There are a lot of perks to living on base or a rental off-post, but it has its drawbacks too. Especially if you are as obsessed with DIY and home renovation as I am.
As much as I want to do a complete makeover on every single house that we move into, it’s just not feasible.
Since we move around so much, we either live on base or find a rental instead of buying a house. And it doesn’t make sense to invest time or money in a house that doesn’t belong to us. Not to mention the fact that military housing/landlords wouldn’t let us change or renovate anything anyway.
So, over the past 11 years, I have found ways to decorate our base housing and rentals to make each one feel like home.
7 Tips to Decorate Base Housing & Make It Feel Like Home
One of the projects I did when we moved into our first little apartment in Tacoma, Washington was to put together a gallery wall. There was a big empty wall in our dining room that needed something, but we didn’t have the money to go out and buy a big piece of art/decor.
I put together a photo gallery wall with a mix of our wedding pictures and Lainey’s newborn pictures using cheap pictures frames from Wal-Mart.
I loved it so much that I ended up hanging it in the next 3 houses!
Gallery Perfect Black 12 Piece Square Photo Gallery Wall Picture Frame Set with Hanging Template, 16.5 x 10.2 x 16.7 inches97 Decor Eclectic Decor – Maximalist Decor, Colorful Eclectic Home Decor, Eclectic Wall Decor, Eclectic Wall Art Prints Set for Bedroom, Painting Japanese Contemporary Art Museum Gallery (UNFRAMED)
Big Pieces of Art or Big Mirrors
After we moved into our house on Fort Polk, 2 large walls were still empty after we finished hanging everything we had. The cheapest and easiest way to fill them was with one large item instead of another gallery wall.
We ended up using a large mirror that I found on sale for one of them and a black and white photo in an old window for the other. Nearly 10 years later, we are still using those large pieces to fill big blank walls in our house.
If you can’t afford large pieces, there are plenty of tutorials on Pinterest for large DIY wall art. From abstract painting ideas to macramé yarn hangings, there is something for every style and budget.
ITSRG Floor Mirror Full Length, Arched Floor Mirror, Wall Mirror Full Length, Gold Mirror Full Length, Floor Mirror Freestanding, Bedroom Mirror Full Length Standing (Gold)guzhiou large macrame wall hanging – Boho Tapestry Macrame Wall Decor Art- Chic Bohemian Handmade Woven Tapestry Home Decoration for Bedroom Living Room Apartment Wedding Party – 43
Furniture That You LOVE
When you decorate base housing, you should buy, make, or refurbish furniture that you LOVE!
This is probably the BEST tip I can give you. And one that I have taken to heart since we started this crazy military journey.
We don’t put our time, effort, or money into renovating the rental houses we live in. Instead, we invest in our furniture.
The furniture that we have refurbished can last us a lifetime. Most of the pieces that we’ve redone will come with us to our forever home, so we don’t mind putting time and money into this hobby of ours.
Yaheetech PU Leather Accent Chair, Mid-Century Modern Barrel Chair with Wooden Frame and Soft Thick Padded for Living Room Bedroom Home Office, Light BrownNCKMYB Modern Sectional Sofa with Double Chaise, U-Shape Sectional Sofa for Living Room, Apartment (Beige)
Decorate Base Housing with Lamps
Rental houses and base housing typically use the cheapest supplies and building materials available. That means the cheapest light fixtures, resulting in poor lighting throughout the house.
If you’re not into a dark and shadowy interior, the answer could be a few strategically placed lamps to help brighten things up.
**Pro Tip: Replace the ‘Soft White’ lightbulbs in your house with ‘Daylight’ lightbulbs. It makes your space look so much brighter and cleaner.**
Industrial Touch Control Table Lamps Set of 2 – Black Bedside Lamps with 2 USB Ports and AC Outlet, 3-Way Dimmable Nightstand Desk Lamp for Bedroom Living Room, Glass Shade & 2 LED Bulbs IncludedLEPOWER Tripod Floor Lamp, Mid Century Wood Standing Lamp, Modern Design Shelf Floor Lamp for Living Room, Bedroom, Office, Flaxen Lamp Shade with E26 Lamp Base
Buy All the Plants
Plant-filled shelves and even entire plant-filled rooms have taken the home decor world by storm. Plants are a huge part of the boho trend that is so popular right now. And I’m here for it!
Pretty green plants are also a fairly cheap way to decorate base housing. You pretty much can’t go wrong with a beautiful green plant. And several varieties are easy to care for and thrive even in low light.
AWLYLNLL Plant Stand Indoor for Multiple Plants,3 Tiers 7 Potted Tiered Plant Shelf Outdoor Garden Decor ,Wood Ladder Plant Holder Table Plant Pot Stand for Living Room Window Balcony Home DecorPearls & Jade Pothos 4inch Pot Epipremnum aureum -Live Houseplants
Removable Wall Paper
Sadly, this is the only tip that I haven’t tried yet. But I’m hoping to try it out in the girls’ rooms after our next PCS.
JiffDiff Floral Wallpaper Peel and Stick Dark Farm Floral Stick Wallpaper, Wildwood Wallpaper Self Adhesive Wallpaper for Home Bedroom Cabinets Thicken 17.71UniGoos Peacock Tail Classic Pattern Blue Green Peel and Stick Wallpaper Vintage Removable Wall Paper Modern Self Adhesive Contact Paper for Cabinet Shelf Liner Bedroom DIY Decor 17.7
Use Books to Decorate Base Housing
Another way to decorate base housing or rental houses using something that you already own is to use your books as decor.
Take a trick from the DIY Edit and arrange them in a rainbow or do like all of the shows on HGTV and turn them backwards so that only the pages show. There are all kinds of interesting bookshelves on Pinterest if you’re looking for something different or a DIY project.
There are endless ways to use books as decor and bookshelves are one of my favorite things to decorate.
NUMENN 5 Tier Bookshelf, Tall Bookcase Shelf Storage Organizer, Modern Book Shelf for Bedroom, Living Room and Home Office, VintageIRONCK Industial Bookshelves and Bookcases Floor Standing 6 Shelf Display Storage Shelves 70 in Tall Bookcase Home Decor Furniture for Home Office, Living Room, Bed Room, Vintage Brown
Decorating all of our different homes has been one of the most enjoyable parts of military life for me.
It’s not always easy to decorate base housing or rentals, but you can always make them feel like home!