A background-independent route towards a universal continuum limit in discrete models of quantum gravity proceeds through a background-independent form of coarse graining. This review provides a pedagogical introduction to the conceptual ideas underlying the use of the number of degrees of freedom as a scale for a Renormalization Group flow. We focus on tensor models, for which we explain how the tensor size serves as the scale for a background-independent coarse-graining flow. This flow provides a new probe of a universal continuum limit in tensor models. We review the development and setup of this tool and summarize results in the two- and three-dimensional case. Moreover, we provide a step-by-step guide to the practical implementation of these ideas and tools by deriving the flow of couplings in a rank-4-tensor model. We discuss the phenomenon of dimensional reduction in these models and find tentative first hints for an interacting fixed point with potential relevance for the continuum limit in four-dimensional quantum gravity.