Tag Archives: studio apartment

Dramatic Wall Art to Invigorate Your Home

Sometimes, simple posters or small framed art just don’t cut it. In many rooms (especially bedrooms and living rooms) bold art on the walls can create an important focal point for the room and can create a theme for the entire space. And, let’s face it: a big, bold beautifully decorated wall often adds that touch of amazing that you’ve been looking for. There are a few basic ideas for making it happen:

Bring the Indoors in

A large tree (painted or even made with real wood or papier-mâché) creates a dramatic look and is terrific for a living room where you want to create a natural look or for bedrooms where you want to create a fairy-tale feel. You can even hang decorations, bird cages, or strings of lights in the branches and leaves. If you want a green home, you can use trees that have already been cut down. For some great ideas on incorporating trees into your home décor, check out this blog site. If you prefer to go with paint, this Apartment Therapy blog post shows you how to create a dramatic tree mural.


Trees aren’t the only things you can bring indoors from nature. A dramatic vertical garden can also create a stunning focal point in a dining room, kitchen, or living room. It is a very eco-friendly option and can also help you improve indoor air quality. To find out how you can start your own wall garden, you can check out this site.


Water, Water Everywhere

Waterfalls and fountains are another great choice for living rooms and dining rooms. These walls not only look amazing, but they can help combat stress and dry air. In many cases, homeowners also find the sounds of water soothing and very pleasant. Check out this Freshouse blog post to see how waterfalls and fountains can fit in with any décor. Full-size aquariums are also a great option — as long as you are willing to put in the work.

Cover your Walls with Stone, Brick, or Wood

If you want a Western, rustic, or masculine look for studies or living rooms, this is your best bet. These types of walls are a bit more of an investment, because of the materials involved, but the final look will last for a long time. If you are lucky enough to live in an older home, simply exposing existing brick or wood can be enough. One caveat, though: keep in mind that all-wood or all-brick walls can make your room look tinier. If you have a smaller space, consider having one wall of brick or wood and keeping the rest of your walls a lighter color to create the illusion of light.


Add a Huge Fireplace

Instead of just adding a stone wall, you can create a dramatic fireplace that goes from floor to ceiling. Not only does this look amazing, but if you live in a cold climate, it can make your home cozier. Just make sure you check with local building codes and with your insurance company before you decide on this home improvement; to the fire hazard fireplaces can change your insurance policy and there may be some strict rules in your area about installing new fireplaces or wood-burning stoves.


Put Your Bed up High

A loft bed or tree house bed is a great idea, especially for children’s rooms. Not only is having a tree house inside lots of fun for kids, but it can look amazing and it saves a ton of floor space in small rooms. If you decide to go this route, though, you need to make sure that the structure is safe. There are kits available for parents who want to build this type of whimsical room within a room, and some the treehouses that you can create this way are truly spectacular. Check out this Inhabitat blog post for ideas.


If you are a reader, putting in floor-to-ceiling bookshelves is a practical storage solution. It can also look amazing. Don’t just limit yourself to book shelves, though. Huge stacks of books against a book wall can look amazing, too (just make sure they are not in danger of toppling over). If you have books you no longer need or no longer use, you can even use them to create your own wall art. For example, check out the book headboard below. You can read this blog post here to get some more ideas about decorating with books.


Floor-to-Ceiling Murals or Art

Having an entire wall that is awash with color and texture can create a really dramatic look, especially in open-concept homes that have a modern feel to them. This can be a great way to ensure that your home stays personal and not too clinical if you have a lot of simple lines in your space.


It’s time to get dramatic about your space. Big, bold art on your walls can really make a big difference — just be sure to keep things simple by sticking with one dramatic piece per room to keep things from getting overwhelming.


Making Your Dorm Room Into Something Amazing

If you’re moving into a dorm room this fall, you may want an amazing space that lets you study and entertain in style while showing off your chic sense of décor. Unfortunately, if you are like most students you have been issued the standard, impersonal shoebox of a room and you may have a budget that makes it hard to splurge on terrific pieces. Even so, there’s hope if you want to make your dorm into something special.


