Congratulations! Now that you’ve officially moved into your rental apartment in Dubai, all you need to do is get settled.

But that might be easier said than done, especially if it’s your first time in a different place or country. A lot of things are different, and everyone is a stranger.

The good news is that you can do something about it. Besides taking steps like exploring the community and reaching out to new neighbours, you can also implement minor updates to your apartment to make it feel more like home.

If you’re not sure what to do, you can start with these eight apartment updates that might make adjusting to life in Dubai so much easier:

1. Change the wall colour into something comforting.

A new wallpaper or fresh coat of paint can work wonders for an apartment rental. Not only does it add character instantly, but it also offers a way for you to get acquainted with your new space.

Besides the walls, you should also pay attention to the ceiling. Some apartments may have that dirty-looking yellowish-white tint that could get in the way of your room’s crisp and fresh design.

If your new place looks utterly void of any character (which is typical for most rentals), you can also have faux baseboards painted along the foot of the walls. This will give them that sturdy-looking appeal.

Of course, before you do anything even remotely permanent, talk to your landlord first. Some apartments for rent in Dubai allow their tenants to make such changes, but there are still those that don’t. To be safe, review your lease agreement and ask for permission before spending money on materials.

2. Improve the lighting.

Another apartment update you can make after speaking to your landlord is the replacement of the light fixtures. Sure, some of them may still be working, but simple adjustments could go a long way in making your new place feel cosier.

A simple glass chandelier in the closet could leave a more delicate vibe to the space, while some LED strips along the kitchen cabinets make the area brighter and more inviting.

Pro Tip: If you’re adding lamps, put them at various heights – on the floor, desk, and shelves – to create a warm glow in your apartment.

3. Create a relaxing ambience in your bathroom.

You can also steal some features from spas for your bathroom to make you want to stay in your new place more. This can include:

  • A contemporary toilet seat
  • A rainfall shower
  • A toilet paper holder that is actually made for that purpose (and not something makeshift to save on costs.

Don’t forget your spa-like accessories, including bath salts, scented candles, clean and soft towels, and a bath tray to hold your book or glass of wine while you have a relaxing soak.

4. Redecorate with familiar things.

Another alternative to repainting or wallpapering entire walls is to create a statement wall with familiar things. Instead of using permanent wallpaper, purchase removable ones from wallpaper shops in Dragon Mart. Choose a design that depicts your interests.

You can also toss in some wall décor from your previous home. The key is to surround yourself with familiar things: a macrame wall hanging art from your mom, a picture of your childhood, or anything that would remind you of home.

5. Bring your own furniture.

If you’re renting an apartment, your room may have those bare-looking finishes made from basic materials. But whether this is the case or not, you’ll want to bring your own furniture to make the place feel truly yours.

Sure, you’re probably just staying for a short time there, but during that period, you’ll want to feel most comfortable when coming home. You can do that with some familiar focal pieces of furniture that are more your style, like a gorgeous mustard yellow sofa or a mid-century dining table from your old home.

6. Make the most out of your apartment kitchen.

Many apartments have super small kitchens where you can barely make a decent meal. But don’t let this stop you from enjoying apartment life by maximising vertical storage space.

Take every available inch of the wall and transform your minuscule kitchen into a homey space that could even let you entertain guests.

Use floating shelves, stack several dishes and cookware, and bring the whole place together by sticking to one type of material or colour of kitchenware and appliances.

7. Transform your bedroom into your personal comfort zone.

Any shared living situation or small bedroom can feel like your safe space if you add a few simple components.

Even if you don’t plan on staying in the place for good, you should still hang some window treatments to add personality to your apartment wall. Even with no window, this will make your apartment seem more like home.

You can also toss in a scented candle with a comforting smell to change your bedroom’s overall feel into something close to what you had in your previous home.

8. Get some indoor plants.

Like pets, plants have a reputation for having a positive impact on a person’s mood. In fact, it is found to help alleviate signs of stress and anxiety, not to mention the greenery offers a relaxing break for tired eyes.

Even if you don’t have a green thumb, you can bring in less fussy house plants to make your apartment more attractive and fresh.

Herbs, for example, can be grown from pots and containers sitting in your kitchen window. Other good choices of low-maintenance plants that can survive without much attention are sansevieria varieties (snake plant) and cacti. Some plants, like the peace lily and golden pothos, are not only easy to grow but also help purify the air. You could also get recommendations from local nurseries near you.

Adjust to Life in Dubai

Living as an expat in Dubai – or anywhere else for that matter – may push you to make some adjustments. 

Make the transition easier by opening up your mind to the change and updating your apartment into a place you can truly feel at home.