After the movers have left and everything is unpacked, you might be left wondering how to make your new space feel like a home. Military life is infamous for bringing with it odd-sized carpets, living rooms that don't quite fit your sofa and windows that use the only curtain size you don't have on hand.
Maria Reed, an Army spouse who runs the military makeover show Moving With the Military, joined us on the PCS with Military.com podcast to talk about interior decorating. She suggested three easy things every military family can do after a move to make their new housing their own. Here are her tips.
Listen now: No Sectionals or Crazy Curtain Sizes: How to Design Your Home for Any Move (With Maria Reed)
Don't be afraid to paint or use wallpaper. Changing the color on your walls can go a long way in sprucing up a room or making it feel more like your own. Even on-base housing will let you paint the walls, and it even could have options that don't require you to paint them back later.
"Yes, you can paint walls and military housing," Reed said. "Many military housing offices offer pre-approved colors. So take a look at that. ... Paint is the lowest-cost way of changing up your walls. And that way if you use a pre-approved color, you don't have to paint it back."
For a bolder look, try using peel and stick wallpaper, she said. Gone are the days of wallpaper requiring a major glue project and a long removal process. Instead, removable wallpaper works a lot like contact paper, sticking right to the wall and easily peeling off later.
"It's a little more costly, but it makes such beautiful bold statements and it's easy to take down: removable wallpaper," she said. "You don't want to do your whole house in removable wallpaper because it will get really expensive. ... We can do that with fun things like even adding chalkboard removable wallpaper so they can write on it. And then when you're getting ready to PCS to the next one, hey, you know what, just take it down, throw it in the trash, done, walk away."
Buy used or get it free. If you're moving in or out of an area and dealing with furniture problems, so is someone else. Reed said she leans on local thrift shops and Facebook marketplace to find cheap furniture. Even if it's not exactly what you want, a coat of paint on an old furniture piece can go a long way, she said.
"Find a piece that you can repurpose, reuse, repaint. And that can make such a big difference in your home," she said. "Especially if you're trying to add ... something with a proper color and not spend a lot of money. Finding a piece painted red, why not paint it aqua? Have fun with that. And that's something that people can do quickly."
Ugly floors? Hide them. Military housing is infamous for its ugly linoleum floors. Solution? Hide them with rugs.
"I am not a fan of the peel and stick linoleum, schoolhouse floors that are often in military housing," she said. "Large area rugs ... make such a difference in the room, because you're definitely not looking at the peel and stick floor."
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