Decorate Your Apartment With $500 Or Less
You don’t need to shell out thousands at a high-end home furnishings store to find decor that reflects who you are. Wonders can be worked with just $500! Here’s how you can turn a relatively small sum of cash into apartment magic.
1. Change your furniture, piece by piece
Start reinvigorating your apartment with small furniture changes. A simple upgrade of your current couch or area rug can drastically change the mood in your suite. Start by looking for mid- or end-of-season sales or clearance events at online furniture stores, or at popular home furnishing chains. If you crave the thrifty steals, used furniture shopping will be sure to please. Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace are just a few of the online hotspots for secondhand gems. Don’t forget to peruse the selection at local thrift furniture stores for some great deals.
2. Go for small, standalone objects
Vases, picture frames, throw pillows, and even books can make great affordable room decor pieces. A small vase on an end table can add a much-needed splash of color to your room, especially if you fill it with flowers. Picture frames come in all sorts of adorable colors and patterns; why not grab a couple and create a miss-matched collage on a bare wall? Throw pillows are totally underrated, but they are very versatile and they can add that spark to an old, lumpy couch. A good book can be great for your brains and your bookshelf. These items can be very inexpensive and are guaranteed to make your space pop!
3. Get art that you’ll love forever
You don’t need to be an art collector to get a few interesting pieces for your walls. Sure, some paintings are sold for hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars, but more affordable ones at home furnishing stores (like Homesense), can make you look like an art and decor expert (hold the beret). Set aside some money for a few art pieces, which can last for years and move with you, from apartment to apartment. Framed prints and paintings will be well worth the investment.
4. Buy plants
Plants, especially small ones, can affordably add extra decorative flair to your apartment. You can find cacti, aloe, and other tiny plants — some pots can be as small as four inches across — at any plant store, home improvement stores (during spring and summer seasons), or even a supermarket. With just a small budget set aside to bring some green friends into your home, you might find yourself with a new favorite way to spruce up an otherwise uninspiring space. Be sure to water your plants as recommended and expose them to a proper amount of sunlight — read up on plant care if you don’t opt for fake plants.
5. End with removable wallpaper
Removable wallpaper is far more low-maintenance than traditional wallpaper, which can leave damage. It’s also trending like crazy! Incorporating removable wallpaper is an easy way to brighten up an accent wall or transform an entire room, no matter the size. Once you’ve applied it to your walls, your room will look entirely different, and if later on, you decide to redecorate or need to move, you can remove it without damaging your walls.
How should you split your $500 budget?
There’s no one proper way to split your budget among these categories. You might find yourself only wanting to buy enough plants to take up $25 of your budget, freeing up more money for the less affordable categories. Maybe you’ll creep into the triple digits on wallpaper costs, or maybe you’ll stumble upon the perfect sofa bed that costs more than half of your $500. Ultimately, as long as you prioritize capping your decorating budget at $500, then no matter how you divide your money, as long as you’re investing in the changes most important to you, then you can drastically change your home without breaking the bank!
Practical Tips to Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly
There’s plenty of advice online when it comes to making the home you own more eco-friendly, but what can you do when you’re a renter? Luckily, there are many techniques and products you can use to lead a more environmentally-friendly life, even if you live in a rental. Here are a few practical ways to be greener if you live in an apartment.
1. Lower your energy and heating/AC usage
From a habit-forming point of view, you should first remember to switch off whatever appliances and gadgets you’re not using. To make this easier, you can plug the ones you’d normally switch off, say, when you’re going to work, into the same outlet.
At the same time, and this one is a must for green apartment living, dress accordingly if it’s cold outside. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t run your heat, but instead of consuming enough to keep your apartment hot enough for beachwear, you could make it comfortable while saving on your bills and helping the planet as well. Speaking of clothing, if it’s warm out and you have the space to install a dryer or clothesline, you can air-dry your clothes instead of running the dryer.
On the product side, the first thing you should do is switch to eco-friendly appliances, energy-efficient gadgets, and eco-friendly fixtures (if possible, of course).
2. Shop mindfully
Whenever you work on the interior design of your home, try to purchase items that were previously used. Whether you plan an antiquing or flea market day or spend some time browsing Craigslist for a new couch or shelf, buying used items won’t just mean you’re reusing resources – your place will have a more unique feel as well. If you need new things, look for quality and durability, and make sure your new furnishings will last for years to come.
The same goes for bedding and other textile items. Go for organic cotton if you can afford it, and again try to make sure you buy quality fabrics that won’t need replacing every couple of months.
3. Try natural cleaning products
Using harmful chemicals to clean is harder on our environment than one may think. Not to mention harmful to your personal health. When you wash away dirt, you are also sending these harmful products into the water supply. That means water will take more purification before it is safe to use again.
When it comes to upkeep, consider swapping chemical-heavy cleaning products for ones based on natural ingredients, or even making your own. For most day-to-day cleaning tasks, natural products like vinegar, citric acid from citrus fruits and baking soda can be used in place of caustic chemicals to great effect. This may come as a surprise, but there’s a homemade solution for almost everything that needs cleaning in your apartment.
4. Cook smart
It’s easy to be smarter in the kitchen, which can lead to a far more eco-friendly home. One important example is that you can lose a huge amount of heat if you open an oven door during cooking. Even if the oven is only open for a short time it will then need to use a significant amount of energy heating back up.
Another big problem is the coffee pods waste. They could be contributing to a global environmental disaster, with billions of the sleek aluminum and plastic capsules ending up in landfills each year. Drink your coffee from a conventional drip coffee maker.
5. Promote clean air in your apartment
The air inside your rental can be 2 to 5 times more polluted and toxic than the air you breathe outdoors. We go for regular health check-ups, pop prescription medication daily, stress over allergies, but neglect the quality of the air we breathe 24/7.
For starters, make it a point to ventilate your kitchen during meal prep, as cooking can be a major source of indoor air pollution. Keep the fan on when you take showers, or try to vent out the bathroom after your shower (if you don’t have vents in your bathroom). Steam and extra moisture in the air can cause mold and mildew to build up.
Houseplants are perfect for small spaces, both aesthetically and when looking to rejuvenate the air in your space. The best plants to filter toxins from the air are the Peace Lilly and the Lady Palms (or the Broadleaf Lady Palm). The Areca Palm is great for darker rooms or rooms that have just been painted.
Just because you live in an apartment doesn’t mean you are doomed to an unsustainable lifestyle. Do some online searching, and be conscious of your day-to-day life within your rental. Making some minor, consistent changes will have you living a greener life in no time.
Originally published in RENTCafé.
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We are currently upgrading all balconies at our Barrington apartment building, located in City Park, Saskatoon.
Although this is a seamless process, it is not subject to visual admiration. Such a job requires stripping of the building’s exterior, creating a façade of disorder. We would like to encourage you to look beyond what’s on the outside. We offer extensively remodeled suites, various layouts to suit your needs, and free coffee throughout the day.
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In obtaining her Accredited Residential Manager designation(ARM). Great job Jill Fraser!