Promise I'm not crazy, folks. This is possible. Today I'm sharing a few tricks I learned when I re-decorated my apartment this past week. My mom is a killer interior decorator. She works some real magic in our house. The two of us went down to my apartment while all of my roommates were home for the holidays and gave the place a M-U-C-H needed spruce-up.
here's some before photos. It's a little embarrassing that we've lived here for so long and seriously done nothing to the place.
My roommate made that collage at the beginning of the year, and that was kind of the only decoration we had going for us.
Tip #1: (this one comes straight from my mom, the queen of decorating). To make a small space look bigger, unify the room somehow. In this case, we used wrapping paper to become a faux-wallpaper, turning the living room into one flowing room rather than a collection of small, broken up walls (which, let's be honest, makes up the majority of most apartment layouts). Use wrapping paper that you already have to act as your wallpaper. Don't go crazy--maybe do 1/2 way up the wall. Too much can overwhelm and become too busy for the eye.
The wallpaper/wrapping paper is SO renter friendly. We used scotch tape to keep it up, and if you really wanted to, you could go with painter's tape. You'd be re-sticking paper for the rest of your days, but it'd be the 100% sure way to not chip any paint.
Isn't this space already looking happier?
Tip #2: Re-Arrange the furniture. This is absolutely free, and can really change the mood of the room. The furniture at my house moves ALL. THE. TIME. It's one of my mom's favorite past times, I think. (This is me, afraid of heights, scooting that collage over...)
Tip #3: Re-use and re-purpose what you already have. We backed our blaaaaah entertainment unit with contrasting wrapping paper, which made the whole thing look new again. We scavenged for fake flowers in our storage room, and put them in old pots. The cork board squares have been in my family for AGES, and I updated them with each of our monograms. And look! There hangs Jeffers, my favorite Giraffe in all the world.
Tip #4: Scavenge from the rest of the house. The pillows on the sofa were ones we had in another room. What's more free than that?
Tip #5 save things that you make/party decor. This is one of my biggest hints, because seriously, that's what half of this stuff is. I have had two older sisters get married, and the pennant flags, chalkboard, yellow door, and canvas ampersand are ALL saved reception decor. Look around in your storage unit. I'm sure you have something to give a 2nd life to.
Tip #6: Sometimes your current decor just needs a little pick-me-up. I have an identical chalkboard in my room, but the lace paper boarder on this pictured chalkboard really gives it the finished "wow factor". I love this look, and I think I'll trot on down to my room to change mine up too. We also added a backing and boarder to my roommate's collage, if you notice in the other pictures. It really frames the piece and makes it stand out, while also unifying the piece with the rest of the room.
Tip #7: Well, this is more of a funny thing than a tip. My mom's signature to each of her decorating projects is plates. This just goes to show that pulling things in from other rooms--i.e., the kitchen--absolutely works.
Tip #8: Give yourself some visual breaks. This is another one that comes straight from my mom. This brick wall is pretty left-alone, which provides good balance with the adjoining wall (T.V. unit, door, and collage). The only "decor" on this wall happens to be the curtains and the simple canvas ampersand. I love it!
Tip #9: Know what you will see when you first walk in the front door, and make that focal point crisp, clean, and uncluttered. This is a first impression, and you don't want to overwhelm your guests. Yeah, in this case, Jeffers is our focal point. Totally okay with that.
Tip #10: lighting! Lighting affects the mood of a room SO much. A bright, happy, well-lit room really makes all your hard work really pop. Our living room was originally pretty dull and un-lit. We don't have a ceiling fan/light fixture, only two lights on two separate walls. For the whole room. Yeah, not going to work. Add some lamps, some hanging fixtures. (in this case, we added the hanging fixture over the T.V. unit. This was also saved from a sister's wedding reception). The extra light, I promise, will make all the difference in the world.
Hope this helps--I think it's great to change things up every now and then, and it makes it so nice when you can do it for FREE! (that's my favorite word.)