You’ve left the nest, found a place, and rented the space. But the stark walls and empty rooms of your first apartment don’t exactly scream, “Welcome!” A common dilemma for the suddenly grown and on-your-own, but there’s no need to resign yourself to cave-like living. With some clever know-how and a bit of time, we’ll help you turn blank and boring into Home Sweet Home–all on a budget and all about you!
1) No paint? No problem.
Along with a no-pet policy, many rentals prohibit painting. This unfortunate rule will often leave you looking at semi-gray walls that have seen better days. Luckily, there are a host of options available that don’t include a brush or your landlord’s wrath.
Consider creating a gallery wall using eclectic frames and photos, or purchasing engineer size prints of your favorite memories. Both help to break up the space and can add quite a pop.
Got a green thumb? You might also try incorporating plants like Bamboo or Parlor Palms. The foliage will cover quite a bit of wall and literally ‘liven’ things up.
2) Thrift it.
Frequenting local thrift stores and donation centers will help you secure one-of-a-kind and functional finds, in a way that is both fun and budget friendly.
The key lies in determining the best time to shop, and in employing some strategy. Try visiting earlier in the day, as this is typically when new items are brought to the floor. As you enter, initiate a ‘quick-browse,’ letting your eyes quickly scan available merchandise. Rather than slowly sifting, this will save you time and help easily identify stand-out items. Love the chair but hate the color?
A few strokes of paint or an upholstery overhaul can transform it into the perfect piece.
3) Strategic somethings.
Stuck with that saggy couch for a bit longer? Now is the perfect time to utilize smaller, more affordable elements.
Colorful items such as throw pillows and blankets will both conceal Couchy’s flaws and distract the eye. Don’t feel limited to furniture face-lifts however, as a carefully placed accent piece can be used in a multitude of ways. Standing lamps, unique artwork, and area rugs are all surefire ways to hide the hideous.
4) All about ambiance.
Even the most primitive of living situations can be rendered cozy with few adjustments. Installing dimmer switches or low wattage light bulbs, can take fluorescent-ly ugly to warm and snugly.
Or consider nixing the electricity and lighting a few candles. Intimate and romantic, these inexpensive wax wonders not only enhance the visual appearance of your place, but can do your nose a few favors. Fruity fragrances create a light and airy atmosphere while cinnamon scents are known to evoke a sense of warmth.
5) DIY dazzle.
When you have a host of odds and ends, and not much else, it’s time to channel your inner crafter! Mismatched scraps of yarn can lend themselves to the perfect bohemian afghan, while empty paper towel rolls create a fabulous ‘faux iron’ wall hanging.
Still low on ideas? Sites like Craftgawker and Pinterest can help and are sure to inspire. It’s usually the overlooked items that create the most unique display pieces, for practically nothing.
Though your resources may be minimal, your living space doesn’t have to be. Enjoy sprucing up your interiors as you learn that home décor can be both frugal and fun!