Take care of the floor

Dorm room floors are often unattractive and may be poorly maintained. Use carpet remnants from a carpet depot or rug store or even a few inexpensive rugs to brighten the space and to make your dorm room floor something you don’t mind walking on. Just make sure you don’t make it hard to open your door – you need the ventilation under your door to prevent condensation and mildew.


Layer and don’t worry too much about matching everything up

Lots of layers of color and texture add some interest and personality to your room. Pile on bed linens, curtains, and even fabrics on walls and ceilings. Just don’t worry about matching everything up – just keep colors complimentary and contrasting. If you don’t have the money to match everything up, creating a more funky mismatched look is the next best option – and it will keep things fresh and unique.

Upcycle items rather than buying new

Your parents and friends may be willing to donate furniture and décor items which you can re-do with new upholstery, paint, and a little imagination. Scour local second-hand shops and garage sales for furniture and other items you need. If you have inherited some ugly pieces and need a little inspiration or how-to help, check out this Pinterest page for ideas and step-by-step instructions.


Come up with ways to stow your stuff

One of the big challenges with dorm life is that there is very little storage space. You will need to create some of your own. Here are a few ideas about ways to find some extra space when you live in a shoebox:

  • Put your bed on risers and use the extra space under your bed to store boxes and linens. Use a bed skirt to hide the items under there.
  • Check with your campus housing association to find out whether you can adhere things to the walls. If so, hanging shelves and racks can be a great way to make the most of your wall space.
  • Buy a storage ottoman for sitting and for storing small items.
  • Buy furniture that does double duty. A comfy chair that is also a pull-out bed for guests can be a great option. Clear off the top of a dresser to use as a vanity. Make your furniture work for the space.

For more unique storage tips, check out this handy article.


Invest in more lighting

Dorm room lighting is usually very basic – inexpensive, functional, and usually not enough for late nights of studying. You will need some lamps and extra lights for gentle light in the evenings and when entertaining. Inexpensive strings of lights or novelty lights are a good option. This article has some good tips. In addition, be sure to invest in a good floor lamp or task lamp so that you can read and work at your desk or in your bed without getting eye strain.


College textbooks are expensive – and so is college life. Good thing you don’t have to spend a fortune or take out extra loans to live in college style. If you’re still not sure where to start, check out this blog to take a look at some dorm makeovers.


What To Do if you Hate Your Apartment

It happens more than you think. A sudden move, a small budget, or lack of research can all mean that you end up with an apartment you don’t love. Whether the place is small, in bad shape, or badly lit, an unattractive apartment is a drain . It’s hard to feel great when you loathe where you live. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to transform your less-than-perfect apartment into something that you’ll love:

1) Figure out what you hate.

Avoid comparing your apartment to others. Just try to make an objective list of things you don’t like. Does it feel cramped? Do you not have enough room for clothes? Is it dark or in bad shape? Does it have a cold, impersonal feel? Rather than fuming, get specific. Number your list, from the things that bug you the most to minor annoyances.


2) Find out what you can change.

Most landlords are happy when you make an apartment look great, since it makes it easier to rent out the space again when you leave. However, you don’t want to lose your damage deposit, so be sure to ask before you open a can of paint or re-tile the kitchen floor. That said, there are lots of things you can do to make-over your space on a small budget.

3) Find apartment-friendly fixes.

You don’t need a huge budget or tons of know-how to transform an apartment into something beautiful. The most common problems include:

