Some of these ideas might be counterintuitive, but they’ll make a huge difference in the way you feel about your rental home.
The human mind is a fascinatingly complicated thing that pulls a lot of tricks on itself. One of the more commonplace is to unconsciously treat something you’re borrowing — or renting — as though it’s less important to you than something you own. A corollary to that: a tendency to act less like The Boss in a place you’re renting. Fortunately, there are some powerful tricks you can use to get that ‘I’m the Boss’ feeling back and start feeling like your rental home is a place of power.
Take Visual Control
This has nothing to do with decorating — ‘visual control’ in this case means that you only control what you can see. So set yourself up to see the major entrance of the room from wherever you usually stand or sit within that room. This can mean:
- Putting a large mirror in front of the kitchen sink so you can easily see the entrance(s) to the kitchen.
- Turning your computer desk around so that your chair is between the desk and the wall, and you can glance up from your screen and see the entrance to the room.
- Setting up your TV in a corner of the room on the same wall as the entrance so that you can see both from your spot on the couch.
- Putting your dining room table at an angle so the chair that you’re most likely to sit in (the one that’s easiest to access from the kitchen, for most single folks) has a clear view of the doorway in from the living room.
Worthify Your Space
Another significant element in feeling powerful at home is feeling like your home itself is worthy — and that means making your home a place that feels plentiful, customized, and valued. For example, you could:
- Put up large mirrors on the walls opposite the biggest windows of the living, dining, and bedrooms — the reflected light makes the space feel brighter and the reflected square footage makes it feel bigger.
- Use art or other removable décor (or if necessary ask permission to repaint) and make the walls and ceiling of a room lighter than the floor. This makes a room feel larger and more inviting.
- Install devices to add pleasant backgrounds for your senses. A small tinkling fountain, a plug-in aromatherapy unit, an easy-to-care-for larger plant (like a Fiddle-Leaf Fig), and a few small inexpensive uplights behind the furniture in the corners can transform a bland living room into a dramatically satisfying place to, well, live.
- Keep it clean, organized, and efficient. It’s easy to adapt to a mess and stop consciously thinking about it — but it still weighs on your senses. Reduce your cognitive load by keeping you space clean and organized, and your ability to feel capable and competent inside your own four walls will thank you.
There’s a big difference between owning a home and being The Boss of a space. You don’t need to be one to be the other — you just need to practice a rare and powerful skill: the skill of taking control. Good luck!