Make an Apartment Feel Like Home: 8 Tips for a Cozy Apartment

If there was ever a time to make an apartment cozier, it’s the winter months. While San Diego certainly doesn’t enjoy the same changes in seasons as much of the country, that doesn’t mean your place won’t benefit from touches that will make it feel a bit warmer and more welcoming.

You don’t need to own a home to make your rental feel like home, either. While you will have some limits as far as what you can do to your new space, there are several things you can do when you’re thinking about how to make an apartment feel like home. Take a look at these apartment design ideas for the ideal cozy apartment you’ll want to come home to.

Unpack and Settle In

This is your new home. You should treat it that way. Unpack as soon as you’re able, after giving your new apartment a good cleaning. You’ll feel some ownership over your new apartment, even if it looks spotless, to begin with.

Unpack one room at a time if you’re feeling overwhelmed by what goes where. Starting with the bedroom is a good idea if you’re unsure that you’ll finish unpacking in one day. That way, you have a place to rest after a solid day’s work turning your apartment into a home.

Couple unpacking their new apartment

Fill Your Space With Design in Mind

Just because you’re renting doesn’t mean you can’t have nice things. Fill your new apartment space with apartment essentials that are not only functional but fit your aesthetic. For example, if you like a more modern design style, consider apartment interior design ideas within that design trend when shopping for pieces.

You don’t need to blow your budget by buying new furniture, either, particularly if your style is more classic, even bohemian. San Diego has a number of boutique and thrift shops selling second-hand furnishings that will only add character to a space. Conventional big box stores offer another option for fun, affordable items to complete your apartment look, including rugs that will tie the room together from the bottom up.

Dog sitting on a living room couch

Lighten Things Up

The right lighting can do quite a bit to warm up a space. Consider lamps where they’re necessary, like by the bed as a reading light or in the living room to offer less intensity than might come from a ceiling light.

Think about decorative lighting, as well. Many lamps are not only meant to be functional but a beautiful way to light up a space. Dimmers and energy-saving bulbs are easy-to-install and replace, offering even more options for lighting a room throughout the day with energy-efficiency in mind.

Consider how to manage the light in your space, as well, with window treatments that will not only cut the amount of harsh light coming into a space during those morning hours but look good doing it.

Layered apartment lighting

Cozy Doesn’t Mean Cluttered

If you’re working with a smaller space, be intentional about what you’re adding to make your apartment feel like home. Consider adding pieces that offer up some storage opportunities throughout. Keep your bedroom tidy with closet organizers, put all of your bathroom essentials out of view with decorative bins or portable cabinets if you lack storage space. Also, consider furniture that doubles as a spot to tuck away things you don’t want in full view when guests come over.

storage organization for small spaces

Add Personal Touches

You don’t need to find high-priced art to dress up a space. You’ve likely accumulated items that are special to you over the years. Put those personal touches on display, whether those are family heirlooms, photographs of loved ones that you get framed, or creations of your own if you have an artistic side.

If you feel like your space is still lacking warmth, consider cozy blankets and throw pillows, live plants, and flowers, or splashes of color in a room that may start as a blank canvas. Read through a lease before throwing paint on the walls, though, as not all apartments will allow you to paint. In that case, consider removable wallpapers or hanging art using removable hooks that won’t leave behind any damage.

Apartment with cozy touches

Scents Make Sense

A foolproof way to turn your space into a cozy apartment is by having your new place smell the part. The right scent can bring instant calm and warmth to a space, whether you’re looking for a cozy night in or inviting friends over for a casual gathering. Consider investing in candles or room sprays in the same scent throughout your apartment so that you’re not overwhelming the senses.


Get to Know the Neighborhood

In addition to the luxury apartment amenities you may have access to in your building, you’ll want to get acquainted with your new neighborhood, even if you’re moving to a new place within the same city.

Find that perfect coffee shop within walking distance, get to know the local options for groceries and essential errands, including local farmers’ markets if you’re lucky enough to live in Little Italy, and nail down your favorite pizza place. Take walks around the neighborhood just for the sake of getting to know the area. Feeling like a community member will go a long way to making your apartment feel like home.

busy neighborhood coffee shop

Host a Party

If you tend to put things off, like unpacking or setting up your apartment with all of these cozy apartment ideas you have now, consider hosting a get-together at your new place, even if just for a friend or family member or two. That way, you’ll have a reason to spruce things up and show off your new apartment.

Apartment warming party

If you’re still looking for a space to call home, contact us at Ariel Apartments for a tour of our luxury apartments in the heart of San Diego’s vibrant Little Italy neighborhood.