A Half-Feathered Nest Is Not So Comfy


How much do you invest in decorating a home that you are renting, possibly for just a short time? Do you mount the television, or buy rugs that work for just this room? 

I stall out because I live a more transient lifestyle, but my home might look a little cold…I should also say that I’m a 50-year-old professional woman, have lived in apartments for 30 years, and I’ve never painted a wall. 

-R., from Sausalito, CA


The first thing I hear is your desire to feel settled. My first piece of advice is to sit quietly in your home for a bit and ask yourself how at-home you really feel. Sit and feel.

The second thing I notice is that you sound practical and conservative with your spending, which is a positive stance toward money. Cautious spenders tend to survive and thrive financially. But you did say your “home might look a little cold,” and you’ve never painted a wall, in thirty years of apartment living… 

What are you waiting for??? 

Ask yourself that question. What elevated life status merits a paint job in your home? It doesn’t matter if you rent- you are still renting a home. Paying monthly or yearly for a home is not transient. Hotels are transient. Perhaps replace your judgment of “transient lifestyle” with “freedom from a 30-year fixed mortgage.” And, by the way, do you think Benjamin Moore only sells paint to people who have mortgages? That would be a very odd and short-sighted business model. 

Another thought to consider: before any new tenant moves in, most landlords repaint the walls, to cover up dings and nail holes. Have a conversation with the landlord about it to find out what sort of painting would be a deal-breaker as far as retrieving your deposit. Ask whether they will repaint when you leave, or if they would like you to do it. Hey, if you choose tastefully, maybe your current landlord will like the new wall color.

(A hot tip concerning paint colors: I’m such a good interior designer that, without even seeing your space, I can recommend you NOT go with any of the Benjamin Moore “cheese colors”: American Cheese, Nacho Cheese, Cheddar Cheese… these are actual color names and are aptly named hues. And you just received a free color consultation.) 

Re: furnishings: yes, buy a rug. One of the most fun aspects of moving homes is being able to use all of the things you own in new and different ways. Buy a good rug you love, so you’re making a versatile investment that lasts and stokes your happiness wherever you go next, you transient hobo, you.

At its core, this question is actually a feng shui issue. Feng shui is focused around people being comfortable and relaxed in their environment. You are not completely comfortable in your environment. It’s cold, your tv isn’t where you would like it to be, and you don’t have a rug for the space. Your space is unfinished. It’s in limbo. Limbo = stagnant energy. Over time, this stagnancy will create a lack of energy flow in your life, which will in turn effect… uh, your life. To this, I will say: IT’S YOUR LIFE. Your life vs. painting. Your life vs. a rug. Your life vs. some fillable holes in the wall. Your life vs. your security deposit. Need I say more? 

Yes, I need to say more. I can’t let it go. I’m bothered by the simultaneous thoughts that you are a 50-year old professional woman, and you consider your lifestyle to be “transient” just because you happen to rent. Maybe I’m missing what you mean by transient- perhaps you are a genuine gypsy, or a roadie, or work for the State Department… maybe you are truly a drifter. But the sense I get is that you are feeling unsettled because you’re a renter instead of an owner.  I have this to say: make a home. Whether you are there for three months or three years, you deserve to come home every day and feel a sense of comfort every time you walk in the front door.

Everyone deserves a happy home, and it sounds like you might have the means to spend a little money on making one for yourself. Invest in a pleasing wall color. Hang the tv. Hang pictures. Someone invented spackling paste for all of us, including you. Get settled. You may be risking your deposit, or, you may be investing in your happiness and comfort- this is a glass half empty/half-full situation. Whatever you do, CLAIM the space you are working hard and paying good money to live in. Plant your flag.

The biggest takeaway? Taking care of your domestic happiness and comfort is an actual investment in your physical and mental health. So I suggest picking up a paint roller and drill and finish the feathering of your nest.

If you need some clarity, some change, or a refresh either inside or out, you’re in the right place. Aubrey Thorne is an astrologer, integrative coach, and feng shui designer in Los Angeles. She works with clients all over, both in-person and online. Feel free to contact Aubrey to ask a question or to schedule a consultation.