Many people often think of an apartment as temporary and don’t put it in much effort to decorate it. While you can’t rip out the ugly bathtub or put in a gleaming new kitchen, there are lots of ways to personalize a rental home and make it yours, inexpensively.
First things first: What have you got? Taking a look at your current furniture (including items family and friends may generously be donating) is very important. Does the furniture fit in the space (attractively) and do you need all of it? Know your lifestyle and purchase furnishings and accessories accordingly. If you know you’ll never eat at a table, do you really need one? If you know you like to entertain, make sure you have plenty of seating and perhaps an extra bed. Function is your main criteria here.
If wallpaper or painting are definitely no-go’s with your landlord, look for other ways to add touches of color. Curtains, rugs, pillows and blankets are easy ways of brightening a room, without investing in a shocking pink couch. When thinking about these types of textiles go bold. Geometric prints are hot right now and the colors can be chosen to complement the main hues of your room.
If you are shopping yard sales and flea markets for extra pieces, don’t shy away from items that may need a little work. A bookcase or side table that’s sturdy but not so attractive can be made almost new again with a fresh coat of paint. Slipcovers can be made or bought to renew a couch or chair, so don’t pass on that comfy but hideous tan corduroy number. This is an easy and affordable way to not only get something you need, but make it part of your décor as well. When shopping thrift stores, keep your eyes open for lamps and pictures. The art may have been painted by Michelangelo Nobody, but if you like it, hang it on your wall. The same goes for lamps – you’ll probably need a couple and if the base or shade is particularly interesting, it will act as a useful decoration. Or buy a new shade that complements the rest of the room.
Find and buy double duty furniture – a trunk that acts as storage chest and coffee table, for example. Try and have a complementing color and style scheme throughout your apartment. Then if the redecorating bug bites, you can shift items from room to room without a fuss.
Storage is always an issue in space-stingy apartments. Building on the ‘paint-it-yourself’ decorating plan, keep your eyes open for wooden crates. Stack a couple together, securing them with screws and appropriate brackets. You’ll have an instant and interesting bookcase or cabinet. The flexibility of these is great – use one or two in the bathroom, five or six in the living room.
The most important decorating item though is you. What are you passions, hobbies? Use your existing life to make a personal impact on your living space. Put out trinkets from your travels, photos of friends and places you’ve visited, art you may have created yourself. If you have a collection, proudly display it. It is this type of natural and spontaneous decorating that infuses a home with life.