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One of the most exciting things for me about moving is living in a different house, because I love to imagine what it will look like once we have moved our belongings into it. One of the toughest things about moving, though, is making our new house a home.
To be completely honest, I really struggled when we moved into our current home in Iowa because our previous home on Fort Knox was an absolute dream. When we did our initial walk-through and accepted the keys for the Fort Knox home, I remember thinking that it would be tough to leave it someday – and it was! That home was fairly new and was well-maintained before we moved in. Our home in Iowa is a different story. I remember asking my husband soon after we moved here if it would ever feel like home.
Over 5 months after the big move from Kentucky to Iowa, our rental cottage and Iowa in general are finally feeling like home. Below are some tips on how to make a temporary house into a home.
Decorate with a theme in mind.
Even though my husband and I chose not to paint the walls of our rental home, we still decorated with a theme and color scheme in mind. For example, our master bedroom has a color scheme of light gray and white. I can overlook the baby blue walls and powder blue carpets because I can see my vision elsewhere.
Use lamps, mirrors, curtains, and rugs to disguise problem areas.
As I previously mentioned, our current master bedroom has powder blue carpets. Since the color does not suit our taste, we plan to disguise some of that unique carpet with a rug as soon as I find a rug that I love.
Our living room is incredibly dark. It feels like a dungeon. As much as I would love to have a living room with a lot of windows, that’s just not feasible in this house. Instead, I added a lamp in the corner to bring in extra light. On particularly sunny days, I open the curtains to bring in as much sunshine as I can.
Additionally, displaying mirrors can help a small space feel bigger and curtains can add a pop of color to otherwise white walls.
Our master bedroom in the Fort Knox home
DIY or pick furniture pieces that you really love.
Since all of our furniture goes with us every time we move, it is one of the few things that we have control over in our house. When we first settled into our house, we opted to buy or DIY furniture pieces that fit my vision of each room. When we were gifted a plain wooden bookshelf, I painted it white for my gold/black/white office.
That said, it is important to buy furniture pieces that will fit well in any future houses. When we bought our new sofa, the salesman tried to talk us into buying a sectional sofa, or at least a matching recliner. We didn’t even consider these options because we knew that we might not be able to fit them in the next house (or the one after that.)
Swap out the showerhead and buy nice, white towels.
There is nothing I love more than a nice, hot shower, but every single place we’ve lived in has had a “standard grade” showerhead. Those are great at getting me clean, but not so great at giving me the “spa-like feeling” I want in my bathroom. For just 30 dollars, I bought a new “luxury” showerhead and it has changed my world. Along those same lines, the majority of my bath towels are the fluffy, pretty, white ones that you would find at a spa. Even if your bathroom is far from serene, these two small changes make a world of difference.
Incorporate personalized touches.
The photos and artwork I hang on the walls are the biggest things that make my house my “home”. Hanging these pieces on the walls is one of the first things I do in a house, even before I finish unpacking all of the boxes. Seeing photos of my loved ones on the walls helps me feel more at home in a new house.
Get to know the neighborhood.
One of the things that helped me feel more comfortable when we first moved to Iowa was getting to know our new town, and specifically our new neighborhood. Taking our dog on walks really helped us learn our way around the neighborhood and also provided great opportunities to introduce ourselves to neighbors.
Protect yourself and your belongings.
Because my husband is currently on recruiting duty, we don’t have the luxury of living on a military base or even in a military community. He works long days and frequently spends time away from home for Temporary Duty Assignments (TDY), so it was important for us to pick a rental house that I feel safe and comfortable in when I’m alone. With our landlord’s approval, we opted to install a renter-friendly home security system. Since it’s not hardwired into the house, we can take it with us when we move.
We also made sure our renter insurance policy was up-to-date. Should the unthinkable happen, we want to know that we can afford to replace our belongings. Purchasing a renter insurance policy was a great decision because we can rest assured that we will be able to replace our belongings if they are ever stolen or damaged.
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