Guest Blogger | How To

Making A Rental in Japan Feel More Like Home

October 8, 2015

Remember my friend Becky? She and her husband recently moved to Japan. They’re living on a Navy base with strict decorating restrictions, but she’s making the best of a tough situation and sharing how she’s making her home away from home a little bit happier.

Making a Rental Feel Like Home at BetweenWeekdays.com6

Hello BetweenWeekdays Readers!

My husband and I recently moved to Japan and into base housing. I’m not sure if you’ve ever lived in an apartment, but take decorating restrictions in a lease and multiply that by five. Being that we live in an extremely earthquake prominent area, we are not allowed to do any kind of renovations to our unit, which to my surprise includes mounting a TV or putting nails in the wall to hang a picture. This could cause some serious lack of feeling like your house is a home.

As a military wife, it is important to learn how to quickly adapt and make the most of what the military life hands you (which is often lemons).  Living in base housing is definitely a huge lemon: floor to ceiling white walls, white floors, awkwardly colored kitchens, and an overall sense of institution. Thankfully, if you’re lucky enough to be stationed in the U.S. this is easy to avoid since living out in town is the best option. Being stationed overseas is a different story, though. We had no choice but to live on base, which I’m actually kind of okay with.

I was excited to get out of the hotel room that we called home for 17 days when we got our housing.  After our furniture was unpacked, I began to notice just how unhomely our new place felt.  Thankfully, I came up with five damage free solutions that help turn this bland house into a home.

  1. Command strips. Did you know that there is basically a command strip for anything you could ever need? Thankfully, our base is well stocked in these wall saving hangers, and I was able to decorate our entire house (including hanging a heavy canvas painting above our couch) making it feel a bit warmer.
    Making a Rental Feel Like Home at
  2. Utilize your outdoor space. We were lucky enough to get housing that had a yard. We quickly bought some patio furniture and a gazebo to make our outdoor space part of our home. It’s our favorite part of our house.
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  3. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. Our washer/dryer is located in our kitchen. This bothered me to no end, so I decided to hide this area using a shower rod and some beautiful curtains. While chatting with one of my friends who was struggling with the same layout, I told her my idea. She said that she didn’t want to do that because it would look cheap. I went full steam ahead with my plan and I absolutely love it! (Note from Katie: Follow your heart and do what you works for you in your home!)
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  4. Don’t be ashamed to splurge on curtains! We ended up spending double what we budged for curtains, but we could not be more pleased with the wow factor it adds to our home. Ironically we went with cream curtains, but they dress up the place nicely.
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  5. Incorporate some bright accent pieces to liven up the place. I actually bought this teal beauty from my old roommate thinking it would be too much color, and boy was I wrong. It adds some much needed color to our living room. We also used this accent color in the dining room to liven it up. Artwork helps with this as well!
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Overall, we love the changes we have made to our new home. We still have a few things to do, but overall we no longer feel like we are in an institution. I plan to paint our coffee and end tables to add further pop to our living room. I’ve also seen this tutorial floating around Pinterest, and I would love to try it! Have any of you tried it? We also plan to hang some frames using velcro Command strips to allow us to use printables as holiday decoration since there is not much room to decorate elsewhere.

Just because you live in a rental doesn’t mean you have to have a boring house. What changes have you made to a rental to make it seem more like home?


Be sure to check out Becky’s blog. She and her husband are having some fantastic adventures in Japan!

Making a Rental Feel Like Home at


All comments are encouraged and appreciated!