How to make a rental feel like HOME

So we are living in Monterey, California (Pacific Grove) now and it is an absolute dream. I can't really fully explain the beauty, but like everything is just beautiful. Pathways along the coastline are some of the most gorgeous views in the country. The other day we saw baby otters floating in the clearest blue water munching on some kelp against these bright violet flowers that only bloom this time of the year, seals sunbathing on the rocks and beach,  and whale spouts in the distance. Like what....!

Sometimes I feel like I'm going through all of these motions and at the end of the day it feels like I was just fast-forwarded through my life and everything is just a memory.. SO I'm really trying really hard to focus on being present and take in all of this beauty while we are here. 

As Monterey being one of the most beautiful parts of the country, there's no way we could afford to buy a place in the location we wanted to live in. Well, we could have bought a trailer home, but it was at the top end of our (not that small) budget. Wish I was kidding.

So renting it is! 

And luckily we found the most perfect little home that fits us perfectly at this point in our life. Check out our home reveal here if you haven't already :) Location is pretty much everything for us. Our place is less than a mile to one of the most beautiful DOG-FRIENDLY beaches in the area, walking distance to a little town with coffee shops, restaurants, all the necessities, and Ryan even rides his bike to school along the coastline path. 


After furnishing our entire place (I mean everything) in about a month, I wanted to share what really makes a rental feel like home for us!

Hang Curtains

A very small but mighty decor tip - it makes the biggest difference of feeling empty vs. cozy! 


Sell / Donate Stuff

Moving around a lot does have it's perks.. you don't keep the junk! We literally sold almost everything we had in San Diego to start fresh and pick what we really loved here in Monterey and for our space. I sold over $2000 worth of our furniture and literally stuff just laying around! Like an old Fitbit and an Amazon echo we never used - Facebook Marketplace baby!! Donated a TON of clothes and random items that were still in great shape. It really feels amazing to downsize and get rid of as much as possible when the time is right. 

Add Plants

Still continuing to add more and more plant life to our home, and starting very small because I have a BLACK thumb like no other. Ryan's parents sent us a plant as a housewarming gift and I love that idea so much! As opposed to a bouquet of flowers, plants are there to stay (hopefully) and I love having them around. Don't get me wrong, I love my Trader Joes hydrangeas and a good flower bouquet as much as the next basic white girl. 

PS - best tip I ever got for watering your plants.. put ICE CUBES in them! So it melts nice and slowly and you won't overwater! SO EASY! Thank you Hanit!! <3

Invest In Pieces You Love

I think this one is most important in a rental because if you really find those furniture or art pieces you LOVE, you will have them forever, wherever you may move to. This may also mean invest in getting a big family picture framed! We recently got a CHART (Ry gets mad when I call it a map lol) of the San Diego Bay that Ryan used as a Navigator on his last ship framed that cost more than our couch... yikes. But we love it and will have it forever! We figured it was way better than buying some random art we didn't really care about. 

I don't get too attached to "things," but I definitely didn't settle when picking out our furniture here, even if it meant going through the whole pain of returning a huge dining room set and shipping back multiple LARGE pieces (sorry UPS guy).

Play Music

So simple but so necessary. We use our bluetooth speaker + spotify playlists on the reg. Anywhere from "Lil Wayne Carter 3" to "Pride and Prejudice piano solos" is playing in our house. Music just makes everything better. 

Light Candles

So underrated. I almost always have a candle burning. Makes you feel like you have your life together when you burn a candle. Also - I feel like Trader Joes totally sell candles.... right?!!?


PS - Wayfair is having a "WAY-DAY" today and having close out flash sales like crazy. If you are looking for anything from rugs to furniture, they have some pretty amazing deals. I ordered a bookshelf and some nightstands for our bedroom to finally finish everything up! (not sponsored)