Decorating Your Military Home Even When You Move Often

decorate your temp home

Military life is colorful, but military housing is not! Your rental or on-base housing will most likely pair light beige carpeting with white walls to create a 360-degree panorama of ho-hum. The typical military family moves every 3 years so it makes sense to develop a method for decorating military housing feel like home as quickly and inexpensively as possible.

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Decorating Your Military Home

It’s up to you, your creativity, comfort, and practicality that can turn an empty slate into a warm and comfortable space you enjoy coming home to every night. Your only limits are the confines of your imagination.

If you long for color, but dread repainting when you PCS, there are a number of options that might inspire you to create a home Martha Stewart herself would be proud to call her own. You can decorate military housing on a budget that won’t leave you confined in it.

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1. Recycle

Why not use things you already have. A display of brightly colored scarves hung in your bedroom is pretty. Display those gorgeous perfume bottles, wine crates, or Polish Pottery you’ve been collecting for years and currently reside behind closed cupboards.

2. Decorate military housing with Paint

Be aware that housing will tell you if you paint, you have to re-paint before you leave. If you still want to paint, paint an accent wall, stripes, or boxes that frame your artwork or the sofa.

**Tip
Find out when the last time your on-base quarters were painted, you may not have to repaint when you leave based on the painting schedule.

Paint wooden knobs, drawer pulls, or plain tiles with washable paint or decals. I also painted cabinet doors once; housing said if the next occupant liked them, they could stay. I wonder if they are still red.

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3. Art

…is what you make it. Get personal, frame your favorite travel photo, your hometown, or a landscape that inspires you. and create interest with the textured mats, masks, photos, and, paintings you’ve collected during your tour. Grace your home with Moroccan brass trays, Japanese silk tapestries, and batiks from Taiwan. Cover your floors with rice straw mats from the Philippines or a hand-woven Moroccan rug. Decorating military housing collages using postcards, ticket stubs, brochures, maps… whatever interest you are inexpensive.

Choose photo mats that add a pop of color, resist the urge to hang a single picture when a grouping will create that WOW factor you crave, frame you’re own photography, needlepoint sketches, or children’s artwork.

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4. Make it Interesting

Use patterns… Stripes, blocks, and dots are a great way to add depth and spice to your home and they are much easier to paint over when the time comes. Don’t just limit yourself to the walls; bring the patterns down to your military rental furniture, accessories, and even the floor.

Decorating your military home with fabric, paint or inexpensive paper lamp shades adds cheap color and interest. place a color-blocked throw on the back of that nondescript sofa or add a decorative rug to define specific areas in a large room that otherwise lacks a focal point. When you don’t have carpet, area rugs cut down on the echo and covers the hard, cold floors.

5. Rummage, Borrow or Steal

Rummage for second-hand furniture and decor at garage sales, bazaars, thrift stores, and flea/ antique markets. Bargains can be found everywhere, sometimes even on the side of the road.

Decorating your military home is cheap if you utilize your housing office. They can supply you with wall lockers, dining room sets, sofas, chairs, beds, and dressers, etc. It may not be pretty, but it will allow you to sit and/or lay down. Use an old door, fence section, or standing screen as a headboard.

Dress it up or make it work, but be sure to return it in the same condition it was given or you may end up buying it!

6. Decorate Military Housing by Sticking It

Go from house to home using personalized vinyl decals, monograms, and personal quotations. If you are a DIY kind of person, applying fabric to your walls could add splashes of color and texture. Apply liquid starch to your walls using a paint roller, adhere fabric and smooth out air pockets and wrinkles.

When you are ready to leave, simply pull the fabric down and wipe with a damp sponge. If pasting sounds like too much work, paint, or staple the colorful fabric to large canvasses to create depth and interest to those bare walls instead. You get the effects and the canvasses are completely portable to use in your new home.

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7. Go Glam

I love the floor to ceiling drapes. Try covering an entire wall with them to create depth. Longer drapes can be puddled at the bottom for extra drama. The monochromatic design really makes a statement. Use mirrors on the walls and in your furniture to reflect the light and cast sparkles of light as the sun moves around the room.

Cheap Glam… candles, throw pillows, and plants.

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8. Light

Your light sources can be functional as well as pretty too. Overhead lighting is not warm or inviting. If you don’t have light dimmers, create more character with up-lights or small canister lights strategically placed in dark corners or behind floor plants. Alternate lighting with floor and table lights. Avoid stark lighting, go for a warm glow instead.

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9. Furnishing your Temporary Home with Storage

Sometimes storage is in short supply. Bookshelves are for books, but punctuate them with your collectibles or something you found on your travels that would not normally be used as a bookend.

I hate wall lockers!! Unfortunately, sometimes that’s all we have to store our clothing. Try dressing them up with fabric, shelving paper, or door mirrors. Adorn the top with stackable baskets and voila, you’ve just found a ton of vertical space. Dress up white modular shelving with wallpaper or decoupage. Or just combine several to create the illusion of a fancy wall unit, wine rack, or shoe display.

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10. Create a Focal Point

Every good room needs something that sets itself apart from another. Unfortunately, military quarters don’t usually come with fireplaces, chandeliers, bay windows, or cathedral ceilings. But that doesn’t mean you can’t create that drama when furnishing your temporary home.

Use a huge piece of art, string Christmas light around a ball made of twigs and hang from the ceiling or a collage of mirrors in similar frames in varying sizes. Create interesting displays with your plaques, awards, coins, and flags. You earned them, so display them.

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11. Double Duty

Buy furniture to furnish your military quarters that performs multiple functions. Buy a sofa bed instead of a sofa, for example. Acquire a coffee table with storage drawers or use a steamer trunk. Buy footstools that double as storage space. Buy or make a decorative screen that can also serve as a room divider.

A day bed can be a great way of decorating your military home. Created the bed by adding large pillows to a single bed or a bench normally used outdoors. Finally, all your furniture should work together, since any two pieces may eventually end up in the same room.

Furnishing your temporary home should be fun and relaxed, so it goes with you to your next house, the one after that, the one after that, etc… Today’s nightstand might be next year’s end table.

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