  • Tiny spaces. If you live in a very small space, there is a two-prong solution you need to follow: prune out what you no longer need and find creative ways to stow what you do have. Start by getting rid of as much as you can. You’ll find that much of what you have you don’t really need anyway, and you probably own a lot of stuff you don’t even especially like. Once you’ve pared down, find new ways to store things. You can use hooks inside doors, for example, to keep things organized, or furniture that folds away or acts as a storage space. For some creative small-space hacks, check out this Complex Magazine post.3083545403_1b2d683019
  • Poorly-maintained apartments. If your apartment is not in good shape, you may want to speak with your landlord about it. For major repairs (such as problems with the plumbing or the wiring) you will need to persist until the landlord agrees to an upgrade. If he or she refuses, there are legal avenues that you can explore. For less dire repairs, such as painting, you may be able to get permission from management to fix that on your own.
  • Inconvenient kitchens. If your kitchen does not have enough space, consider a breakfast or bar stool rather than a small dining table – you’ll save room. If counter space is at a premium, buy a kitchen cart, which will give you an additional chopping surface as well as storage space. If you are low on cupboard space, consider hanging shelves outside of cupboards as well as dividers within your cupboards. Both will allow you to store more things. For more small kitchen ideas, visit this BuzzFeed post.
  • Lack of storage space. Some studio apartments have only one small closet as storage space. One solution is to get a storage unit nearby for extra items. Shelving and drawers are another good solution – especially if you can get taller units that take advantage of the space near the ceiling, which is wasted in most apartments. This Pinterest user has additional storage ideas for small spaces.
  • Dim, cramped apartment. The solution here is a few extra lamps, lighter colors, and reflective surfaces. The three used together will create a larger-looking, brighter space.

4) Focus on the positive.

If your apartment is noisy and near a train station, it may be in an older building full of character. If your space is tiny, it may be close to everything in a major city where people long to live. Even if your apartment is not your dream home, there are probably things you can play up. If you have a nice living room space, you can set it off with great furniture. If you have a nice view or nice windows, you can play that up with bright curtains and a window box of plants.


5) Inspire yourself with apartment makeovers.

There’s a reason that makeover and home renovation shows are such a big hit – everyone loves to see a space transformed into something gorgeous. More to the point, if you hate your apartment or home but can’t move, these transformations can tickle your muse and inspire your own apartment makeover. Must-see transformations include this Huffington Post makeover and this Nate Berkus tiny studio transformation.

When you hate where you live, entertaining may take a wayside. When you focus on improving what doesn’t work and highlighting any nice features of your apartment, you’ll wind up with an apartment you are proud to show off.

7 Secrets That Can Transform Your Home

Are there specific secrets that can makeover your apartment or house into something special? Designers think so. While every home is a little different, interior designers know seven little tricks that can makeover just about any space into something worthy of a magazine spread.

Secret #1: Where you shop matters.


Want to have a home like everyone else while also paying top dollar? Shop at your local furniture stores. If you want something unique, you will want to check out unconventional places for décor items, furniture, appliances, and more. Try:

  • Garage sales and estate sales
  • Online ads
  • Auctions
  • Going-out-of-business sales (great for office furniture and restaurant-quality kitchen appliances)
  • Hotel liquidators
  • Outlet stores
  • Yard Sales
  • Habitat for Humanity ReStore locations
  • Fabric stores
  • Specialty furniture stores


Look in places where the average person doesn’t shop for furniture and be sure to mix and match items. You’ll save a ton of money and you’ll be able to find truly unusual pieces. Look for quality and overall shape rather than pristine condition. One caveat, though: for soft furnishings (such as sofas) and mattresses, stick with new items from furniture stores. This way, you can ensure that there is nothing unpleasant lurking in stains and crevices.

Secret #2: Repurpose Furniture and Accessories Yourself to Create a New Space.

One person can buy some cheap pre-fab furniture and create a drab little apartment. Another person may use the same basic furniture to create something special. Designers never leave well enough alone: they reupholster chairs, paint shelves, and change the hardware on pieces to create a whole new look. In fact, if you currently have furniture you may not even have to go out and buy completely new pieces. You may be able to simply take your worn out items or generic modular furniture and create something fresh with new fabrics, colors, and accents. The Internet is a treasure trove of unique furniture hacks. Check out this Pinterest site for tips to transform pieces or this Pinterest site for specific ways to make inexpensive IKEA furniture work harder. The Apartment Therapy blog also has a great page about furniture hacks here.


Secret #3: Less is more.

Have you ever seen clutter in a staged home or a magazine spread? No? Have you ever gone to an open house or to see an apartment and have recoiled because it is messy and full of junk? It is virtually impossible to create a beautiful and gracious home if it is full of stuff. Your first step if you want a beautiful home is to get rid of anything you don’t love or need. Then, pare back some more. If you sell the items, you will likely earn a bundle you can put towards new accessories and items for your home.

