Apartment living has many advantages over owning a home. Chief among them is the freedom from commitment. Although you might sign a lease to rent, you haven’t signed onto a 15 or 30 year mortgage. Not only are renters free from that long term commitment, they are also not responsible for repairs. Those costs add up quickly. The expense to repair or replace major appliances is typically substantial. But even these big ticket items pale in comparison to structural problems or roof repairs.
Another advantage of apartment living comes from the ability to be mobile. When tenants want a little more space, management is often accommodating. Tenants can easily move into a larger space. Conversely, those wishing to save a bit of money each month can downsize. Those alternatives aren’t possible when straddled with a mortgage.
However, as with any apartment, it seems there is often not enough space. That is usually not the case with a the right strategic planning and a little inside information. Any space can be made to look and feel more open. You don’t need to be a professional home stager or interior design guru to make your apartment look great with out breaking the bank.
Count Your Coins
Before you begin the transformation, determine your budget. Go over it at least two times to ensure your calculations are correct. If you don’t, you run the risk of either overspending or becoming discouraged when the cash runs out. Add up a realistic budget and stick to it. Going over budget will not only leave you short financially, it will be a real emotional downer.
Start With A Blank Canvas
Imagination can be blunted by physical obstructions. The solution is to start with an empty space. Clear out the furniture and take down all decor in your apartment. It should be no more than bare walls and a bare floor, just as it was before you moved in.
Now, let your imagination take over. Begin to visualize an open, continuous space. To get some ideas, flip through some magazines or visit a few sites online. Take careful notice how the furniture and decor is arranged. Generally, you’ll notice a “theme”, less is more. Furniture is not pushed against the wall. Decor compliments the furnishings. Accent colors set off walls. Area rugs serve as “boundaries”.
Paint is inexpensive. To keep your budget reasonable, start with the simplest transformers. Paint can completely change a space without spending a lot of money. Again, use websites and magazines for ideas. You’ll be surprised what you come up with. Moreover, you’ll be astounded at the results.
Reuse And Recycle
Keeping the budget in check means putting a new face on old furniture. This is as easy as painting a wall, primarily because it is painting. Garage/yard sales, thrift stores and office supply auctions all sell pre-owned furniture. Strip it down with mineral spirits and sandpaper. Give it a fresh coat of paint, stain or varnish for a new life. If paint isn’t your thing, dress up old furniture pieces in slip covers.
Don’t neglect online classifieds and dollar stores. You’ll not only be able to find some bargain furniture, decor abounds within these sources. Area rugs are going to be your best purchases. But don’t ignore wall shelves, sconces and mirrors. Forgo the “too cheap” price tag stigma and look ahead. You’ll find some real deals and it won’t dent your wallet.
Lastly, don’t be above begging profusely. Okay, begging might be too strong a word. Politely ask family, friends and coworkers for items they’ve noticeably outgrown. You can find real visual value in old pieces.
Compose An Arrangement Masterpiece
Now that you’ve got fresh paint on the walls, have some furniture and decor, it’s time to make interior design history. Plop down the area rugs. Place them on the floor as a kind of anchor. Any furniture you place in your apartment will go directly on or around the edges of the area rugs. This will create several defined spaces, while leaving distinct walkways.
Armed with realistic budget parameters and these how-to tips, you’ll be able to redecorate your apartment without having to take out a line of credit at the bank. Keep in mind that new is generally more expensive than better.