Lifestyle Home & Decorating An Interior Designer's Guide to Making Your Rental Feel Like A Forever Home By Courtney Higgs Courtney Higgs Twitter Courtney Higgs is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor who covers all things beauty, fashion, and lifestyle. She was previously an editor with InStyle, and is currently the Managing Editor for Rose Inc, founded by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. InStyle's editorial guidelines Updated on September 13, 2017 @ 05:15PM Pin Share Tweet Email Trending Videos Photo: KatarzynaBialasiewicz/Getty With real estate prices steadily rising, renting a home as opposed to buying one is more common than ever. The likelihood of being able to purchase property is just out of reach for many families, but just because you don't own the house you live in doesn't mean that space can't feel like your very own. Interiors expert and Principal Designer of her namesake Ohara Davies-Gaetano Interiors agrees. In fact, Davies-Gaetano's got quite a bit of experience on the matter. While her family's ocean-front California dream home is being built, she and her family are currently renting a place in Emerald Bay in Laguna Beach. And if there's anyone who knows how to make even a temporary space feel like a forever home, it's a decorating veteran. Check out some of the key tips she's incorporated into making her own rental feel warm and fuzzy—and how you can, too! 01 of 06 Fashion a Makeshift Dressing Room Courtesy Ohara Davies-Gaetano Our current rental home does not have adequate closet space, especially for my shoes. I dream of my future closet, but in the meantime, I took over the adjoining guest room to our master and have transformed it into my closet/dressing room. To maximize my shoe storage, I bought white shelving at Ikea to house my shoes. 02 of 06 Designate Fun Play Areas for the Kids Courtesy Ohara Davies-Gaetano Being a mom and running my own company can be stressful and rewarding. I often work from home with my son by my side. I set up a corner of the study with a toddler table, chairs, books and toys. Since storage is limited in rentals, I use baskets for my son's toys and books. 03 of 06 Get Creative With Small Guest Bedrooms Courtesy Ohara Davies-Gaetano Living in a rental has been a fun challenge to optimize space and scale. Our guest bed was a bit too large for the space, but to divert attention from its size I hung a large abstract painting over the bed and used oversized white linen decorative pillows on the bed to fool the eye. 04 of 06 Re-Think Your Methods of Displaying Your Favorite Art Courtesy Ohara Davies-Gaetano Coming from a family of artists, I have more art than I know what to do with! Rental living can sometimes mean a lack of proper wall space—or perhaps you don't want damage walls with multiple photos. One tip is to lean a painting on top of a chest or bookcase. I used this abstract painting on top of an antique chest to create a layered vignette within our home. The scale of the painting would have felt off balance had I hung it on the wall, so by leaning it on the chest, the balance of scale was more in keeping with the overall room. 05 of 06 Create a Gallery Wall Courtesy Ohara Davies-Gaetano Our rental home is older and some of the ceiling heights in the home are very low (like in our study, for example). To maximize the space and make it feel as large as possible, I played off the lower ceilings by making a gallery wall of our family's artwork. Personalizing a home is so important, even if the home is just temporary. To create a gallery wall, buy ready-made frames and either use photographs or personal art to tell a story that represents your own personal lifestyle and history. 06 of 06 Use Color to Bring Your Space to Life Courtesy Ohara Davies-Gaetano Color in a rental is so important. If your landlord allows, I highly recommend paint to refresh the space and make it feel like your own. The fireplace in our family room was typical red brick and the walls were mustard yellow when we moved in. The first thing I did was paint the walls and the brick white to make the space feel fresh and bright. I am a big believer in the power of white paint!