If you have a collection of something and you can’t bear to part with it, make sure you have beautiful shelves or a storage system so that you can display your treasures. Even then, you may want to get rid of items in your collection that no longer dazzle you. Let someone else get enjoyment from some of your less-than-ideal pieces.


Secret #4: No matter how important you realize lighting is, it is more important than you think.

Interior designers and decorators use lighting the way artists use paint. No matter how beautiful your home is, it will still look dingy and small if there is not enough light – and the wrong sort of light can be just as bad.


To get the right lighting effect, layer your lights the way you might layer textures or colors. Add several lamps to each room and switch up the light bulbs so that some of the lamps have soft violet or pink lights (perfect for mood lighting and a soft evening glow) while some have brighter lights for reading and other activities. This way, you can control the feel of a room easily with just a few switches.


Secret #5: You need to work with everything you have to make a beautiful home.

Everything about your apartment or house – even the stuff you hate – needs to be considered. Is your living room an awkward L shape? You can use that to create separate seating and entertainment areas. Do you have beautiful dormer windows? You will want to highlight those with beautiful window treatments or soft billowing curtains.

In addition to working with the architectural features of your home, you will want to work with all your senses. Successful real estate agents know this: when you walk into a home, it is a full immersion experience. Your sight may be captivated with beautiful décor, but your other senses need to be engaged, too. That may mean scented candles to create a great fragrance and soft music to create soothing sounds. Soft rugs under the feet can create a great tactile experience.


To get a feel for the sensory impression your home leaves, stay out of your home for a few hours or an entire day. When you re-enter, go slowly and stay alert for the feel of your home. What are the first things you smell? Does the home feel too stuffy, too cold, or too hot? What does the house sound like? What is the first visual impression of your home? You can even ask a trusted friend to give you their first, impressions, too, so that you can get a sense of what you need to work on.


Secret #6: A home’s interior is a journey, not something on your to-do list.

If you’re moving into a new space, especially, the temptation is there to get everything “perfect” and “done” so that you can start living in your home and entertaining. Unless you have an unlimited budget and the help of a professional, though, it is more likely that getting your home settled will be something that will take time and effort. You will want to visit many stores to find the gorgeous pieces you want, and there is a certain serendipity involved. You may find that perfect chair or lamp while shopping for something completely different months from now, so there’s no need to buy your furniture out of a box today.


Another reason to take it slow: your living situation and needs may change over time, and that will mean your furniture and home needs will change, too. You may decide to adopt a pet, expand your family, or take on a new job. All may require you to change how you think about your home and will likely mean that you end up making even more changes to your space. When you create your space slowly over time, you get a chance to slowly create your home to reflect where you are in life right now.

Secret #7: Don’t forget the ceiling space.

Most of us live at the floor level, so the ceiling may not seem like a very inspiring area. The problem with ignoring your ceiling, though, is that it creates an empty space. You may have lots of furnishings and décor items at the floor level, but if you don’t balance that out with an interesting ceiling, your rooms may look half done and rather bottom-heavy. A good solution is to paint the ceiling or to add beams if your ceiling is high. If you rent, you can use stick-on adhesives designs or simply swap out the lighting fixtures to something more dramatic. The Decoist blog here has some great ceiling ideas, as does the Shelterness blog here.


Transforming your home may not go as quickly or as seamlessly as the reality shows suggest. You may need to give yourself permission to experiment and even to get imperfect results. If you use the above secrets, though, you will eventually find yourself living in a home you can’t wait to show off.

Best Apartment Fixes to Transform an Inexpensive Space into a Designer Showcase

Gorgeous apartments and houses are to be had in every city, but they often cost a small fortune. The good news is that you don’t need an unlimited source of funds to create a great home. Even if you can only afford an inexpensive apartment, there are small tricks you can use to transform a low-rent spot into a chic haven:

1) If your apartment is tiny, consider having roll-away and hide-away beds and furniture.

Modular furniture goes the extra distance when space is short and still packs in lots of style. If you want inspiration, check out this video about someone who transformed a tiny and ugly space into something elegant and unique.

2) Consider temporary floors.

