Between television and Pinterest, magazines and advertisements, it’s hard to escape dream-home envy. It’s not just the fantastic furniture or couture counter tops, it’s the perfectly styled gallery walls and artfully arranged tchotchkes.
While it would take a large wad of cash to purchase a house-worth of pieces at once, there are many easy hacks you can try this spring that will bring you one step closer to your Pinterest dream home – or in most cases, your dream apartment. Looking for a place to start? Try one of these 10 hacks:
Paint is a decorating miracle worker. With countless colors, multiple finishes and magnetic or chalkboard variations, your only limit is your imagination. Paint furniture, baskets, frames, accent pieces, picture frames, lamp bases or – traditional though it may be – the walls.
Paint is a great pick-me-up for worn-out pieces of furniture. Don’t be afraid to break out the painter’s tape and go the extra mile to create herringbone patterns on dresser drawers or a colorful chessboard on an old coffee table.
- Washi Tape
Have you jumped on the washi tape bandwagon yet? This versatile, removable Japanese crafting tape seems to come in an infinite variety of colors and patterns, with limitless uses to boot.
Go functional by creating pretty labels or go all out and use washi tape to wallpaper a small nook. Dress up plain boxes or beautify – and color code – the family calendar.
- Duct Tape
Did you know you can use duct tape to decorate your walls? While you may have already used colored duct tape to glam up plain storage options, you may not have heard of this design trend.
It’s simple: Where you would use painter’s tape and paint to painstakingly create a patterned accent wall, you instead use duct tape to create the pattern. Check out a DIY blog or two to get tutorials or inspiration.
Replacing cabinets or furniture can get expensive. By comparison, swapping out hardware is a cheap and effective way to give an old piece new life. Want to try out a new finish before you buy new hardware? Do a temporary update with spray paint or Rub-N-Buff.
Buying cute fabric is cheaper than buying a new comforter or accent pillows – which are criminally overpriced. If you have some sewing skills, you can get custom throw pillows and duvet covers for a fraction of what you’d pay for a brand new piece.
Don’t limit yourself to traditional uses for fabric. It only takes a yard or two to cover a corkboard, and then you have a unique message center or jewelry display board.
You don’t have to pay hundreds of dollars for professional photoshoots or high-end art to create a stunning gallery.
Use what you have to fill your frames. Frame fabric samples. Save calendar or magazine pages and frame your favorites. Print out a best-of collection from your Instagram account. Rotate kids’ artwork out on a weekly or monthly basis for an easy and free revamp.
Plants are great for your health, your happiness and your wallet. A few well-placed plants can instantly brighten up a space and bring new life – no pun intended – to a room.
Keep a vase filled with budget bouquets from the grocery store, bring in clippings from your backyard or pick a few easy-to-care-for plants. Place them in unique containers like teacups, decorative bowls or hand-painted planters.
- Accent Swaps
This is the easiest, cheapest hack of all: use what you have, just change locations. Swap an end table and a nightstand. Switch throw pillows from your bed with the ones from your loveseat. Move artwork to a different room. Play musical plants. You may find pieces you once overlooked shine brighter in a new space.
Use drawers to improve your style and your lifestyle. Free up counter space and spare your knees and back by installing pull-out drawers in base cabinets. It helps maximize your storage capabilities and saves you from having to crouch down to search the back of the cabinet.
Give your drawers a makeover by lining the bottoms with wrapping paper or pretty liner. Use clear acrylic dividers and containers so the liner can show through, or paint the sides of drawers for a fun and colorful surprise when they’re opened.
- Book It
Add a short stack of your prettiest or most unique books to the top of a dresser, credenza or other surface to add an instant – and free – bit of styling. Rearrange books on your bookshelf by color, or dream up your own unique way to use them as a decorating tool.