Whether you are just moving into your first apartment or you’re a veteran apartment dweller, decorating can be a challenge.
Unlike when you’re a homeowner, living in an apartment can come with many restrictions about the modifications you are allowed to make. Most landlords won’t allow you to paint your walls, change light fixtures or even hang art. With these types of restrictions, it might seem like a cozy home is out of reach - but that’s not true. There are plenty of DIY’s that you can do to cozy up your apartment – and most of them are super budget friendly too!
Here are five DIY projects that will make your apartment a cozy retreat without sacrificing your security deposit.
Nothing says “I’m a student” like bedsheets tacked up as curtains, but that doesn’t have to be your only option if your new apartment didn’t come with window treatments – or if it did and the current ones are ugly.
Hanging curtains is a super simple task that will make your apartment instantly feel like home. All you need for this project is a few inexpensive curtain panels and rods (my favourite place to buy these is IKEA) and an electric drill. This project is inexpensive and easily removable, so you can take them down when it’s time to move on to a new apartment and rehang them in your new digs. Just make sure to patch the holes when you leave, and your landlord will never be the wiser!
Use Tapestries Instead of Framed Art
After the curtains are hung, you’ll need to add some wall art. A home will never truly feel finished without a few pieces of art on the walls. If you’re ready to move on from the classic tacked up poster but can’t afford framed wall art yet (those big frames are expensive), consider making a large tapestry the focal point of your living space. They’re less expensive to purchase, and it’s easy to class them up by hanging them on a dowel rod.
The project is simple: measure the length of your tapestry and add a few inches on each side. Then purchase a dowel rod and get it cut to that length at the store (most stores will cut down items for free). You’ll need to sew a loop at the top of the tapestry for the dowel rod to slide through. Sewing the loop is easiest with a sewing machine, which can be found cheaply on Kijiji or Craigslist or in a relative’s attic.
Next, add an eye hook to each end of the dowel rod and string some twine or a length of leather through each hook. Finally, hang your tapestry and pat yourself on the back. An extra perk of this project is that you’ll only need one nail hole on the wall instead of two.
Sew New Cushion Covers
Sewing new cushion covers is a wonderfully inexpensive way to keep up with the latest style trends without spending a lot of money. If you want to take part in the new chevron trend but you don’t want to make a big investment, sewing cushion covers can make you trendy for $20 or less.
All you need for this project is a sewing machine, a sharp pair of scissors, a measuring tape and some fabric.
You’ll also need some very basic sewing skills, but there are tons of tutorials online to help you get started, as well as step-by-step tutorials on how to make a removable cushion cover. Just search for “envelope pillow tutorial” because that avoids the more complicated zipper style cushion cover.
Install New Light Fixtures
Installing light fixtures yourself is a more advanced DIY project because it involves knowledge of electrical systems and access to your apartment’s electrical panel. If you aren’t comfortable with working with electricity or you can’t shut the power off to your apartment, you should skip this project. If you’re open to these concepts, keep reading.
Installing new light fixtures is a slightly more advanced project but is a wonderful way to customize your apartment with the perk of being a completely reversible DIY. If your apartment has some truly ugly or builder basic light fixtures, you can swap them out with more stylish ones (again, IKEA is a favourite source). There are many YouTube tutorials online about how to do this, so I’m not going to explain the process step by step. By adding stylish light fixtures to your apartment, you’ll instantly make it cozier. Just make sure to hold onto the original fixtures so you can swap them back when you move out (or get your landlord’s permission and just leave them).
Living in an apartment has many benefits, but one of the biggest drawbacks is the lack of customizability of your surroundings. While it’s true that you probably won’t be allowed to knock down any walls or make too many upgrades, there are plenty of budget friendly DIYs that will make your apartment a cozy retreat.