✔ Landlord restrictions don’t mean you can’t customize your space
✔ Use items you already have – from food to fabric – to create focal points
✔ The trick is to be creative and think of ways to add brightness, warmth and glamour
Whether you are just moving into your first apartment or have been in one for a while, decorating can be a challenge.
Living in an apartment can come with restrictions about what you are allowed to do. Many landlords won’t let you paint your walls, change light fixtures or even hang art. But a cozy home is not out of reach. Here are budget friendly DIY projects to make your apartment a cozy retreat – and many of them are free!
DIY #1: Show off your blankets and fabrics
If you have extra, snuggly blankets in your closet, why not bring them out to warm up your living room? A simple basket with a few rolled up blankets just invites you to relax.
A pretty blanket or scarf can also be used as a throw over a sofa or headboard, giving it a cozy or bohemian vibe.
DIY #2: Make it pretty with greenery
Flowers and big potted plants can be expensive, but you can bring inside the nature you have right outside your door. With just a simple walk through a ravine or forested area, you can gather pussy willows in the early spring, lilacs or crabapple that are often growing wild and come out with fragrant blossoms in late spring and early summer, branches from trees with interesting leaves throughout the summer and then birch branches, red dogwood branches and evergreen boughs in the winter. Put them in a vase you already own – or even a Mason jar will do - and you have fresh arrangements to brighten up your space.
DIY #3: Keep it light and bright
You know that feeling of warmth that holiday lights bring? Why not keep those pretty white lights up longer, or even year-round? They can give a bright glow around a mirror, or behind pretty sheer curtains.
DIY #4: Put up artwork without putting holes in the walls
A home will never truly feel finished without a few pieces of art on the walls, but framed art can be expensive and your landlord might not allow holes in the walls. There are many hooks and mounts now that stick on the walls and come off without peeling the paint (such as 3M’s Command™ Brand).
One simple trick is to use two of these and hang up a simple string, and then use clothespins to hang up old photographs. Do several of these for a full – and personalized - wall effect. Another inexpensive trick is to take squares of different wallpaper patterns and create a mosaic on the wall – which can be moved around or taken to your next apartment.
If you do happen to have some framed artwork, or find some by scouring through flea markets or garage sales, you can just arrange them against the wall or on a dresser for an interesting focal point without worrying about having to hang heavy pieces. Even empty frames can make a statement.
DIY #5: Glam it up
Nothing says warm and luxurious as much as gold. Get some simple, inexpensive clay pots at the garden centre and spray paint them gold. Arrange several of them in different sizes on a table and either plant herbs or other small houseplants in them, or put a pillar candle in each for a striking effect.
DIY #6: Shop your fridge and pantry
You can use food to decorate too! A simple bowl of lemons or oranges looks stunning on a kitchen table. For an interesting still life effect, float apples in clear glass vases or containers with different levels of water in each. Even a line of inexpensive jars you might already have or can buy at your local dollar store can be filled with spices to give colour to your countertop.
DIY #7: Dress up your windows
Even if you don’t have the option of putting up new curtains or new blinds, you can make even simple window coverings stand out by draping sheer fabric over the rods in a swag.
DIY #8: Sew new cushion covers
Sewing new cushion covers is a wonderfully inexpensive way to keep up with the latest style trends without spending a lot of money. All you need is a sewing machine (or even just a needle and thread), a sharp pair of scissors, a measuring tape and some fabric.
If you’re not a handy sewer, take an old cozy sweater and wrap a throw pillow with it, or tie a colourful scarf around it, for an instantly fresh look to your living room sofa.
Living in an apartment has many benefits, but one of the biggest drawbacks is it’s hard to customize your living space as much as you can in your own home. But, even if you can’t knock down walls or make upgrades, all you need is a bit of creativity to make your apartment a cozy retreat.