Making a house (or apartment) feel like a home is not always an easy task. There’s a lot to consider — colors, furniture, decorations, renovations ... the list goes on and on. And most of these things come with a price tag.
Whether you've recently moved into a new home or are simply ready to make your current place look and feel more comfortable, these simple tips will make your home look (and feel) beautiful without breaking the bank.
1. Focus on strategic lighting
Let’s be honest: Nothing looks good in harsh, fluorescent lighting. But whether you like it or not, apartments and houses typically come equipped with bold overhead lights. These lights can be great when you're cooking or working, but when it comes time to relax and unwind, overhead lighting is not the best. And it’s definitely not the best lighting when you’re trying to create a welcoming environment.
Luckily, the solution is simple and cheap: Strategic lighting. This includes lamps, decorative lights and accent lights, and can change the entire look of a room with a single switch. Instead of drowning in harsh light from overheads, you’re suddenly in a sea of soft, welcoming light that is strategically placed around the room.
Start by placing three to four lamps in various corners of a room. Feel free to get creative with the style of lamp you choose. Next time you come home from a long day at work, resist the urge to reach for the overhead light and turn on your lamps on instead. Feeling creative? Experiment with wall art that lights up or decorative string lights.
2. Add some throw pillows
Buying a new couch is expensive — even reupholstering a sofa you already own isn’t cheap. If you’re on a budget and need to update your couch, there’s a simple solution: Throw pillows.
Throw pillows usually range from $10 to $20 each and provide your couch with an instant facelift. The cat scratches in the corner are covered and the stain from takeout is hidden with carefully placed pillows. The best part? Throw pillows add comfort as well. Feeling fancy? Drape a blanket over the back of your couch as well. Feeling extra fancy? Make sure the blanket and pillows are color-coordinated or are varying shades of the same color.
3. Spruce up the floor
Installing new floors can range in price from hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars depending on the material you choose. If you’re not ready or able to spend that amount of money, try experimenting with rugs instead. Accent or area rugs are the perfect way to give any room in your house a decorative boost. Rugs can cover up imperfections or stains on your flooring and as an added bonus, they add a pop of color. The other benefit? If you live in a small apartment or studio, rugs can help define living areas. For example, an area rug under the dining room table can help visually separate the dining area from the kitchen or living room.
How to get started: Start small. Try adding an area rug underneath your coffee table in the living room. It will add color and make the room feel cozier with minimal effort. Feeling adventurous? Try adding a hallway rug or accent rug near the front door.
4. Decorate with curtains
Not only do curtains give you privacy, but you can use them as a way to decorate for cheap. Curtains are severely underrated, but for less than $30, you can give your entire room a new look.
If you're renting and worried about drilling holes in the wall, there are even simple workarounds to ease your stress. Curtains are an inexpensive and effective way to add a touch of personal style to your home. The best part? Curtains are a statement piece, privacy provider and heat regulator all in one.