Have you ever reached for a broom only to remember you never bought one? Is there a blanket on your window because, oh yeah, windows need curtains? Tried to put your electricity bill on the fridge, but … you have no magnets?
That’s my life. And It stings, man.
Living alone magnifies my apartment’s emptiness. My voice bounces off the beige walls, and I force myself to have dinner-for-one at my teeny dining table, not hide out in my bedroom and get pizza crumbs under my pillowcase.
I could be here until my lease is up or … I might be here for YEARS. Who knows! So, I might as well make this house a home, right? Here are four things I’m doing (and you can to) to spruce up a space without squandering the rent money.
1. Pin It Up
Since dollars are on the line, organize a game plan. Measure your walls, and use paper to represent where artwork will go. Get to sketching! Take those ideas out of your head and onto paper.
Pinterest is also a great place to collect the images you find into convenient “boards.” You can create multiple boards to represent different spaces to decorate. I have one dedicated to the infinite ways to arrange frames on a wall. Sound intense? It is. But frames can get expensive, and this will give me a good idea of what I want my walls to look like before hoarding them.
2. DIY, Dangit!
Even Ikea won’t have everything you need—it happens. And sometimes, your money is better spent elsewhere (we’ll get to that later). I skimmed Pinterest, took a trip to Lowe’s, and built my own shelves. The Lowe’s dudes were helpful and honest. Bonus: The first time you need them to cut wood, it’s free!
I’m also working on turning all those glass Mexican soda bottles I collect into … something. Just you wait. Pinterest will guide me!
3. Take It Slow
Set reasonable goals—don’t just budget your money, budget your time. Whether you fill every nook and cranny with trinkets or opt for detailed picture frame arrangements, you won’t bring that Apartment Of Your Dreams to fruition overnight.
So, can you dedicate every Saturday morning of the month to transforming your bathroom? Do you need 3 months to take enough party photos for that 10 ft x 4 ft Instagram collage over your bed? If you do, no worries. Remember, this isn’t an episode of Extreme Home Makeover.
4. Pay For Quality Pieces
Don’t print photos from Tumblr and post them on your wall as art. The creative mind behind those images should get paid! I value original pieces from illustrators and designers, so that is where a chunk of my budget goes.
Etsy is a great place to browse for illustrations. Items there can run anywhere from $20 to $30 per screen print, so if that’s out of your budget, you can invest about $15 in a graphic design magazine or art journal and frame the spreads. Yes, one magazine is $15, but it includes pages of glossy art that the artist agreed to have featured.
Thrift stores also have abundance of old records and magazines begging to adorn your walls. Fun fact: If you’re into the whole galaxy trend, NASA’s hi-res photos of space are free to use!
Hope this helped! Now, to find some magnets …
Which room will you start decorating—and how? Let us know!
(Photo: Renee Silverman)