This post originally appeared on Mismatched Knitwear, a lifestyle, food and travel blog run by The Hip Pocket contributor Jess Rayner.
So I took one of my first steps as an ‘adult’ recently and am now renting my first place in the big city.
Sure, I lived away from home while I was at university but student living didn’t quite feel grown up or mature in any way (unless you count sleeping in until midday or mouldy houses, ‘grown up’)
However, as much as I love my new place, the white walls and shiny wooden floor don’t really make it feel like home. Plus, as a freelance writer, I don’t really have the big bucks to give the place a new lick of paint and kit it out with fancy furniture.
Luckily, my boyfriend and I have come up with some snazzy and savvy ways to add personality to our place minus the price-tag.
I know, I know. Obvious right? But SERIOUSLY. Look at what you already have and see if a bit of TLC or a splash of colour could transform it.
Knackered old wooden table? Give it a sand down and paint all the legs different colours. Boring desk chair? Wrap some ribbon or strips of cloth around the arms and find a cool cushion to put on it.
If you are furniture-less or are lacking up-cycling inspiration, head to your local charity shop/op shop or even a scrap yard and see if you can pick up any individual pieces for a reasonable price.
We did this when decorating our new place and I found this gorgeous set of antique industrial timber shelves for next to nothing. It’s my favourite piece in our house AND we use it every day.
2. Signature Scent
Appeal to all your senses and make your place smell like home. I love walking through my front door after a long day and feeling completely relaxed with just one whiff. You can do this through a number of ways – incense, scented candles, reed diffusers, flowers…
We currently have one of the Airwick Home Signature reed diffusers in the middle of our living space that diffuses this lovely Vanilla and White Truffle scent throughout the space. They also have some great scented candles in the range if you’re stuck finding a signature scent for your place and, with prices starting at $5, they’re seriously affordable too.
If you’re looking to extend the lovely smells to your bedroom, you can make up little bags of lavender and pop them into your drawers or pillow case. It can really make a difference!
3. Personal Decorations
A really easy and cheap way to add some of yourself to your new place is by decorating with things that mean something to you.
As I love to travel, our place is covered with postcards, some of the weird and wonderful things we’ve picked up from around the world and there’s an old map hung up on the wall.
However, you can easily get more creative than that. I found this gorgeous leather briefcase/satchel in a charity shop and instead of hiding it away in my cupboard, I made it a centre piece on my wall.
I’m also not a massive fan of single pictures in frames as it’s so hard to change them over when you want to put up a new bunch of pictures. You also don’t want to stick pictures all over your walls in case it leaves marks and then you get charged a tonne at the end of your tenancy.
One thing I used to do was make a kind of ‘washing line’ by tying a piece of string between two picture hooks and pegging pictures, things cut out of magazines and postcards to the line. It was really colourful and I could add or change the pictures over really easily.
4. A Pop of Colour
When we moved into our place, it was all white walls, big glass windows and, to be honest, a bit lifeless.
While our furniture and other bits and pieces have definitely improved it, I still felt like we could add more. Since we’ve bought some colourful bedding, put a blanket and some cushions on our sofa and invested in a pretty snazzy kettle and toaster. While these are small things, they make a big difference to our day.
The thing is, you don’t need to spend lots of money to make your place more vibrant. Instead of shelling out for expensive patterned bedding, buy white duvet and pillowcases and get your tie dye on.
If you’ve got some spare funky fabric and are great with a needle and thread, why not whip up some bunting or a cushion cover? Think outside of the box and I’m sure you can come up with some cool ideas.
Got any other tips and tricks for decorating on a budget? Let us know in the comments.