Buy Ikea bookshelves and Alex drawers and hire movers when moving time comes. Don't put your life on hold while waiting for a place you can personalise. I have hung pictures and hope the security deposit will cover any damage but tbh I am as good as they come at spackling tiny holes in the wall and I fancy my chances of getting my full deposit back.
I had no choice about moving pretty much everything from my house to my flat as most of it was the DCs'. I put up simple cotton voile curtains using spring/tension rods so no damage around windows, and I have a good few plants, which make a space more homey to me. The kitchen is where I have really left my mark -- have all my utensils on the counter, and bought large, freestanding industrial style shelves to house all my pots and casserole dishes as they wouldn't fit in the scant cupboards.
In my mind, my dream house has ice-cream coloured walls, floor to ceiling shelves for my books and a chair for a cat, and a special room for all my fabric and ribbon like something off of Pinterest Seriously, I have fecking wallpapers bookmarked.
The reality is that DP will be renting a wee flat between us, with no ability to paint, put up shelves, or possibly even pictures (most rental places forbid nails/hooks in the walls and many I've lived in say no blu-tack either). We also can't count on it being super long-term, which means we have to think about moving furniture at some point - so no IKEA Alex drawers full of my fabric, sadly.
How have you made rental places your own? We start looking in March and as I hate where I live now (house share with no proper communal space) I'm really looking forward to making a proper home for us...