1. Use Mirrors
Nothing will open up a space and make a room feel larger and brighter than mirrors. This tip is especially great if you are in a basement apartment where light is lacking, or in a small apartment. Get creative, use a tall mirror or one with a decorative frame to add drama and character!
2. Don't ignore your walls
There must be some unwritten law that states that all rentals must be painted beige (you know the color). You can't help but wonder if they started out that color or if they have just gotten dingy over the years. A fun way to spruce up the walls is with fabric. Here are a few inexpensive projects:
-Grab a great fabric print and frame it
- Buy a large canvas board at a craft store, and stretch the fabric over it.
- Find a light-weight fabric, make a mixture of cornstarch and water to make a "glue", and you have instant wallpaper that can be cleaned up when you leave.
Lastly, hang up art work. And for crying out loud, frame those poster's (nothing screams "dorm room" like thumb tacked posters).
3. Address the Windows
Many apartments have those cheap plastic blinds (if you are lucky they aren't bent). Yes, they provide privacy. But, unfortunately they are not attractive. So, hang up curtains (I know, more holes). Buy 2 table clothes or bed sheets if you are on a budget and use them as drapes. This will give your space some needed color and personality!
4. Add a rug
If your landlord hasn't replaced the carpet in 20 years you are probably stuck with brown, stained and worn out carpet. Have no fear, find a rug! Target, Ross, and Home Goods have great rugs that are inexpensive. Cover up worn carpet, place them in front of a kitchen or bathroom sink or anywhere you need a pop of color.
When you move in you probably have a hodge-podge of mix and match furniture and hand-me-down furniture from family and friends. Use slipcovers to cover the couches or use sheets and tuck in the corners and fasten with a decorative pin.
For tables, shelves and other solid pieces, liven them up with a coat of paint. Using the same color can unify mismatched pieces.
I understand you don't want to invest a large amount of cash into furniture in fear that it won't work in your next place. But, some pieces of furniture are worth it if you can afford. For example a coffee table or statement piece can be incorporated anywhere. Here is an idea, buy furniture of craigslist or other classifieds, and when you move sale it!
6. Smart Storage
More than likely your rental is short on space and especially storage. Decorative baskets and boxes are great to store items and add a decorative flair! Make your own "built-ins" with inexpensive shelves from Ikea or build your own. Home Depot and Lowe's will cut the wood for you, you just need to nail it together.
Most rentals have poor lighting. This can be fixed with floor and table lamps. I've said it before, the right lighting is the mood and emotion of a room, so find some great light fixtures that speak to you!
An easy way to bring color in a room is with pillows. Throw a few on the couch and bed and watch the room come alive.
Head over to your greenhouse and pick up some greenery. This is another great way to add color to a room. Find a hanging plant if you are concerned with floor space. A tall plant can soften up corners or hide wires.
Find a statement piece that screams "you" and display it proudly!
Life is too short to not love your space! Use some of these tips and it will be feeling like home in no time!
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