How I Make a Furnished Apartment feel like Home

Here I am in year two of living in Spain. I’ve signed a lease and moved into a room, rather than a whole apartment. Not only does this save me a ridiculous amount of hassle dealing with utilities and internet, it also saves me the money it would take to furnish. Both of my rooms have come, rather institutionally, furnished. While not every single thing is to my taste, I have more or less immediately figured out a way to make these rooms feel like home to me. How did I do it? Here are some of my tips.


  1. Use your best Feng Shui Skills before unpacking – right off the bat, move any furniture you can to make the room more usable for you. For me, I always want my desk to be at the window. In this room, I also moved the dresser to next to the closet (which just makes sense to me). The space feels a lot less cramped than it did when I first visited. I did the same thing with my last room which was similarly not using space well at all. The one thing I will say is that sometimes these changes require a certain amount of extension cord magic if sockets are limited but they make a world of difference.IMG_2426
  2. Good bedding – I am such a proponent of having good bedding. This includes but isn’t limited to quality pillows, plush comforters, warm blankets and – my personal favorite – all things heated. I brought it all with me from my last place. Even though right now it’s like a million degrees here, I know I’ll appreciate this in the winter especially. But even now, I love having a tidy and inviting bed to fling myself into at the end of the day.7589904384_IMG_0612
  3. Pictures of things that make you happy – So of course, this one sounds obvious. Hang photos of your family and friends. But I also think there’s something to be said for how you display them. I use this sort of mini trellis from Ikea to hang photos as well as random cards and drawings from my friends and family. I also have a couple of framed pictures – both gifts from my sister – that I make a sort of decorative scene with. Finally, I have my own watercolor map of Europe which I painted myself. It’s not professional but damn it — I’m proud of it. I want to have these things out. They aren’t clutter, they are just enough personality to make me feel like home.
  4. Table Lighting – This is one that I have to 100% credit my friend and former roommate, Julie, for sucking me into. I think a room is far cozier when you use table rather than overhead lighting. It just feels a little warmer and more personal. So yeah, now I always make sure to have a couple of table lamps I can use instead of using the evil overhead lighting fixture.
  5. Rainbow order everything – This one is personal. I love it when things are in rainbow order. It just makes me happy especially since both rooms I’ve lived in have been overwhelmingly white. Since I have limited storage, I want things to be accessible and functional. My closet, my markers, my washi tape are all in rainbow order to make it easier for me to find things quickly. But also it just looks adorable.
  6. Reusing the same organization – I have this little set of drawers from Ikea which I brought from my last room in Zaragoza. I have them organized extremely similarly with a couple of changes to suit this space. I keep my makeup and art supplies in the exact same way as before using the same acrylic drawer dividers. I think my new roommates thought I was crazy for bring a (small) piece of furniture to a furnished space but honestly, it works for me.

So, those are some of the ways I used a limited budget and resources to make my own little home. I’m definitely a fan of nesting – I think it makes us more comfortable and productive. What are some of the ways that you make your bland rental reflect your personality? Let me know in the comments if you have any tips!

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