Thursday, September 5, 2013

Decorating on the Cheap - A guest post!

By Jennifer Osieczanek,

Moving into your first apartment is a huge milestone. Full of excitement? For sure. But being out on your own presents a variety of challenges, as well. One of those is likely to include putting your own stamp on your new place while adhering to a budget.

Most apartment lease agreements won’t let you paint the walls, or require you to paint them white again when you move out. Let’s be real: No one likes painting that much.

Using accessories is a great way to brighten up your space and express yourself without spending a lot of cash.

To start, toss a couple of colorful throw pillows on your couch. Ikea sells “cushions” starting as low as $3.99, and covers starting at $3. Covers come in a variety of colors and patterns, which you easily can switch out seasonally or just to suit your mood for fresh style that doesn’t cost much.

White walls and white carpet got you down? Add a colorful rug to set off a seating area. That said, think a little bit more traditionally when making your purchase because rugs are more expensive items and you’ll want to love it for a long time. offers a good variety. One of my favorites is the Alexa Moroccan Trellis wool rug for $169.99. The navy version would ground your space with a rich, classic feel. Make sure you look for online coupons to save on this pricier purchase.

Art is another great way to make a statement, but it can be really expensive. Seriously. Instead of shelling out your well-earned paycheck, get creative and make something of your own.

I found a big frame on sale at Michaels (you don’t need glass in it) and then went to Lowe’s for some sheet metal -- both standard and a decorative pattern -- and spray paint. I cut both to fit my frame and then spray painted the standard metal black. I layered the decorative sheet metal on top of the painted metal and put them in the frame. The framed sheet metal in itself is like a work of art.

On a whim, I took it a step further and displayed some of my favorite vacation pictures with magnets. I’ve left enough room still to see the cool metal design, but also made a personalized photo collage that can be changed whenever I feel like it.

And, finally, one last little trick to making your new place feel like home: Fresh cut flowers. Even a few stems from the grocery store in a simple vase can bring a pop of color to a room and a smile to your face.

Jennifer Osieczanek writes for

Photos by Jennifer Osieczanek

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