I remember back to my first apartment... the 70's chandelier, the orange fuzzy carpet...sigh! All in all, it was a really cute apartment, minus some of the easy to fix uglies. The walls were painted a neutral cafe Au lait color and the carpet in the rest of the apartment was a neutral brown (the orange fuzzy carpet was in the living room and I actually embraced it and loved it). I moved in with my bedroom furniture, a TV cart, a storage barrel, a trunk, some plastic patio chairs and a really ugly brown plaid love seat. I had just spent four years in college studying Interior Design and thought that all of my stuff wasn't good enough. I quickly racked up the credit card with "new" wonderful things to make my apartment a thing of beauty. What I didn't realize, was that I could have saved myself a world of debt and misery, by just using and redoing what I already had. Instead of buying new (new to me, but used) bedroom furniture, I could have just painted what I had for a new look, scoured garage sales for dishes and decor or just done without for a while instead of buying all of those unnecessary things. It always boils my biscuits when I watch first-time home buyer TV shows and they don't want the adorable house that's within their budget because it lacks granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances (ughhh). This brings me to Rule #1) Don't go into debt for a redo if you don't have it to spend already....use what you have! Chances are that you'll still be paying for your "new" stuff long after you've already become tired of it.
Rule #2) A coat of paint goes a long, long way! Stacey and I have built up quite a supply of paint, and we came by most of it fairly cheaply. Sure, we buy paint now and then in specific colors, but we had to start somewhere. We've gone shopping in our own basements for leftover paint, asked friends and family for any paint that they want to get rid of and we always check out the boo boo paint at our local Home Depot. At Home Depot they only charge $7 for a gallon of boo boo (mess up) paint instead of the usual $25-$35 per gallon. You just can't be too picky about the color. We've also mixed our own color if we couldn't find what we wanted. Just make sure that you don't mix an oil based paint with a water based (acrylic/latex) paint if you try this! If all else fails, a gallon of paint is usually still less expensive than buying a brand new or used piece of furniture and it's also a terrific way to wake up the walls in your room.
|From shabby cup marks and dings to chic satin black!|
Rule #3) Another man's junk is your treasure! Every year, Stacey and I look forward to the best shopping season...Yard/Garage Sale season. You can find all sorts of goodies if you take the time to look and pick through stuff. The key to getting the good stuff is checking your local newspaper for listings the day before the sale, making a plan and getting there at the beginning of the sale. Don't be afraid to haggle over a price or make an offer. Yard/Garage sales take a lot of work and most people don't want to pack it all up at the end of the day. In most cases, you'll make a deal. If you don't have the moolah for yardsaling, then go shopping in your own home (I know you've got forgotten stuff in your basement or attic). You can also ask "Aunt Marge" or "Grandpa Joe" if they have any stuff in their attic or basement that they'd like to get rid of. Help them clean out and maybe find a few treasures or family heirlooms along the way. Some of my most favorite decor pieces came from my Grandmother's house when she decided to move into an apartment...and they were FREE!
|Yep, I Got this sweet little metal chair at Grandma's House "R" Us!|
Rule #4) Do the unexpected! Go ahead, hang that rug on the wall, make a coffee table out of an old trunk or make an old wooden box into a plant stand. The possibilities are endless! With all the how-to DIY blogs out there today, you can easily find how to make that free pallet you scored into a decorative shelf!
|Old wooden boxes--stacked in a corner and plant-standified!|
Rule #5) Stop saying "I Can't"! I'm here to tell you that you can! With a little imagination, a lot of patience and a pinch of elbow grease, you'd be surprised what you can accomplish! Anyone can pick up a paint brush and get 'er done--I find that most people just lack the motivation to get started. I have to say that not everything that I've put a paintbrush to has been successful. Many times I have a vision for something and it turns out to be a horrible monstrosity. That's where the patience comes in. Sand it down and try, try again!