Can’t afford that chic Campaign-style nightstand? Take your old side table, or purchase an inexpensive one, then give it a paint refresh and add some new details like chest corners, removable wallpaper, and legs. This idea works with just about any piece of furniture—especially if you’re transitioning pieces from a college dorm room to your first apartment. It will instantly lend a more “grown-up” look.
To avoid needing to re-paint your walls back to white at the end of your lease to get that security deposit back, consider decorating your walls with washi tape. The colorful, decorative tape is temporary and easy to remove. This creation is a geometric accent wall, but you can put up different designs with the tape.
You don’t have to splurge on a fancy bar cart when you can just repurpose an already-existing piece. This chic bar cart is made from an inexpensive IKEA bookshelf with wheels and handles added. Now you can serve your guests in style.
It’s simple to add budget-friendly seating. Get some stools from a thrift store and repaint to infuse a little personality and make them look like new. If you have a few of these colorful stools on hand, they can become versatile pieces—use them as extra dining table seating or in the living room when you invite people over for a movie marathon or game night.
Personalize your storage with this DIY shoe rack. The project takes some drilling and possibly wood cutting, but you can probably get your local hardware store to cut the wood to the dimensions (for an added charge). The midcentury modern style makes it trendy, and you can specify the size of the piece depending on your shoe collection.
Breathe some life into your home with greenery. Pretty plants will wake up any space—even if it’s a tiny apartment. You can give some plain planters a trendy, marbled look with various hues of spray paint and water. Create different shapes and designs with painter’s tape.
If you can’t find a headboard that fits your style, or if the one you love is way over your budget, you can create a headboard with MDF (medium-density fiberboard) or acoustic panels with fabric wrapped around it. This faux wood headboard gives the bedroom a rustic look, without having to hunt for (and treat) salvaged wood.
Every grown up needs a wine collection (and it’s okay if they’re more like $10 wines instead of $50 wines). You can display your favorite bottles in this modern DIY wine rack—all you need are plywood, dowels, wood glue, and leather.
Throw pillows can get pretty pricey, so save some money by purchasing plain white pillow covers and inserts and decorating them. This gold dot pillow was inspired by a more expensive offering at a home décor store, but was created with painter’s tape and metallic acrylic craft paint.
Elevate your ordinary lighting by decorating a plain, inexpensive lampshade. Take a favorite piece of fabric and attach it to the shade. Stylish lighting doesn’t have to cost a fortune—you can use this easy idea to dress up your bedroom and living room lighting, whether it’s a table or a floor lamp.
Avoid tangled or damaged jewelry by making your own wall holder. This barn wood idea can create some rustic style in a room—screw-in hooks, knobs, and a pegboard tray were added to the piece to store your favorite necklaces, earrings, and bracelets.
Frame a favorite inspirational phrase as an inexpensive way to dress up your blank walls. Here, alphabet stickers are applied on a piece of wallpaper, but you can also use cardstock or a beautiful piece of wrapping paper.
If your rental has a refrigerator that looks like it was manufactured before you were born, hide its imperfections with these pretty plate magnets. Collect small plates from the sale section of your favorite home décor store and glue a magnet to the back of the plate.
A plain bookshelf gets a glam look with a wrapping paper-adorned backing. This is a great option if you don’t feel like taking on a painting job (or don’t have room in your apartment to set up a workspace to paint). You could also use temporary wallpaper for the backing, which makes the project even easier because it’s self-adhesive.
If you’re bringing the old dresser from your childhood bedroom into your first apartment, you can give it a more sophisticated, modern, and mature look with some paint. This bright white and mint green dresser used to be a dated, dark wood piece, but was updated with sanding, spray paint primer, and high gloss paint.