Turn Your Rental into a Staycation Paradise

Not everyone can hop the next flight to Tahiti, no matter how long it takes spring arrive. But even if your home is a rental, there are ways to turn a boring weekend into the staycation of your dreams!

"We are homebodies," says Kay Rubia in Los Angeles, "but it helps sometimes to move things around in our apartment and imagine we are someplace else."

There are all kinds of inexpensive ways to turn your home into an oasis with or without spending a lot money. Here are a few of them:
1. Make a "Floor Bed"

"Every Friday, my boyfriend and I drag all the pillows and blankets into the living room," says interior designer Shona Deal. "We lay the pillows in a circle surrounding the layered blankets and watch movies all day. It's very luxurious."

There is something special almost to the point of gluttony about turning your living room into a giant bed for the day. Make sure you also stay in your jammies.

2. Turn Your Bathroom into a Home Spa

"Even if you don't have a big tub, the key is to make things feel clean and relaxing," says Deal. She suggests filling your tub with hot water from the shower head so the room fills with steam. Add fragrant oils to the tub and lots of candles. If you can bring in music, even better. Then, either one at a time, or together if you are feeling cozy, indulge in a spa like bath for as long as you want.

3. Build a Fort

Another great way to "getaway" without getting away is to build a fort. Yes, that kind. Just like when you were a child, using pillows and blankets, create a space that is whimsical and unique. Add music and lights to give it an extra something.

If the fort idea seems too complicated after a long week at work, pitch a tent in your living room or on your patio if you have one (and the weather permits), turn off cell phones, TV and computers, and pretend you've gone camping - complete with s'mores.

3. Turn Up the Heat

Sometimes you just want to feel hot. So for one night only, turn up the heat. Make your apartment a downright balmy 80 degrees. Put on a T-shirt and a pair of shorts and lounge around with mojitos or chilled wine. If you can't bring spring to the mountain, bring the mountain to springtime.

Then, the next day, make it up to Mother Earth by turning your heat off for a few days in favor of a blanket and an extra sweater.

4. Make a Tropical Feast

One thing that's so exciting about going away is the fact that you not only allow yourself to eat anything ("What? I'm on vacation!") but you also get to sample foods you normally wouldn't. So one night, you and your honey should decide on someplace you want to travel together. Then look up some regional recipes. Prepare a special dinner and indulge yourselves like you are on, if not a vacation, then a staycation!

5. Hang a History Museum - About You

When traveling, you tend to do things you don't always do when you are in your hometown. But when you stay home what's a good way to "see the sites?" "How about make your own museum about the history of you?" suggests Deal. "Decorate the walls with photos you've taken or art you've made. If you have old stories, poems or letters, childhood diaries or drawings, put all those out as well."

Then be the docent leading your partner through a museum of your life.

"The best is getting [your partner] to return the favor to show to you as well," adds Deal.

6. Music and Lighting

"Nothing changes an environment better than light and sound," says Deal.

Go through your apartment and hang Christmas lights. If that is too time-consuming, buy red, yellow, purple and green bulbs, then switch them out for the compact fluorescents in the sockets. Turn on your favorite music and see how your staycation plays out.

No matter what you do, the point of a staycation is to do something different than the old routine. So imagine what you would do if you were on vacation-Would you go to a local market? Go for a swim? Whatever it is, find a way to do it closer to home. And if you can do it athome, even if your home is a rental, all the better.

Joselin Linder's new book, The Stoned Family Robinson, about the ultimate vacation destination is in stores now.

Want to know how to deal with other rental issues? Here are some AOL Real Estateguides that can help:
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