I live in a 3 room apartment with a laundry room and bathroom. I need some decorating tips to spice up my apartment where it feels like home, and welcoming. I live on a budget, I am considered low income. Can you help me?
By Sue from Washington, IN
When I helped my brother-in-law decorate his apartment I tried to bring in some color into the otherwise bland room. I assume, like his apartment, that you can't paint the walls. I brought in throw pillows, a large area rug, and changed the drapes, saving the original drapes to put back up when he moved out. This apartment had a shelving unit that separated the kitchen from the living room and I put arrangements of those decorative bottles with colorful peppers, pastas, and vegetables inside them. I used colorful candles and some floral rings, and small framed family pictures. Most of the items that I bought I had gotten from the dollar store or Big Lots. I had read in a magazine that you could use colorful pictures from calendars and make "frames" for them out of contact paper, because most apartments won't let you put nails in the walls to hang pictures. I would group three or four pictures together on a wall remembering not to hang them too high. Most people that hang pictures over a sofa place them much too high leaving a huge gap of space between the sofa and the arrangement. Place wall groupings lower since people are generally sitting in your living room and that way they can actually see your grouping. When hanging pictures leave a gap between them no more than the width of your own hand, spreading pictures apart more than that leaves your grouping disjointed and the eye can't flow. Have lots of fun decorating your apartment and expressing your personality!!
BOY-OH-BOY, do I have some ideas for you! That's my specialty, (Decorating on a Budget).
---> First decide of a color scheme. One major color & an accent color.
---> You usually can't paint an apartment. This is where you go to a Thrift Store or buy 1 or 2 new sheets in a solid color that matches your color scheme. These can be attached to any blank wall to "paint" your wall. If you can afford to, go to a hardware or lumber store and buy a very thin cheep wood strip called louon (or any kind of flat thin molding) You staple the sheet to the back of this thin long piece of wood then flip it over until the staples are on the back side and attach the wood with the sheet hanging from it to your wall using cup hooks & fishline or a few picture hanging nails. If you can't get the wood, just use staples or tacks and cover staples with a silk ivy vine or something pretty. (these days you can buy colored staples at craft or scrapbook stores to match the sheet) You can even pleat the area you staple to make drapes or a textured look on the wall.
---> If you have dollar stores in you area you can buy vinyl table cloths & use one of these on your kitchen table & cut one up to any size for elsewhere. Even better yet use another sheet and use fabric glue (avail. at Walmart, Craft or Fabric stores) to hem (unless you have a sewing machine, then you can use that) You can use sheets to make a Table Cloth, or cut it and add trim to the edges to make a table runner. (you just need some good fabric glue. There's one brand that is much better than the others, I don't know the name, but it's totally clear in the see through bottle. It can be machine washed & dried or dry-cleaned!)
---> Another idea for a solid color sheet is to cover a beat up couch or chair. Just cover the couch or chair, tuck in the back and sides, pleat and pin the arms until it fits nicely, then staple the part that hangs under the couch or chair and use a nice piece of rope, cording or ribbon to wrap around the bottom to make sure everything stay in place & looks crisp.
---> When you go on walks this fall look for cool looking branches, twigs or dried flowers. These look nice in a matching vase you can buy at the thrift store.
---> Get some lumber, doors or old shutters. Add hinges and this will make a nice screen to separate you dining room from the living room.
---> Most Walmart's have a one dollar a yard fabric area in the very back of the store. I made by daughter some no sew swag curtains from $1 a yard fabric for her bedroom, I simply hung long nails on each side of the top of the window, used rubber bands and made "rosettes" which i draped over the nails, stuffed the top with plastic used bags to give it "pouf" and re draped the bottom back up the to the top part way to make "bishop sleeve" type bottoms sew the bottom didn't need to be hemmed. To give them flare, I took large silk flowers (89 cents a bunch at Walmart, or craft store clearance) and cut the flowers off the stems leaving a bit of stem to tuck behind the gathers. The flowers matched her bedspread. These can be taken down and made to fit any window size when she moves. They really spoof up her mini blinds!
---> paint is cheep, and even cheeper if you look through the "seconds" most stores have (from customers who won't buy the color because it's not what the wanted). Seconds are usually less than half price. Buy furniture at a second hand store. Prime it and then paint it. Most stores that sell paint, like home depot, give free painting techniques classes.
---> You can take every day clothing articles and use these to decorate. I made some really cute "curtains" by hanging just tacking up a formal lacy shawl over my window. You can take scarves and just safty pin or tie them around throw pillows and maybe add a knot or a bow to give a fresh new look! Just use your imagination!---> Don't forget to check out decorating ideas in magazines. When you go shopping, just get in a long line and skim through the magazines in the check out line. If you find a really good idea you can buy the magazine, but it's cheeper to just take one of the many subscription forms they put in all the magazines. It may cost $4.00 for one magazine, but to subscribe it costs $12 for one whole year!