You can overlay rugs for an exotic effect while covering up ugly carpet or hard surface floors. You can also put down temporary tiles in most spaces to create more attractive floors. Visit this site for more information about how one renter transformed a tiny New York apartment into a cool space with a spa bathroom.


3) Deal with ugly or uninspired color choices by covering up or by going with the flow.

Landlords often paint apartments in decidedly uninspired colors – such as taupe or white – to create a clean-looking and seemingly larger space. The problem is that dealing with a drab palette day after day can be draining. At the opposite end of the spectrum are landlords who paint walls or cabinets in odd colors – such as lurid green – to create a unique space (or maybe because a color was on sale). In both cases, you can deal with this situation in one of two ways – you can cover up the offending color or find some way to make it work. Stick-on wallpaper can cover up ugly wall colors, but covering up unsightly tiles or cabinets takes extra work. In these cases, you may need to shop for home accessories and accents in complimentary colors that celebrate the hue.

4) For open concept studios, find unique ways to get some privacy.

The cheapest space to rent is often a bachelor or studio apartment with no extra enclosed bedroom. While you sacrifice privacy, you can save big on rent. In fact, a studio is often a better deal than a junior one bedroom – which in some buildings is just a bachelor apartment with a flimsy wall attached. With a studio, you may even be able to enjoy more space while paying less. To solve the privacy issue, you have three basic options:

  • Set up a loft bed. If you have high ceilings, you can create a tree-house effect by creating a temporary loft bed near the ceiling.472920292_f32d355910_o
  • Create a separate bedroom with shelves. Buy several tall bookshelves and place them together to create a wall or two.
  • Use privacy screens. This is an affordable option that can also add some color to your space.

5) Swap out what you can.

Ugly cupboards get an instant facelift when you add higher-end hardware, and light fixtures can be changed out for a better look. Just keep the originals safe so that you can swap them out when you move out. Light switches and outlet plates can also be traded temporarily for something cooler. In most apartments, you can also replace your showerhead to something more stylish that also offers better water flow. Keep in mind that you can remove things, too. If your kitchen cabinets are ugly and cheap, you can make them look nicer in many cases by removing the doors and lining the insides with shelf paper. You’ll have open-concept cupboards that look great.


6) Try decals and stick-and-peel wallpaper.

You can find out about available products at this website. The same website (here) has a list of temporary fixes for floors, glass decals, tile stick-ons and more. Decals and stickers are great because they allow you to change the entire look of an apartment without spending a fortune or violating the terms of your lease agreement.


7) Know where to invest.

You can buy inexpensive used furniture or even get freebies by combing through online classified ads for your city and checking out local discount stores. You will want to also check out used furniture stores, but you will also need to consider where to invest. A new mattress is a must and it pays to buy quality, since it can affect the quality of your sleep. You will also want to be wary about buying children’s furniture or soft furniture used. If you do some buy used or inexpensive furniture, use paint and fabrics to transform it and make it your own. This video shows how you can paint furniture. This site shows you how to reupholster a couch. Other furniture can be even easier to re-upholster or you can simply create fabric covers for chairs and couches to save time.


8) Check out what your landlord allows – you may be surprised.

Many will not make a fuss if you invest money and make the apartment more appealing. After all, it will help them rent out the space after you move. You will still want to double-check with your landlord or super before making any permanent changes, however.


9) Add lighting.

Just about every place looks better when it is properly lit up, and in many cases inexpensive apartments suffer from small windows, less light, and cheap lighting solutions. Since you probably can’t re-wire your rented home and put in all new lighting, bring in several attractive lamps to brighten the space up. Large mirrors can also reflect light and make a small apartment seem larger and brighter. Another way to play with lighting is to go clear when choosing home accents and furnishings. Choosing clear glass shelves, tables, and coffee tables can make a space seem larger. For smaller apartments, it’s a better choice than heavy, solid furniture.


That main thing with an inexpensive apartment is to invest wisely and to make changes that will add some charm and style to the space. Think of modest apartments as a blank canvas, just waiting patiently for the extra touches that make executive condos so stylish. With these tips, you may just end up having the coziest and most gorgeous apartment in your building.