Don't pay full price! Start by going to rummage sales, antique malls, flea markets and resale shops and look for shabby chic pieces (soft florals, pastels, slightly chipped paint, old-fashioned lace) or classic details (wrought iron, vintage prints, antiqued furniture).
- Paint produces the most dramatic change for the least amount of money. Check with your landlord first, though, to make sure it's okay to paint. Your landlord may request to see what color you're planning to paint or require that you paint the walls back to a neutral white before moving out.
Main Living Space
- Choose pieces for function versus form. A cluttered room never looks good, so keep it simple. Look for a table with drawers and foot rests or side tables that open up for storage.
- Pick a central focal point; it should not be the television. Don’t feel obligated to push furniture against the walls as you can create extra space and a cozier seating area if you create a smaller central area.
- Make your own window coverings or slip covers by purchasing fabric that you like and then creating DIY curtains or drapes.
- Pick out a few simple pieces that you really enjoy to add personality to the room. A simple coffee table centerpiece or a fireplace mantle decoration can add much more sophistication than a dozen cluttered pieces.
- Use three-way bulbs to create pools of warm light around the room. You’ll have bright light when you need it and a softer light for a cozy ambiance.
- Update appliances like the coffee maker and toaster. Choose a similar style and color to tie them into the decor of the room.
- Store bread, fruit and other foods you normally leave on the counter in attractive baskets or bins.
- Remove clutter. Simplify your kitchen so that only the things you use often are taking up space.
- Pick up matching soap dispensers, towels and pot holders to personalize your kitchen.
- Place a small table lamp on the counter to add a soft glow to the room.
- Use decorative oil or vinegar bottles to add color and accent to your kitchen. You can easily make these. Try www.saveoncrafts.com for great deals on supplies. Find a bottle you like and add oil and herbs to your taste!
- If your kitchen has a window, hang a billowy curtain to add a soft touch.
- Dress up your bed by adding a headboard, bed skirt or duvet cover. You can create a bargain headboard by buying a section of a wrought iron or a picket fence at a flea market. A bed skirt can be handmade from a sheet by cutting it using your box spring as a guide.
- Hang plant or bicycle hooks from the ceiling and use these to hang window coverings. Add a garland or string of lights to the top of the window frame or along the curtain length.
- Group candles in odd numbers and in a variety of sizes and heights on your dresser top or side table.
- Mirrors, in any room, will make the room look larger.
- Avoid cluttering your shelves with tons of tiny knick-knacks. Choose just your favorites and arrange them around the room.
- Add fabric to the room by dressing up a plain white shower curtain and windows. Also cover tissue boxes and trash cans.
- If you don’t have a cupboard under the sink, glue Velcro to the bottom of the sink and attach fabric to it to create a pretty storage area.
- Hang ivy or floral accents around your mirror.
- Live plants can turn a dull bathroom into a natural-looking sanctuary.
- Display towels and toiletries in a large basket and arrange then creatively.
This post was updated April 2, 2013.