After being locked inside for months on end, it’s totally understandable if you suddenly hate how your space looks and feels. (This is valid even if you spent hours and $$$ skimming Pinterest for aesthetic inspo when you first moved in.)
But sprucing up your space right now doesn’t have to be super expensive or too complicated. It can be as simple as getting a new plant child that hangs from the ceiling or maybe spending a few hours to place removable wallpaper on the wall behind your bed. Trust me, if I find these things easy to do, you will too.
So whether you’re looking to add a pop of color or want to make your living room extra cozy, here are a few budget-friendly things you can do to cozy up your space. Suck it, HGTV.
1. Diffuse your favorite scents.
Is there anything better than the feeling of turning on a new candle or incense stick? Probably not. Simply bringing a new scent into your space can give it new life without breaking the bank too much. Oh, and bonus points if the incense holder or candle jar is aesthetically pleasing too.
2. Add a wash of color to the walls with removable wallpaper
A renter-friendly hack: Add a pop of color to your walls by using removable wallpaper. It can highlight a wall in your living room or bedroom, and it can give your kitchen backsplash a more modern look with just a few sheets. The best part? Your landlord need not know.
3. Add! A! Bar! Cart!
Having a bar cart in your small apartment is basically the epitome of adulting. Instead of having all of your wine bottles and hard alcohol taking up space on your kitchen counters, opt for a simple bar cart to fill up that empty corner in the living room. Your place will become the new after-party spot (post-pandemic, of course).
4. Bring in a plant.
The smallest little bit of green life in your space can make the overall room aesthetic a lot nicer. And having to care for those plant bbs make you a more responsible human. So, overall, plants are wonderful!
5. Add a mirror.
Not only will you catch more glimpses of your beautiful self without turning your phone camera on, but you'll get more light bouncing around in the room, which can make a room look bigger.
6. Hang some wall art.
A bare wall is nice for people with an ultra minimal design. But for the rest of us, they're a little dull. Hang one big piece, put up a few small items in an interesting way, or go all out and make a gallery wall. If framing artwork is out of your budget, you can get creative with washi tape and DIY printouts of pictures from le internet.
7. Change up your lighting scheme.
Overhead lighting is fine, but if it's your only light source, you could be doing better. Get a table lamp or a floor lamp to get light coming from different heights around your room. Candles are great for romantic mood lighting and can make your room smell phenom.
8. Rearrange your furniture layout.
I've been doing this since elementary school (weird flex?). Whenever I get bored with a room but don't have new furniture funds, I move everything around. And while some rooms only work with furniture organized one specific way, many can handle a radically different arrangement.
9. Put down a rug.
A rug gives structure to a space wherever you throw it. In addition to softening footfall and adding warmth and texture to the floor, an area rug helps ground a room and the furniture in it (otherwise all your stuff is just sort of floating). Even a small rug in your kitchen or in your entryway can be a game changer. Or you can layer multiple rugs in one space for added pattern and visual interest.
10. Accessorize a surface.
Accumulate tchotchkes with caution, but when you have some surface space to play with, be it on your mantel, vanity, or bookshelf, it's always fun to add a few decorative accessories to make a vignette.
11. Toss a throw pillow on it.
A chair can go from being cold to inviting with just the addition of a comfy pillow. And as long as you have places to put them, pillows can go pretty much anywhere, from the floor to a bench to a sofa to a bed.
12. Make your bed.
It sounds so dumb, but the payoff for doing this one super-tiny thing will be huge. For starters, you'll feel accomplished first thing in the morning. And when you're untucking everything to go to sleep, you'll feel so much nicer about life.
Obviously, it'll instantly make an untidy room look much neater.
13. Clean up after yourself in general.
Waiting to clean until your room or your house until it's so shameful even you can't bear to see it anymore is maybe a bad strategy. Take a few minutes to put clothes away instead of leaving them on the floor or on your clothes pile chair; wipe off countertops each time they get disgusting, not after, like, the 10th time; and clear up the clutter whenever it starts to build. You might not notice the impact it makes on your life on a daily basis, but it will be much less of a pain in the long run.
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