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Anyone who has moved or built a new home can tell you that the process is anything but seamless. Sure, you might hear from the one unicorn homeowner who made everything work perfectly but, in most cases, moving can be complicated and messy. There might be a gap between when an old home is sold and the new home is ready, or construction completion dates can be delayed. In these instances, a temporary living space might be the only option. Whether it’s moving in with family or a short-term lease, making a temporary situation feel like home can be tricky. If you’re not staying for long, it can be a struggle to get comfortable. But you don’t need to feel like a long-term guest. Make anywhere feel like home with a few genius tips.A corkboard quickly brightens up a room and keeps it organized. Image: Africa Studio/Shutterstock
1. Utilize Removable Decor
Okay, so you’re not going to paint the walls or refinish the floors. But just because a temporary living space’s decor isn’t exactly your taste doesn’t mean you have to live with it. By bringing in a few removable pieces, you can perk up a space with your unique style. One of the best ways to make a space feel like home is with a big cork board. You can add things like pictures, memorabilia and even cute decor items you’ve picked up for your permanent space. Decorate the cork board and place it prominently and you’ll have a little bit of home.
You can also bring in smaller pieces that you’re planning to put in your permanent place. A couple of lamps or a vase can go a long way in warming up a space and making it feel like you. Just skip the oversized decor pieces. Larger pieces of furniture like couches or tables will just make moving day trickier.
2. Edit Your Clothes
A temporary living space can make you feel like you’re a guest, no matter where you’re staying. Living out of a disorganized suitcase or searching through storage boxes to find your favorite shirt only makes it worse. While you might not want to move all of your clothes into a temporary closet, you can make day-to-day life easier by editing your clothing. Consider the season and the stuff you wear the most. Then, choose a week or two’s worth of clothes and accessories and put the rest in storage. Having fewer clothes might not be ideal, but it can help you settle in, hang a few things up and keep your clothes organized and neat. No moving box wrinkles here!
3. Pick Three Appliances
Some temporary living spaces come with appliances and some don’t. Either way, you can save yourself a lot of headache by keeping your temporary kitchen limited to three or four of your favorite appliances. Choose your most-used kitchen must-haves and limit how much you’ll have to move when it’s time to fly the coop. A few smaller appliances you love can also help you feel more at home in your temporary living space. You might be able to live without your blender or adapt to using someone else’s, but if your morning coffee is your sanctuary, definitely bring your coffee maker along. That way, whether it’s a couple of weeks or a couple of months, you won’t have to do without your favorite cup of joe made just the way you like it.
4. Find Temporary Furniture
Moving is hard on furniture — just ask anyone who’s scratched their favorite armoire in the process. Don’t risk the wear and tear on your favorite pieces by getting temporary furniture in the meantime. While many temporary living spaces come furnished, you can add pieces as you need by checking online for temporary options. Need a nightstand? Check Craigslist or Freecycle for cheap options that you can live with for now. Then, when it’s time to move to your permanent space, you can pass on the pieces to someone else without worrying about scratches or dents. Your real favorites will stay safe in storage and can be moved directly into your new home — no harm, no foul.
5. Keep Decor Functional
A temporary living space doesn’t have to be dreary, but you might think twice about form and function when setting it up. Don’t make extra work for yourself by moving in a bunch of decorative items you’ll just have to move out again. Instead, choose decor pieces that function in other ways. A fruit bowl, for example, adds a much-needed pop of color while keeping healthy options front and center. A cute basket by the front door personalizes a space while helping you keep keys organized in an unfamiliar space. Even a low chest can pull double duty as a coffee table and a place to stash stuff in limbo. Make sure the decor you do bring in can do more than just sit and look pretty.
6. Personalize the Space
Your temporary living space might not look like home but there’s no reason it can’t feel like home. Don’t feel guilty about adding a few things that make the space more familiar, even if you’re staying with friends or family. No one will object to a few pictures, of course, but you can also add temporary things. Textiles, like throw pillows or comfy blankets, are a great way to add personality and texture. Or use a candle that you used to have in your old home. The scent will make the space feel more familiar and help you weather the wait between temporary and permanent.
A temporary living space is less than ideal, but it’s important to remember it’s just that: temporary. Even if it’s not a perfect situation, it won’t last forever. Do your best to make a space comfortable and, no matter where you are,’ll feel a little like home.