If you know Dane and I, you know we have moved quite a bit since living on Oahu. Six different houses to be exact! A few weeks ago, someone asked me on Instagram if I had any design tips for decorating a military base house. The reality is, military base housing isn’t always the greatest in both design and layout. In fact, most are complete garbage, with oddly colored walls, carpet in places you wouldn’t normally put it (like a bathroom) and walls that cut rooms in two in the most awkward way.
At the end of the day, it’s a rental property you can’t make design changes to, but you can decorate so it feels a bit more like home! After a bit of thinking, today I’m sharing my best tips for decorating military base housing.
Tips For Decorating Military Base Housing
When you can paint, PAINT! This is a tip I’ve never been able to employ, because I’ve always lived in base houses with strict paint regulations. But if housing allows you to paint the walls, go all in. It’s one of the easiest ways to make a place feel like your own.
Since painting hasn’t been an option for me, removable wallpaper is a go-to. It peels right off without impacting the current paint and makes for a great decorating option to brighten up a space.
Switch out light fixtures. Why are boob lights so popular? They were in every single room of our current home and it made me crazy. As soon as we could, I switched in the fixtures we owned and loved (including a ceiling fan in our bedroom) and it made an almost instant difference!
Think BIG for larger walls. One of the greatest pieces of advice I can give is to fill your walls with love. Make sure you have family, friends and places you love filling up the blank spaces. Gallery walls, large pieces of art, mirrors, and furniture are all great starter ideas.
Set up a space right away that you can share a meal. I need to follow my own advice on this one, because I waited way too long in our current home to create a dining area, but as soon as I did and we stopped eating meals on-the-fly, we seemed to settle in.
Rugs, rugs and more rugs! I get it, rugs aren’t always affordable, but they really do make a difference in spaces, particular those that are sprawling and need to be divided into smaller spaces. When I buy rugs, I try to make sure they are styles that would work in multiple different rooms, since I know our military base house isn’t forever. I employ this same policy with curtains!
If you have the dreaded vertical blinds like we do, I cannot say enough good things about NoNo Brackets. They clip on top of your blinds and make curtain hanging simple! The best part is that you can easily pack them up and take them with you to your next destination.
Rental Home Decor Tips
I’ve been asked before to describe my decor aesthetic and I’ll be honest — I buy what I love and it all sort of comes together. Most of what Dane and I have in our home came from travels, Craigslist or estate sales. We’ve also been generously gifted pieces from friends who are moving and simply don’t want things anymore.
The large mirror in our dining room was a freebie at an estate sale and the dining room table was given to us by a friend who couldn’t take it with them when they moved off island. Don’t be afraid to find ways to make pieces work in out-of-the-box places, either. We have two antique pretzel chairs that used to be on a patio in a sitting nook off our kitchen in our current home.
I layer rattan and wicker neutrals with lots of color that has been inspired from trips we’ve taken, as well as my own photography and pieces from artists we love. Plants (and plant baskets) also play a role in our home decor style and keep things feeling “fresh” and “lived in”.
Don’t be afraid to use what you love in your house — whether that is lots of color or muted tones. I’ve also learned that picking pieces I know I can use in different areas of my home usually works out best. For example, the copper plant stands you see in the above photos were side tables in a previous home. Once you’re able to nail down what you love, things have a way of working together.
So let’s talk rental home decor tips or rental home styling tips — what are your best ideas? If you liked this post, you might also enjoy Tips For Making A Rental Bedroom Your Own or Our Rental Home Patio Makeover.