Are you getting ready to move into an apartment? If you are dreading the prospect of staring at blank beige walls, do not despair. While we understand that many property owners do not allow tenants to paint with the latest trending colors, it is still possible to add some spice and texture to your home.
Before you start shopping around for ideas, it is a good idea to set a realistic budget. If you already own all of the furniture and accessories you will need to furnish your apartment, this will allow you to do more with less. If you are budgeting for furniture and appliances, your may have more creativity than cash. You should also look into how to decorate your apartment while trying to help save the environment and go green. Savvy decorators can give a living room or bedroom a makeover with a budget as small as $500. Make a list of all “big ticket items” you will need to purchase–include couches, tables, and floor lamps.
By embracing your personal style and preferences, it is definitely possible to add life and save energy in any apartment – especially yours. Here are five ways to stretch your decorating dollars:
1) Buy used furniture. You can visit garage sales, local flea markets and scratch and dent stores to locate used furniture that needs to be refurbished. Look for pieces that have a solid construction overall. A loose leg or a slight wobble do not matter as much as the sturdiness of the piece as a whole. You can save money on fabric to reupholster pieces by using colorful printed sheets or buying fabric on the bolt online or through a textile mill or local outlet. If you find a table with a leg missing, you can buy four matching stair posts or use recycled bench legs to create a unique centerpiece for your living area. A slab of old weathered barn wood makes an interesting table, if country chic is your style. Be creative and look for ways to recycle and refurbish items that will reveal your style.
2) Create extra seating, and save on furniture costs, by using colorful floor pillows. You can purchase large 3’ X 3’ pillows in a variety of colors and textures from Import Stores and Discount outlets. You may be able to find pillows for a fraction of the original price. Furniture stores, furniture rental centers and designers all discard or sell pillows and other accessories when they no longer fit the trend. You can easily recover the pillows to match your new decor.
3) Using mirrors is a great way to open up a room and capture reflections to give interest to a room. If you cannot hang a large mirror on your wall using nails or brads, consider standing smaller mirrors on shelves or ledges. You can lean a mirror against a wall. You may also consider using a framed mirror as a centerpiece on a coffee table. Place several candles of varying shapes on top of the mirror or use it as a tray for a small plant in a decorative pot.
Several temporary hanging mediums are available now that will hold heavier pieces of artwork and mirrors. Visit the hardware store and ask for temporary, non-surface damaging hanging hooks. These handy tools attach easily and do not remove paint of wallpaper when you take them down. They also don’t leave behind holes that you might have to repair or patch when you decide to move.
4) Use everyday items for unique accessories. Take a tip from the design shows. Use retired handbags, shoes or china serving dishes as one-of-a-kind plant holders. Repurpose drinking glasses, miniature hat boxes or coffee tins covered in fabric as desk organizers. You can use fabric that coordinates with or contrasts other pieces in your room to cover an orange crate to create a magazine and newspaper box. Look around your apartment for inspiration. Keep in mind that you can use sheets, drapes, throw rugs and placemats as budget friendly sources of fabric. You can find many of these items on discount shelves at your favorite retailers.
5) Mix textures, colors, shapes and sizes to create an energetic apartment that represents your style. Bring elements into the room to reveal your interest. Do you love music? Make folded slipcovers from old sheet music for your books and display them on a coffee table or bookshelf. Do you have dozens of playbills? Fold origami figures to display on a side table. Express yourself with accent pieces and small details.
Decorating does not have to be expensive. Using bold colors and a variety of textures will allow you to come home to a place that fits your lifestyle. If you find a way to ‘go green,’ your guests will be intrigued by your creative efforts and hopefully pay it forward.
The apartment had almost one wall with mirrors. It definitely makes the room look big.
My decorating problem is that I usually get bored quickly and want to change everything in my apartment every year. My solution was to buy a dark gray couch and then any time I’m bored I can just change out the throw pillows. Saves me a ton! 🙂
@Penny Hoarder. Good idea. I also like painting. A can of paint isn’t that expensive and it can completely change the look of a room.
I don’t live in an apartment, but I do have a pretty small home – and with three kids, it can feel small. I find that less furniture makes the living space feel so much bigger. We also use vibrant paints on the wall to make the place feel cozy. And we try to let in lots and lots of light.
I’d add that throws are really useful too. I’ve chucked several throws over ancient couches to add some colour (and hide any stains). With cushions, they can completely transform a room!
@Harri. It’s amazing what you can do with a few accessories hey?! Thanks for sharing the tip.
Or you can completely lose the plot and make knock off designer covers for less than £10 as a challenge (my readers are as nuts as I am)
Erm…………. here go http://mortgagefreeinthree.com/2011/10/the-10-sofa-challenge-9
Have to admit – it was a crazy idea but they still make me smile.
My friends mom sews everything and she is awesome at it. We all put in our requests. If you can make it yourself, then do it.