Spruce Up Your Rental on a Budget
If you’re in a rental and find your place boring or bare, purchasing new decor or furniture may be at the top of your to-do list. But when you’re also on a budget, buying new items may seem impractical — especially when you see the price tag. With a little imagination, there are many budget-friendly ways to turn drab into fab. Whether you need to add a pop of color to your rental or give old furniture a face lift, these tips can help you spruce up your place while on a budget.
Fix Up Secondhand Furniture
You may have old furniture hanging around from your college days or have inherited (and outdated) pieces from your family, but there are some tricks to help make older pieces look more modern. If you have wood, veneer or laminate furniture, such as a table or dresser, EverydayFamily.com recommends sanding it and adding a coat of paint to update its appearance. Changing hardware is another way to spruce up old furniture, so consider an updated set of handles or knobs to finish off the new look. Spray paint can bring metal furniture back to life and stands up well to outdoor elements, according to ThisOldHouse.com. If your outdoor patio furniture needs some love, a coat of primer and spray paint may be all you need to bring it back to life.
If you are lacking essential pieces of furniture in your rental, Southern Living recommends looking for used pieces at flea markets, estate sales or antique stores, as you can typically find them a great price. Don’t forget that you can always ask family members or friends if they are trying to get rid of any furniture as well. EverydayFamily.com adds that sometimes a slip cover may be all you need to freshen up the look of a worn couch.
Repurpose Items Headed for the Trash
Take a second look at items that may be headed for the dumpster, whether from your own place or a neighbor or family member, and remember that there are many ways to repurpose items that may otherwise be thrown away. Do you have cans ready to be recycled? MarthaStewart.com suggests turning them into a matching set of containers. With a coat of spray paint and some budget-friendly fake flowers, these can help bring a pop of color into your living space. An old wood ladder can be turned into a bedside table or shelving unit by stacking books, knickknacks or photos on the steps. This is also a great alternative to hanging shelves, as rental properties typically prefer that tenants do not put holes in walls.
Old doors can be transformed into furniture, such as a coffee table, adds DIYNetwork.com. Add four wood legs and a coat of stain, and you can have the rustic coffee table you have been dreaming about. If you need a new headboard for your master or guest bedroom, DIYNetwork.com also says that old exterior shutters can be repurposed with a coat of paint and turned into a headboard.
When your budget doesn’t allow for store-bought decor, consider getting crafty and making your own. Have you been eyeing a wooden tray for your coffee or kitchen table? GoodHousekeeping.com suggests salvaging an old cabinet door with a fresh coat of paint and attaching handles. While these trays can be a great place to set your remote or keys, they can also be turned into a serving tray when entertaining guests — giving you a place to set snacks and drinks.
Consider making DIY place mats for your dining table by purchasing your favorite fabric and adding an iron-on vinyl topping to each side of the fabric. GoodHousekeeping.com states that it’s also easy to wipe up spills and messes from these homemade mats, which may help you keep them in better shape and stretch your dollars further since you’ll be able to use them for awhile.
Living in a rental and being on a budget doesn’t have to be boring. By figuring out your decorating priorities and staying true to your personal style, you can create an inviting space of your own at a fraction of the cost.
Originally published on December 1, 2011.