a gallery wall, stack it on the floor. In my view, you can never have enough art that you love.
- Apart from art, resist the urge to buy too much. You’re a citizen of the world and you’ll probably be on the move again soon. So own less, but have the best.
Our society is changing. It’s getting harder to buy your own property and people are living in rented or temporary accommodation for longer. You can’t wait for your ‘one day house’. Your home should be a story of who you are and be a collection of what you love, now. Creating a home that actually feels like home, like a sanctuary, is vital for our mental health - no matter how long we intend on living in that place. So today’s mission: go forth and make your rented apartment as fabulous as it can be.