9 Ways to Make a New Rental Feel Like Home

Guide Articles Jun 16, 2022

Moving into a new rental is an exciting time. But once the excitement of moving day has worn off, it can feel more like you’re living in a hotel than your own home.

Boxes everywhere, large empty spaces, and a sinking feeling that your home isn’t clean can leave you feeling unsettled for days, sometimes weeks, on end.

Getting settled in a new rental takes time, but there are some things you can do to speed up the process. Filling your new flat or house with items (and people!) you love is one of the best ways to make the space your own.

If you’ve just moved in or are moving soon, keep reading to learn our top ways to make a new rental feel like a home that’ll get you settled in no time!

1. Clean From Top to Bottom

Giving your new home a good clean can make you feel proud of your space. But that’s not the only reason why cleaning it when you first move feels cathartic.

If your rental doesn’t feel like home yet, ask yourself why. Is it because there’s a lingering presence of the former tenants?

End-of-tenancy cleaning would’ve been done (which is always very intense if you want to get your deposit back in full).

But, even so, it’s hard to know what happened in the time between the previous tenants’ moving out and you moving in.

Did people viewing the property touch all the kitchen cabinets to peer inside? Were some people fondling all the taps or switching on the shower? And how many times did the landlord or letting agent use the toilet?

When you don’t feel settled yet, sometimes you just need to give everything a good clean to wipe away the old tenants and make it feel like your home.

Related article: Everything you need to know about end of tenancy cleaning

2. Cook Your Favourite Dinner

When you first move in, any spare time you have is likely filled with unpacking and buying all the things you forgot you needed ASAP.

Ordering a takeaway is probably something you’re doing more than normal.

But, as nice as it is to order in, the longer you delay cooking in your kitchen, the longer your new rental is going to feel like a holiday home.

If you want to feel more settled, skip the takeaway and cook your favourite food for dinner instead.

As you cook, you can get to know your kitchen, see if the pans feel right in the cupboards you’ve put them in, and start truly owning your new space.

Related article: 40+ first-home essentials every new renter needs

3. Create a Signature Scent

Another way to make a new rental feel like home is to create a signature scent.

Choose something that smells warm and inviting, so as soon as you walk through the door, you feel glad to be home.

Some great ways to make a house or apartment smell nice quickly and cheaply include lighting a candle, simmering a pot, or just doing your laundry!

Related article: Cheap & easy ways to make a rental apartment smell nice

4. Invite Friends & Family Round

A huge reason why your new rental may not feel like home could be because you don’t have any good memories there yet.

While hosting a housewarming party is probably the last thing on your mind (especially when you haven’t even unpacked everything yet!), don’t delay inviting 1-2 friends round for too long.

It’s tempting to put off having people round when things don’t feel tidy enough, but the truth is you may not feel “ready” for guests for months and months.

If you’re struggling to settle into your new rental, invite some friends round and start creating happy memories with the people you love. If they’re good friends, they won’t care about any mess!

Related article: 10 Questions to ask when viewing a house to rent

5. Print Photos of Happy Memories

If you can’t arrange for family and friends to visit, put up photos of them instead!

The more you fill your home with things you love, like happy memories with loved ones, the more likely it is to feel like home.

Related article: 15+ Cheap & easy decorating ideas for small rental apartments

6. Consolidate Unpacked Stuff

If you’re renting an unfurnished property, buying stuff to fill it can take time. Paying your rent deposit, booking removal vans, and sorting your rent payments is usually enough of an investment for your first few months.

This usually means that getting a proper bathroom cabinet or a shelving unit for your living room gets put on the backburner – which also means you can’t actually unpack all your boxes just yet!

If that sounds familiar, try consolidating your unpacked stuff into one area of your house or apartment.

Leaving boxes scattered around will just make your new rental feel like a work in progress, for who knows how long, and not a space you can enjoy living in.

Related article: Renting furnished vs unfurnished: What are the pros & cons?

7. Decorate Empty Walls

When you’re living in a rental, decorating can be a subject of contention.

Landlords aren’t always fond of tenants drilling holes, but doing something with those bland walls in a rental can make it feel cosier day-to-day.

If you want to do something with your empty walls, you can use rent-friendly decorating, like putting up removable wallpaper or shelving units (instead of shelves).

Or you can just drill holes in the walls anyway to hang your favourite artwork and simply fix them up before you leave.

Either way, doing something with the empty walls in your rental can make it feel more like home.

Related article: An easy step-by-step guide to fixing holes in a rental wall

8. Get a Lamp

Another way to make a new rental feel like home is to make it cosier. Adding a lamp to a living room or bedroom can be just the thing to do the trick!

Choose lighting that’ll make your bedroom feel cosy before you fall asleep. Or a lamp that’ll make the living room feel warm when you’re huddled up on the sofa, in your PJs, watching your favourite movie.

Related article: How to arrange houseplants in a living room

9. Buy Your Own Furniture

If you don’t have any furniture or anything you can truly call your own, your rental probably isn’t going to feel like home for a while.

Ditch that empty feeling and start filling your rental with some of your own furniture if you want to feel happier indoors.

Remember, buying new furniture doesn’t always have to be expensive. See if you can find something second-hand that can be upcycled for cheap.

Are You Moving Soon?

If you’re moving to a new rental, we have good news!

You no longer need to save up for a deposit every time you move.

For the first time ever, if you already have a deposit protected in a deposit scheme, you can transfer it to your next property.

A Lifetime Deposit will help you keep hold of £1,200 on average, which we think is pretty neat.

We are on a mission to help more people move, so if you are moving soon, don’t forget your Lifetime Deposit!

Get a Lifetime Deposit: Get started

Will Southall

If you're a renter, we've got your back. This corner of the Fronted site is loaded with everything from moving tips, Lifetime Deposits, and anything you need to make renting, or moving, a breeze.