Moving into a new place can be a lot of work, but it's also a great opportunity to start fresh. That doesn't mean you need to shell out huge amounts of money on a brand-new living room set, though. Opting for a few small touches and DIY solutions can still make a big difference in your space. So whether you're a long-term renter or you're moving into your first apartment, it's time to make your place feel like, well, yours.
Your entryway is the first thing you see when you step through the front door, so make it something you want to come home to. A good entryway should be functional and inviting. Depending on your space, this could be a small nook where you can stash your keys within easy reach, or a more comfortable space for keeping your shoes, coats, and umbrellas. If you have the room, consider adding a small bench or stool, or perhaps even a mirror for a last-minute check on your way out the door.
If you're low on space, sometimes the solution isn't to buy other stuff but to make your existing furniture work harder. Footstools, ottomans, benches, and even beds and couches can all come with built-in storage, giving you extra seating — a must-have if you want to entertain — without sacrificing on storage space.
If you have an open plan or studio apartment, you might be struggling with how to differentiate your living, dining, and even sleeping space. An easy way to make sense of your space is by creating discrete zones. You can do this in any number of ways — cheap room dividers are an obvious possibility, especially if you want some extra privacy. Another way is to arrange your furniture into gathering spaces, like pointing a few chairs toward a central focus point, or use area rugs to set off distinct sections of your apartment.
Whether you're trying to hide some truly hideous carpet, spare your neighbors from the noise of bare floorboards, or just add a touch of color and interest to a room, rugs are your new best friend. They don't have to be restricted to the living room or bedroom, either — an interesting hall runner or small rug in the bathroom can really lift an otherwise ordinary space. It's worth investing in ones you like because they'll likely be with you for a long time.
The right color combination can do wonders for any room. If you're working with a small space, light colors can make a room feel larger, and white walls don't have to be boring. To make more of a splash, consider strategically using darker colors to add depth. And for the easiest way to add color, sticking to a neutral base for your walls and furniture and using brightly-colored textiles like throw pillows and blankets can be a great way to make a room feel interesting without having to paint a whole room or replace an entire living room set. To decorate like a pro, pull colors from your favorite rug or statement art piece and use those to punctuate the room.
If you love the idea of a statement wall but aren't allowed to paint the walls — or just don't feel like going through the hassle — then how about a more temporary answer? Removable wallpaper and wall decal stickers are a fantastic substitute for paint or traditional wallpaper. The best part is, you can change them as often as you want, so there's no risk of decorator's remorse.
One of the easiest things you can do to enhance your space to change up the existing light fixtures. This works even if you're renting — just make sure to replace the original fixtures before you move out. You can opt for cheap but stylish modern globes, or scour thrift stores for unexpected vintage finds; either way, this small change is enough to give any room an instant facelift.
No matter where you live, the art you display can be the best way to really let your personality shine through. Whether it's vintage posters from your favorite bands or childhood movies, a one-of-a-kind piece by a local artist, or even a cheap print, art adds color and life to any living space. Even if you're renting, most landlords will let you hang pictures if you re-paint and spackle afterward, but if that's not an option, try propping up frames on a bookshelf, using wall-safe removable poster tape, or even leaning a larger frame against a wall on the floor.
Living in an apartment can sometimes feel a little cramped, especially if you don't have a garden or balcony. That's no reason not to have plants, though — even a few potted plants can really brighten up your space, and make you feel in touch with nature. Plants are also a great way to indulge your nurturing side if your lease doesn't allow pets. Unless you have extremely bright, south-facing windows, make sure you look for indoor-friendly plants that will thrive in lower-light environments. And if you love cooking, why not grow your own herbs in a little potted garden — it's cheaper than constantly buying fresh ingredients and way tastier than using dried ones.
Whether you're moving straight from home and trying to save money by bringing along furniture from your childhood bedroom, or dealing with your tenth apartment with a weird layout and color scheme, it's inevitable that not everything you own is going to match all of the time. But that's okay! Instead of running out and buying new furniture every time you move, embrace it as its own style. Curate a few pieces you really love, stick to neutrals for the big stuff where you can — you'll be glad you did when you aren't trying to fit a bright red couch into a room with yellow and green walls — and opt for a deliberately mismatched, lived-in feeling for the rest. It's way less hassle than meticulously redecorating from scratch every single time you move, and a lot easier on the wallet, besides!