We get it.
You want a modernized apartment.
You envy the apartments that have guests’ eyes light up when they see an authentic Oriental rug. Or homes that earn endless compliments about the comfy leather sofas.
But let’s face it:
Modernizing your apartment and making your space your own is tricky.
You might decide on a strict decorating budget, have limited space to work with, or be under a lease that limits specific design changes.
Fortunately, there are plenty of simple decorating tips to make an impact that are both affordable and easy to make.
So take a look at our top five tips.
1. Toss Slipcovers On Your Sofas
Those old sofas in your living room are still oh so comfy when you’re lounging back on Friday nights and hosting your own personal “movie night.”
But they’re ancient — and everybody else can tell too!
Those claw marks from your beloved kitty, stains from years of red wine spills, and worn patches aren’t as hidden as you think.
Yet, instead of replacing all your couches and shelling out $1,500+ for a luxury set, just invest in slipcovers for <$100.
It’s like getting new couches, without actually buying new ones.
All you have to do is stretch that slipcover over your sofa, and it’s good to go. A brand new color, pattern, or texture for less than 10% of the cost of a whole couch.
You can even buy several and switch them in and out throughout the year.
Red velvet for Valentine’s Day, white microfiber for those bright spring days, and pure black when you’re looking after a dark-colored pet for a loved one!
Your guests will always be asking, “Did you get new couches?”
2. Choose a Color Palette & Stick To It
Anything is better than white-washed walls and plain gray couches.
But when you want to make an impact and “wow” your family when you host Sunday dinner, adding color strategically is even more essential.
We’re talking about using color palettes.
If you’ve been paying attention to popular home renovations as of late, everything seems to be gray — the cabinets, wood floors, walls, and even the doors.
A color palette involves choosing colors that mesh well together, even when they’re on the other end of the color spectrum.
It’s absolutely possible to pair a dark orange sofa with cornflower blue walls atop Persian indigo plush carpet. Though not the norm, you’ll notice a nice flow and style.
Not quite the artist?
Then venture over to one of the many online color palette generators and experiment with new stylings in your home.
One is bound to catch your eye.
3. Declutter & Use Smaller Decor Pieces
Your prized possessions give your home a more personal touch. But chances are, they don’t do much for the vibe your decor brings your guests.
More is not always better in the world of decorating.
Declutter in any way you can imagine. That means committing the interior design faux pas of pushing your beds, couches, and tables against the wall.
In a small studio or a one-bedroom apartment, this can save space, give you a roomier walkway, and feel less congested.
More so, consider downsizing and opting for more minimalist styling, by:
- Getting rid of the huge dining room set and choosing a two-chair nook table
- Choosing couches that equal the max number of guests you’ll have
- Saving couch space by getting rid of the dozen throw pillows
- Using creative storage solutions (bookshelves, ottomans, baskets) to get things off your home’s surfaces and floor
- Choosing minimalist decor, like small plants, wall photos, and tiny sculptures
The more you have on your walls, floor, and surfaces, the smaller your space will look. Your guests will notice a massive difference the next time they pay a visit.
4. Add Captivating Aromas
Your guests (and you) will notice the colors of the walls and the comfort of your couches a few moments after entering your pad.
But the second that front door opens, there’s something else they’ll notice first:
Great first impressions come from adding pleasant aromas to your home to greet all visitors with.
We’re talking about the beautiful smell of flowers in the early spring. Choose evergreen when the holidays roll around, and delicious strawberry scents in the summer.
Candles are the obvious choice here. They can give you comfort, a touch of light, and smell beautiful. But it’s dangerous to leave lit candles alone while you’re out.
Or, you can use reed diffusers, which smell lovely and can last for three or more months, looking like a neat piece of decor on the entryway table.
Essential oil diffusers are a bit more unique. They emit a relaxing mist of the essential oil of your choice, can match the style of your apartment, and smell fabulous.
Just be sure to do something to make your home smell nice!
5. Make Minor Decor Upgrades
Making an impact doesn’t always mean making considerable changes in your home. It can also mean making noticeable updates that help to personalize the space.
Small changes that make a huge impact include:
- Adding neat light fixtures (like this cool pentagon bedside lamp)
- Painting an accent wall that adds a little style to your dining room
- Purchasing some vintage decor for a retro vibe
- Installing wallpaper on (or painting) the bookshelf in your living room
- Putting a gallery wall of personal photos in your entryway
- Staining your current wood furniture for a deeper coloring
You can do many of these projects for $20 or less (and even less if you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty and do a DIY project).
So scout out your ideal home decor and make it a reality!
A beautiful and decorative home is something we all desire.
But while you want to impress your guests and achieve that “picture perfect” style, remember that you’re the one living in the place daily.
So stick to decorating tactics that make your home feel cozy to you.
There’s a middle-ground between what’s conventionally impactful in design and what fits your personality best. You just have to be willing to find it.
Adam Marshall is a freelance writer who specializes in all things apartment organization, real estate, and college advice. He currently works with Arch at Ft. Wayne to help them with their online marketing.