Rentals can be long term and while you are living there why not make it as close to home as possible? There are things that can and cannot be modified based on the contract, so make sure you read it over carefully, or ask. If you do ask, be sure to follow up with the request in writing so that if anything changes, you have your permission documented.
Paint is quite simply the easiest way to make things feel more at home. Colors can be changed based on room or personality of the room itself.Warm colors and cool colors make for endless options to create a certain feel. Plus this is an easy change that just takes some elbow grease.
Hang things on the wall. Nothing around you can create a sterile or college style emptiness. Pictures of family or artistic paintings can be hung with a level and some nails. Most places just request when you remove the pictures and nails that you fill in the holes that are left, but again check your contract or ask.
Plants can create a sense of outdoors and even a spring/summer feel to the cold winter days of the Alaskan location. Just make sure that the potted plant does not get overwatered and ruin the floors of the house. That can lead to expensive repairs if not taken care of quickly and correctly.
Rugs! Some houses choose to use the same flooring or carpeting throughout the whole house to keep it minimal on decorating expenses. This can makes things bland and again that sterile feel. Rugs can be picked up at almost any store these days and come in all different shapes, sizes, and colors!
What have you done to a rental to make it feel like home?