The excitement of having a new apartment can quickly dull when a renter is faced with white walls, standard-issue carpets and boring window shades.
But while there may not be much money left after the deposits are paid, there are ways to make a design statement in a rental property no matter how small the space or meager the budget.
According to LivingApartments.com, the first step is to find out how much space is available for a makeover. Decluttering the paper piles, organizing collections that have gotten out of hand and clearing surfaces such as desktops and the coffee table go a long way to make an apartment look larger and cleaner. Organizing containers and bins are affordable with a Bed Bath & Beyond promotion code.
One of the most inexpensive decorating moves that can make a big impact is choosing a paint color that expresses the apartment dweller's personality, whether it be a bold hue, a sunny pastel shade or a contemporary neutral such as steel gray. As interior designer and stager Julie Danad told the website, "Choose a complex color. This simply means if you would use several different words to describe the color, then it is probably complex. "
Take the precautionary step of asking the landlord if painting is allowed and chances are the answer will be yes. "Don't be reluctant about asking the landlord what you can and can't do with the space - you might be surprised," according to HGTV. "Most are fine with painting, hanging wall decorations and replacing existing window treatments and light fixtures, as long as you return the apartment to its original state when you move."
Once the background color is settled, turning an apartment into a home can be accomplished by letting art work, accessories and furniture reflect one's personal taste and interests. "The idea is to create a home that is an expression of your inner being, so every time you step inside, it will really feel like you are coming home," advises RentalDecorating.com.
Mixing high-end and second-hand home goods is a resourceful way to decorate
"Use what you have" is a common catchphrase among decorators who like to make the most of what homes already possess. By mixing the old with the new, an apartment can be outfitted with furnishings that can do double-duty, such as a desk that's turned into a buffet sideboard during a small dinner party.
Shopping at both high-end and thrifty venues can yield a combination of upscale pieces offset by those that have value, but don lower price tags. Looking for special deals through clearance sales, at flea markets or through Design Within Reach promotion codes can help shoppers stay within their budget.
"Invest money where it counts: high-quality fabrics, neutral furniture that will last for many years, any items you truly love and will likely keep for a lifetime," writes design expert Laura Flanagan for Interiordec.com. "Just like everything in interior decorating, it's all about balance."
If there's one item to splurge on, it's the sofa, according to San Francisco interior designer Courtney Jones. As one of the most heavily used pieces of furniture in a household, Jones advises her clients to consider what she calls the "four F's" - form, frame, fabric and fill.
Form takes into account the sofa's back height, style of arm rests and number of cushions - all factors that will determine whether it will fit into a certain space. The frame, best made of hardwoods, is the nuts-and-bolts construction that determines a sofa's quality and durability. The choice of cushion fill and upholstery fabric needs to be durable enough to stand up to regular use.
To offset the expense of sofa, a flea market side chair can be reupholstered with a high-quality fabric. Coordinated pillows can be changed according to season. An inexpensive lamp from a second-hand store can be freshened with a coat of paint on the base and topped with a new lampshade. When purchasing new items, ModernFurniture4Home promotion codes can help budget-minded decorators save money.
For the home office, purchasing a desk with simple, contemporary lines from a discount store allows homeowners to splurge on a classy hardwood or a fabric-covered chair to accompany it. Quality hardware for drawer pulls and knobs can give office storage units a high-class look as well.
Quick fix decorating ideas can be the final touches to apartment decor
For the final touches in their new home's look, apartment dwellers can learn the tricks of the interior design trade from a host of decorators interviewed by House Beautiful on their favorite small changes that yield a big impact.
Florida-based designer Jim Howard told the magazine that a room can be made to look larger by using curtains or other window treatments that are the same color as the adjoining walls. "You can achieve a similar look by painting rods and rings with a color that complements the curtains. Rub the paint on with a rag - it creates a softer effect," he said.
Other quick fixes include changing the color of the wall behind book shelves or inside a cabinet. "Try papering the back of a cabinet or bookshelf. Paint can't come close to the impact," recommended Jean Larette, whose design business is based in Marin County, California. "It will inspire you to rearrange your shelves."
New York City interior designer Eric Cohler told the magazine that he likes to bring sparkle to artwork accessories by using bright, colored frames around a white mat, or a white frame around a colored mat. A Framed Art Pictures promotion code will offer a substantial savings.
Howard agrees with Cohler's idea to choose a space that isn't the expected location for a piece of artwork. "Put pieces in unusual places, like above a door. Lean some against a mirror," he told House Beautiful.
For California-based designer Joe Nye, books are the accessory of choice. "Stack whatever you collect on a table," he said. "Books are my favorite accessory because they're so personal. They reflect your interests."
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