The Army Life Journey

5 Reasons Why You Should Make Your On-Base House a Home


So you got orders, again.  It is time to pack up and move, again.  It’ll be time to figure out what on Earth to do with those white (or beige) walls.  I believe that regardless of where you are stationed, or what kind of house you are dealt, you can make any place your home.  

One of the main things that I do upon receiving orders to a new location is to research the housing in the area.  Most spouses do that. We want to get an idea of where we will be living; where our children will spend the next 2 to 5 years of their lives; where our family make new memories.  And thanks to countless Facebook pages, we get a glimpse into what our futures might possibly look like. Sometimes, they are cozy; sometimes, they are spacious. Sometimes, they are updated, and sometimes they look like something out of 1983.  It is easy to figure that since we don’t own the house or that we’ll only be there a few years, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to put a lot of time or money into a place, especially if there isn’t much to it in the first place.

I’m here to persuade you that investing time into making your on-base house a home is worth it, regardless of the time you’ll be there.  So you don’t own it. So you have no idea how long you’ll be at this duty station. So your house is just awful; I mean the rooms are small, the floor plan doesn’t flow well at all, and everything is so outdated, it’s insane.  I hear you! But I assure you that even the worst of the worst layouts and the worst of the worst design elements, your house can still be transformative. All it takes is a little elbow grease, imagination, and a positive attitude.

No doubt, you’ve seen other posts about how to turn your rental or military housing into a home.  But I’m here to point out the why.  So without further ado, here are the top 5 reasons as to why you take the time to turn that base housing into a cozy home for your family.

  1. It’s still your home.  Whether you like it or not, the house that you have been assigned is now where you will live and care for your family.  It’s where you will eat your meals and rest your head at night. It’s where your kids’ memories will be made. Why not make it a place of comfort and joy so that those memories are good ones?


  1. General maintenance shows pride, and guarantees insurance.  If you were in the market for a house, one of the things that is important to potential home value is its surroundings.  Generally speaking, you want to live in a neighborhood wherein the people take care of their homes. Now, when you move on base or on post, that is something that is way out of your control.  But why not be you to set the tone!? When we take care of our homes, it is easier to spot an issue while it is still small. The good thing about renting is that often times, you are not responsible for fixing problems that occur in the house.  When you take care of your house, you are better able to address problems when they arise and avoid those unpleasant surprises, and fees, come time to turn the house over. It’s always good to have a one-up on the housing company, especially those who have nickel and diming reputations.


  1. It’s fun!  I know it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but personally, decorating a new house is fun!  And it doesn’t have to be costly. One of the positives about living on base or on post is that you get to meet all sorts of people from all walks of life. And many of those people are quite crafty and/or handy. It’s easy to find people who can make one-of-a-kind items for your house. Also, people on base or on post are always moving in and out so you are sure to find someone always advertising a garage sale of some kind or placing items for sale on the buy, sell, and trades (most installations have some sort of page or pages on Facebook).  If buying used isn’t your style, there are so many discount stores that sell the cutest decor, such as Big Lots, TJ Maxx, and Ross. There are even communities online that are strictly for sharing decorating ideas for living inside the white or beige walls Sure it can be time-consuming, as any process is, but from what I’ve learned, that’s how you figure out what you like and what your style is.  I use the constant moves as an excuse to try something new in my home. It’s honestly what I most look forward to when moving to a new place.


  1. It flexes your creative muscle.  Turning a military house into a cozy home can take some creativity, especially if the general design of the house is lacking any kind of character, or sense.  While there are things you aren’t generally allowed to do, although some housing management are relaxing their policies, there are cheat codes that let you personalize your home to match your personality.  Painting an accent wall is a great way to bring a pop of color to a room. I’ve even heard of people changing out light fixtures, or acting faux back splash to their kitchens. These things are super easy to do, and can be removed upon leaving the premises.  There’s also the general complaint that military housing is small. This is true. I’m living in probably the smallest house I’ve ever had. But living small encourages downsizing and simplicity. It also means finding innovative ways to store all that stuff, especially the military gear.  Finding a way to adapt to military housing will leave you all the more wiser, innovative, crafty, and creative.


  1. You can bring your personality to an otherwise bland space.   I think this is one of the more important reasons. Military housing all looks pretty much the same in a specific neighborhood.  While there might be slight differences in floor plans, most of the time the finishes are the same, the flooring the same, the paint color on the walls the same.  And typically it’s all blah, unless you are a higher ranking service member. Most people I know want to stand out and unless you add a little of YOU to your home, it will look just like everyone else’s.  Now it’s not to say you have to go all HGTV on your place, but simply adding a few touches from home, a few pictures on the wall, and some trinkets here and there can really add some style and flair to an otherwise boring space.  And most importantly, it will be a space where you really can feel like home, in an otherwise strange area. Many of us aren’t lucky enough to be stationed near family. So bringing that sense of home to your new home can help with dealing with the homesickness and a lot of times, the loneliness that often accompanies moving every few years.  There’s no better way to end a stressful day then being in a space that is comfortable and enjoyable. And when you take the time to turn that boring old townhouse into a cozy home, you bring a little bit of your home with you no matter where the orders take you.


 Remember your home is what you make of it, nothing more, nothing less.  Here’s some of what I’ve done to help make Washington, D.C. home for us.  Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to keep up with all my fun decorating adventures.


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