I’m Lauren, a nurse turned stay-at-home mom! On my blog, themilitarywifeandmom.com, I write about practical parenting, enjoying motherhood, and navigating the ups and downs of military life.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of CORT. All opinions are 100% mine.
I pulled into the driveway, turned the car off and sat for a minute with the keys in my hand. These weren’t just any set of keys. For my husband and I, they meant opportunity, love and new beginnings.
We were newlyweds, and the keys resting in the palm of my hand, were about to unlock the front door to our very first home together. As I stepped out of the car, I skipped up the walkway like the optimistic, giddy and slightly awkward newlywed that I was.
I opened the door.
What happened next took my breath away: There was white everywhere. White walls. Eggshell carpet. White doors. Cream cabinets. White. White. White.
The house was empty, and in many ways, it felt lonely. Walking into our first house together, I expected a plethora of happy feelings, and what I received felt more like a sterile white box.
Each time you move to a new duty station, you may experience this same scenario. Off-base rentals maintain a very neutral color palette, and that is putting it kindly.
Here’s the good news.
There are several secrets I use to make a house feel like a home each time our family arrives at a new duty station. I have no doubt these tips can help your military family create a home that welcomes you.
1. Color the walls.
Talk to your landlord about painting at least some of the walls. Most are agreeable to this, so long as you paint the walls back before moving out. Some may even allow you to keep the colors.
Choose one or two focal walls in the kitchen and living room areas and paint them a warm and inviting shade. Tans, blues and greens are my personal favorite wall colors.
2. Soft-lighting sets the mood.
Choose several lamps for each room of the house. Overhead lighting gives a very harsh vibe and can make a room feel like a warehouse. Soft-lighting from lamps feels cozy, welcoming and relaxing.
Try putting enough table lamps into a room so you can skip the overhead light altogether. You can also grab simple rope lighting from your local hardware store to place under kitchen cabinets or under tables to create an inviting look.
3. Furniture Rental.
If you’re tired of banged up furniture arriving from your household goods shipment or the hodgepodge design isn’t cutting it anymore, you can rent furniture. It’s truly the perfect solution. Through furniture rental, you can choose a complete room design and take the guesswork out of creating a cozy home.
Plus, CORT Furniture Rental works specifically with active duty military members and their families, making the process easy and seamless for you. When your service member deploys, gets PCS orders or gets discharged from the military, you are released from your contract with CORT.
4. Put up those pictures.
Living in such a digital world, you may have a slew of family memories hiding away on your computer. Those photos, however, are key to creating a home that you love.
Take 5-10 of your favorite family photos and have them made into canvas wall hangings. Place at least one in each room of the house, and your house will instantly feel more like a home.
5. Plants are a must.
Greenery and flowers are a must when transforming a house into a home. They add a pop of color and life to every room. And they are very budget-friendly.
If you travel a lot and worry about keeping the plants alive, there is absolutely no shame in using faux plants. Believe me when I say, I’ve moved an artificial weeping fig tree from North Carolina to Japan and back to the U.S. again. Yes, really.
6. Pillows and blankets, oh my!
Throw blankets and throw pillows are an incredibly easy way to make your home more inviting. Because there are so many budget-friendly colors and designs to choose from, let your heart go wild.
Grab 4-5 pillows for your living room to mix and match. Then add in 1-2 throw blankets. Don’t be afraid to choose some interesting colors. You can always swap out the pillows in the future!
Your house is your home.
By the time I was done decorating our very first (and very white!) home together, you’d never guess how lonely it looked initially.
Two freshly painted walls, three new lamps, the perfect room of furniture, four photos from our wedding, one faux weeping fig, and five red throw pillows was all we needed for feel at home again. It was enough to make me skip through the front door in the most happy (but completely awkward) way again and again.