How to Make an Apartment Feel Like Home

In the last seven years since I graduated high school and left home, I have lived in seven different apartments. Yes that is right….SEVEN! I feel like I am a master at apartment living.  With all that moving most people find that it isn’t worth settling down and really turning your apartment into what you might call home. I completely disagree. After a hard day of work, projects, midterms, and stress, you need a place of refuge to relax and unwind!

I have gone from living in a pre-furnished apartment with five other girls to having an apartment with my own little family. Throughout all of these apartments I have always been told that it feels like home, which, in my opinion, is the best compliment I can get! There are a few little tricks to really transform any apartment into your own personal oasis.

3M Command Hooks

I know this seems like a silly trick, but these things are my all time favorite! Several of the apartments I have lived in do not allow larger holes to be nailed or drilled into the wall. My favorite things to do with these is actually to install curtain rods using a very large command hook rather than the wall bracket that comes with the curtain rod (Disclaimer: These stay up well when they are not pulled on, now with a little kid running around I’ve pulled out the big guns and installed the actual bracket with screws). These are obviously great for displaying lighter framed pictures, but I have also used them for hanging up a ceiling lamp. It sounds crazy… but it works!



This is one of my very first apartments (pre furnished with six girls) where you were not allowed to nail into the wall. Almost everything is held up with 3M hooks, including the curtains and lamp over the table.


Since I have never been in an apartment where I have been allowed to paint, I have found that adding some curtains to the windows make SUCH a huge difference in breaking up the plain white walls. Although I have typically gone with lighter sheer curtains because I feel like a lot of apartments tend to not get a ton of light, this is also a great place to add much needed color to the space. Be sure to refer to this blog post for the right way to hang curtains. 




Just like curtains, rugs are a great way to add some softness, color, and personality to an apartment. Finding a great rug can even help to distinguish separate spaces since I am almost always forced to squish a dining room and living room into one tiny space. This also is an excellent way to focus your space planning as you arrange a room. There are a lot of great places to purchase rugs without breaking the bank, like, Ross, and TJ Maxx.

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This is simple… Apartments are small. Mirrors can help to expand the limited light and space that you are working with. Over the sofa, at the end of a hallway, in the entryway… Mirrors can help in so many places!



Framed Pictures

While my sister filled every inch of her bedroom with NSYNC posters as a teenager, I always had a rule that I would not put up a picture unless it was framed. I know, I was probably such a boring child. I think having your pictures framed rather than thumb tacked to a wall is a great way for it to look like a mature adult is occupying your apartment, while still making it your own.



Personalize and Accessorize

Just because you are in an apartment does not mean that you cannot make it your own! Little details make a huge difference. Place a vase of flowers on the table, sew up some fun throw pillows for the couch, find some groovy table lamps that you absolutely love. Heck, I took what I already had (a bookshelf full of books) and decided to organize them by color. Everytime I look at my personalized rainbow of books it puts a smile on my face! Have fun and fill the apartment with things that you love!

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3 thoughts on “How to Make an Apartment Feel Like Home

  1. Sandy

    i, too, lived for years in apts. and military family housing, and since then have worked in a paint department in a college town and advised young people in dorms what could be done to liven them up without damage. The 3M hooks are wonderful, and so is self stick Velcro (peanut butter will take that adhesive off quite easily. I didn’t even think about holding curtain rods or ceiling pendant lights up with them though 🙂 nice idea and one I will definitely pass on.
    Other ideas to try that work well is to use fabric (pre-washed 100% cotton is best, which includes 1000s of quilting fabrics, denim, corduroy and flannel even)) as a “wallpaper” and liquid starch as the “adhesive”. With a paint roller, roll the liquid starch liberally onto the wall as well as onto the back of the fabric, let it sit til it gets tacky on both of them and then “hang” the fabric and let finish drying. When it’s time to leave just peel the fabric off (grab one of the top corners and pull-will come off cleanly) and washing the wall down will get rid of the starch on it. You can even throw the fabric lengths in the wash to get the starch out of it, fold it and take it with you 🙂 Several of the girls in the dorms have done this and it turned out well for them. Another suggestion that some of “my girls” have taken, is to purchase a couple of sheets of 4’x8′ MDF board at the hardware store (its very thin and lightweight) and prime and paint That and then lean it up against the walls, or put velcro at all 4 corners to keep it in place against the wall. The girls also liked that they could bolt lightweight things to the MDF (bolts and nuts) before they leaned it and that would work as well. A couple of them cut the tops in fancy shapes, primed them in magnetic primer, painted them in vivid chalkboard paint and used them as headboards on the wall behind their beds…they could then hang artwork with magnets on it as well as draw/write on them with chalk.
    Both ideas work well when you can’t paint or mar the walls…Just thought i would chime in a couple more ideas 🙂 Thanks.


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