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Simple Tips for Making Your Apartment Feel Like Home (Decor Ideas, Activities, and More!)

new apartment

When you first move into a new place, it can feel a little foreign and unfamiliar. There may also be a feeling of impermanence, especially if you’re used to owning a property. This can be frustrating at any age, especially when you’re trying to unpack, set everything up, and get settled in. 

Luckily, these feelings of unease are completely normal and easily fixed. While you may be “just renting,” it is still the home you live in. Due to the rental nature, there will be certain limits to what you’re able to do to the space, but don’t let that take over your mindset.

You can still make it yours and transform it into a space you love to be in and welcome friends and family into. Who says you can’t have the best dinner party around? 

Let’s get cracking…

15 Easy Decorating Tips to Make Your New Apartment Feel Like Home

1. Unpack sentimental items first.

Unpacking your sentimental items is the absolute first thing you should do when you move into your new apartment. Nothing will help you feel more at home than taking out your framed photos, beloved artwork, travel souvenirs, hand-made birthday gifts from loved ones, family heirlooms, and anything else that makes your heart feel warm. 

Any items that have always been in your home, no matter where that home was, can immediately make you feel that you are where you belong. 

2. Paint a wall.

Luckily, most apartments these days are completely fine with you changing the colors of the walls as long as you paint them back to the original color when you decide to end your lease. 

This means you can take a trip to the paint store and pick your favorite color or a new one that makes you feel excited, inspired, or relaxed. Painting a whole apartment though can be a big undertaking that makes you feel more stressed than anything else. That is why we suggest you go for an accent wall. Often, the wall behind where your TV will be makes a great spot for extra color. 

While you are completely free to choose whatever color your heart desires, there are some standard colors that are great for accents such as olive green, off-black, royal or dark blue, rusty red-orange, pastel yellow, and dark purple. For a detailed breakdown and color examples, this article here is a great one to check out

3. Set up your scent.

It is well-known how deeply scent ties to our memory and emotions. Did you ever wear a specific perfume on a trip and now every time you smell it, you are brought back to that time and place? Or whenever you smell grass, do you think of your garden or when you use to play outside as a kid? Certain smells can quickly trigger positive emotions and boost our mood. 

On a much broader note, we all have particular scents that we enjoy, such as cotton or lavender. Pick up some candles, incense, oils, or sprays in a scent you love and spread it through your home. As the aromas fill up your space, it will put you at ease every time you walk through the front door. 

4. Explore the neighborhood. 

Often the key to feeling at home within your four walls is being familiar and comfortable with what’s surrounding those walls. The best way to do this is to get out there and explore your new neighborhood

This could be as simple as taking an afternoon stroll. You could even spend a whole week where each day at 3:00 PM you take a walk down a different street or new area. Don’t be afraid to grab a bite to eat at a new place! 

If your new apartment is in a more secluded area, you might have to take a short drive before you can walk. Depending on the area you are in, there might even be some nice nature trails you can enjoy. 

5. Have a house-warming party

Want to make your new apartment feel less new? Invite a bunch of friends over!

One of the best ways to warm up a space is to have a house-warming party. It is an opportunity to get excited about doing something (that’s not unpacking) in your new home, and that feeling can be a real game-changer. It might also inspire you to put up some seasonal decor which never fails to bring a smile.

6. Get your furniture the way you want it.

Even if you have to call in help from family, friends, or neighbors, it’s important to put in the effort and take the time when you first move in to get your furniture arranged the way you want it. 

A comfortable and easy to maneuver layout can make your new apartment immediately feel like a home as well as make the unpacking process much more enjoyable. 

7. Cook a meal. 

Nothing says being home more than getting into your kitchen and cookin’ dinner. What’s more normal than that?

Cooking one of your favorite or regular meals can help you feel like yourself, in a space that is yours. 

8. Hang family photos. 

Utilizing pictures of your loved ones as decor will make you feel at ease in your living room and bedroom. Especially if they are the same pictures you’ve always had hanging around. 

9. Get rid of the moving boxes as fast as you can.

Even if you’re not fully done unpacking, empty out those bland, cardboard moving boxes and toss them in recycling or put them away in storage. 

Nothing can make you feel out of place more than piles of boxes everywhere. Not to mention, clutter can increase feelings of anxiousness especially if your someone who likes to keep things tidy. Obviously, when you’re moving into a new, place, there will be mess, but the more you can minimize it, the better!

10. Get your internet/wifi set up. 

Being able to easily access the internet as you get settled in is very important. Making sure you have WiFi is one of the items you should do on your first official day in the apartment. This way, you can engage in normal activities such as chat with loved ones, watch football, listen to music, catch up on your TV show, and so on. 

11. Hang curtains.

Most apartments already have blinds installed for all of the windows, but not often curtains. Along with blocking light and offering privacy, currents can add a lot of charm and comfort to every room in the apartment. 

We suggest you use long curtains that touch the floor, it will have a lengthening effect that makes your ceilings feel higher.  

12. Meet the neighbors. 

Taking the first step to meet and connect with your neighbors can really make a positive impact on how you feel in your new apartment. 

If you aren’t the biggest fan of new social situations, just try to introduce yourself to the person who lives next to you or across the hall. Knowing a name and a face can help you feel more comfortable. 

13. Use the apartment amenities. 

Similar to exploring the neighborhood, explore your new community! You live in an apartment now, which means there are a plethora of amenities, so go ahead and check them out!

Amenities are one of the biggest perks of living in an apartment community; it’s why so many active adults choose to rent at a community such as RiverWalk Flats

14. Read a book on the couch. 

It often takes being still in your new home for it to feel like home. Moving in can feel like a whirlwind and it’s important to take a pause, even if you still have unpacking to do.

Pick the room that you feel most relaxed in, sit down in a comfortable spot, and read a book. While your mind might get lost in the story, your body will grow more accustomed to being in your new space.  

15. Add plants. 

There’s something about adding fresh, green leaves to a space that makes it feel bright and full of life! If you’ve ever seen a staged apartment or house, there were likely lots of plants and that’s because plants immediately communicate a feeling of growth and excitement. Do the same for your new home!

It’s okay if you don’t have a green thumb. There are many indoor plants that are incredibly easy to take care of such as jade plant, asparagus fern, yucca, and Chinese money plant. If you’d like more options, here’s a great list. 

An Apartment is a Home

Don’t let yourself get stuck on the fact that you are renting your apartment. That doesn’t change the fact that it is your home and it is the place you will be making so many new memories. 

With a few changes, your new apartment will quickly feel like home. 


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