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Decorating a Temporary Home


There is a fact nearly as old as the armed forces itself: military families move a lot. This precipitates tricky issues with home décor because changing living spaces means different designs, layouts and furniture capacities.

It can be tempting to deck out a new pad in all new pieces tailored just for that spot, but it often is not practical. Although it must be wonderful to choose custom furniture designed with the perfect dimensions to fit a particular room, the realities of moving frequently make such choices cost-prohibitive for many military families. Luckily, some simple solutions can help.

  1. Prioritize Sturdiness. During one of our first PCS moves, one of our desks completely fell apart. The piece, purchased from a big-box store, was made from particleboard and was far from high quality. We learned the hard way that the wear and tear of moving is too harsh on low-quality furniture, which is not designed to withstand relocation. Although the price to purchase sturdy, solid wood pieces can seem costly, it is a great investment toward retaining your furniture quality despite moves. Still, solid furniture does not have to be expensive. Purchase sturdy pieces at a discount through local online listings or buy, sell, trade pages around your military installation. Frequently, families just like yours sell lightly-used pieces at a discount. You can also find luck shopping with online discount stores that offer free delivery, military discounts and extra coupons.
  1. Focus on Versatility. Consider purchasing pieces that can be strategically arranged according to the layout of your new home. For example, a sofa, a love seat and a couple of easy chairs can be organized in a variety of layouts. In contrast, a big sectional couch can cause a headache if its dimensions are not suited for your new spot. Need some inspiration? Check out home furniture layout ideas on online design and home improvement websites.
  2. Get Back to Basics. There is a famous fashion adage: a good wardrobe is made up of few timeless staple items. Think about this tried-and-true idea when you are picking furniture, too! Trendy pieces frequently will not stand the test of time and may not adequately blend with the flow of your ever-changing living spaces. A few good-quality pieces can quickly offer familiarity and a feeling of home to each new space.
  3. Consider Color. A frequent complaint from renters is that plain, neutral walls normally cannot be painted. Bring in color and charm with adaptable décor. Art, rugs, lamps, furniture, throw pillows, curtains and plants can add the pops of color that you need to brighten the place up – no new coats of paint required!
  4. Tidy Up. Decorating your home can be complicated by having too much stuff and no good place to put it. Take the time to tidy up before your next big move. This is the ultimate kick-start to the best-decorated home ever. Consider what pieces fit the bill for good versatility and sturdiness. Then, sell or donate the things that will not work long-term.

Moving is a fact of life for military families, but it does not have to mean a complete décor overhaul each time! Remember: when decorating your temporary home, prioritize sturdiness, focus on versatility, get back to basics, consider color and tidy up!

Bonus: Military families have access to exclusive resources from design books and magazines to home improvement content. Get inspired with free resources from the MWR Digital Library.

Charlotte Graham Porter
Navy Spouse

Charlotte joined Blog Brigade in 2020 to share her experiences navigating the uncharted seas of the military spouse life. Life as a sailor’s wife isn’t always smooth sailing, but it “shore” is an adventure.

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