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The Old Apartment

September 27, 2011

I often ask friends for recommendations for the blog and my good friend Emily (we also share a birthday!) asked for recommendations on easy, inexpensive updates to a small city apartments. I have lived in 7 apartments since college and along the way have definitely learned a few things. Painting? Probably not worth it, the last thing you want to do when moving out is re-painting. And you’ll want that security deposit back to invest in your new place. Furniture? Some investments are good, however, every move can bring new space and style that may not fit the apartments before. Below are some easy, relatively inexpensive ways to update your apartment to reflect your personal style, but not cause you to invest too much.

Vinyl Decals

About a year ago I discovered vinyl decals on Etsy and immediately bought some for my apartment.  I love the look wallpaper but certainly can’t use that in an apartment and honestly, I am way too lazy to paint. Decals are an easy, inexpensive way to add some dimension and color to a plain space. I got mine from Byrdie Graphics and she was great to work with.

Inexpensive Wall Art

I someday envision a house filled with interesting art I have collected over the years while traveling and as my taste evolves.  For the moment, however, I am always trying to find inexpensive ways to decorate my walls. Here are some ideas I found around the Web.

Use Yarn to Create Art from Better Homes and Gardens

Also from Better Homes and Gardens- Use framed paper scaps or fabric to create inexpensive wall art

From Using empty frames of the same color can create an interesting, inexpensive visual

Easy, Inexpensive, Window Treatments

My great Mom recently help me make some window treatments for my apartment for less the $100, and they look great!  I really wanted something simple and streamlined. I have a large bay window in my apartment and it has really pretty window frames so I didn’t want to wreck that with hardware or cover it with drapes. I wanted something that I could put onto a tension rod but would still look nice. Tension rods cost about $7-10.00

We started by buying some simple beige osnaberg fabric, which is a lightly textured fabric for about $3.00/yard. We also bought some plain white lining. We created a design  square design with a fold over panel at the top that I could roll up to the length I wanted for the window treatment and I would secure it there with some type of ribbon.

While we were making the curtains, I became very attracted to greek key trim so I decided I would trim the curtains with gold and black greek key. I secured the trim on with fabric glue, since sadly I can’t sew-yet!- I am seriously considering taking a class this Fall. Here is the finished product.

Also, this buttoned shade idea from Martha Stewart looks like an easy inexpensive way to create unique window treatments as well.

The Power of Paint (For furniture!)

When trying to furnish your space never underestimate what you have already got. I have painted several pieces in my own place and completely transformed things that I was about to ship to the Goodwill for a fraction of what it would have cost to replace them.  Below are some examples of what a can of paint can do to reinvigorate something you already have or with an inexpensive flea market find.

Click here to see the endless possibilities with this IKEA piece, which costs $35.00.

IKEA Rast Dresser

Click here for this revamp

From Design Sponge

This is a very cool update for a mirror

From better

And here is one of my own update projects. This used to be a plain oak side table that I was about to get rid of. But with some glossy red paint and nailhead trim to spruce it up, I think I will keep it around for a while.

I hope you found these tips useful and please share your own, I’m sure I could do several posts on easy decorating!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. emily permalink
    September 27, 2011 1:02 pm

    Love it! Thanks for writing this post. It’s full of good ideas. Until we have a house filled with interesting art, I suppose tricks like this will have to do the trick! 🙂 I really like the table with the red studs. Nice work!

  2. kate permalink
    September 27, 2011 7:38 pm

    Great post ! Love the little red table, and window treatment.

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