---> Here's a great web site to find out how to do just about anything. You can even ask questions to get specific details:
Hope this helps, I'll write more ideas later Let me know any specific room you'd like ideas for. And just what your specific needs are. Do you like Modern, Traditional, Country or what?
When I was in high school, my mom told me, "You are an inexpensive date, not a cheap one. Remember the difference."
The same thing can be said for decorating. You just have to remember the difference between cheap and inexpensive. If you have white or beige walls, and you can't paint them, let's pretend we chose them. Walls like that do well with grey-blue, turquiose or darker blue neutrals.
Go to the library and do so research, say, in magazines like Architectural Digest. Look at rooms with your wall colors to see what was chosen.
Check out oodle.com and craigslist.org for free or very low cost furniture. Go shopping at good furniture stores to learn how good furniture is made, so you will recognize it when it doesn't cost much, or especially recognize cheap furniture, which is inexpensive, too.
Put your money in things that you take with you. Pillows, drapes, wall and table art. However a clean but simple and sparingly furnished apartment will look better than lots of quickly chosen things.
Also, larger scale is more luxurious. Yes, you can put larger scale things in smaller room; you just have to use fewer of them. Sheets: 400TC or higher, check out overstock.com and smartbargains.com.
LR: Three stuffed club chairs is as good as a sofa.
DR: Bookshelves along the walls and a good long table can be a study, conference/meeting room.
DR: In the homestead days, chairs were hand-made. They had different styles and sizes. An interesting idea.
Laundry: One lady called it The Family Closet. Sewing, hang-drying, mud room. Depending on size, a lot of possibilities.
BR: Here is where personal/family photos go, not in the LR.
Walls:If you can't afford framing, go to the building store and buy plane molding--it's flat. Cut the corners at 45* and paint with acryic paint from a hobby store (small sizes). At garage sales, look for large coffee table books--maps, heritage floorplans, photos--lots of "art."
You can hang things from the wall, too, such as mirrors. There is no mirror law that says you may only have one. There is a new hanger out shown on TV that looks like wire, but hangs heavy things. Perfect since it leaves a tiny hole. A crayon can cover the hole later.
Keep a notebook. Ideas, pictures, sources, etc. I call mine my "brains in a pocket."
I agree with Persnickety Paula. Dollar stores are great for decorating on a budget. Another thing you could do is go yard saling. Lots of good stuff can be found to make your apartment more homey. Prices aren't usually fixed so you can bargain. You might need to get up early for best selection but if you go later, people are more likely to lower their prices. Go with a friend and have fun. It may take a while to find exactly what you're looking for and you might even get soem ideas along the way.
Whoo-Wee! Cyinda has some great ideas! Cyinda, I tried to read your profile, but you haven't made one yet! I love to read profiles of the ThriftyFun participants; I hope that you will make one up soon! Are you a professional decorator or is it just your hobby? I love decorating; not only have I had the fun of decorating my house; but, I have also decorated the motel that I own too! It is in the "northwoods" theme, which is appropriate since I live in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. I used a lot of items that I had bought from a catalog called Collections where everything in $14.99, have you heard of it? I also like to use the catalog Tender Hearted Treasures because they have very cute items for a very reasonable amount. I have so many compliments about my motel rooms and I think people would be amazed at how little I spent to make them look so nice.
Having a coordinated color scheme will really help. Collect things that are colorful and fit together from thrift shops, etc. Put pictures on the walls. You can have them unframed - or get frames from dollar stores - (You can use that sticky plastic stuff to hang them if theya re not too heavy instead of nails.) Little pix look better grouped together. Decorative items can be used - almost anything goes these days - Even things like old tools! (REmember the industrial look?) What would reflect you? Some things that are tossed could look quite sculptural - or use natural elements like drfitwood, pine cones, etc. Make dried arrangements with interesting looking weeds.Put candles in interesting bottles. Fill bottles with colored water & put in the windows. Collect sea shells & interesting rocks. Gropu together old/colorful books. Or cut out old/interesting illustrations to frame. Drape old furniture with colorful sheets/or other pieces of fabric. Make/collect colorful pillows. My problem is that I have too MUCH stuff! Once you get collecting, it's hard to stop!
Remember Sue to try to keep your colors matched well......
Earth tones always makes a room.
Maybe try to catch some garage sales...a couple a week.
Always make sure your drapes match....you can substitute drapes with mini blinds and a valance.
Just watch your colors.
~~~Good Luck, you can do it.~~~
Check out craigslist.com and click on "Free" under "For Sale". You'll find a ton of stuff you can just pick up from people - left over from garage sales, things people don't want to have to haul to the dump, etc. It's a great resource
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