Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Not Frugal: Decorating My Home

Peanut and I have been in our new apartment for about two weeks (maybe three?) and I have come to the conclusion that I hate the walls. They were freshly painted before we moved in, but with either a flat paint or a colored primer—something so flat and dull that it feels dry and almost sandy, and if you so much as look hard at it, it gets scuffed. And the Magic Eraser just makes things worse.

We’ll be in this apartment at least a year (see my recent rant about not moving again for a looooong time) so I’ve decided that I want to paint and do some actual decorating, and I want to do it sooner rather than later. I want to be cheap about it but I don’t want to be so cheap that I put it off and remain unhappy every time I open my eyes in the living room.

I’m still in the idea-gathering stage of things right now. I know this much: I want to paint the living room a color with eggshell or satin paint, and I want to use the frame-things on the walls to some advantage (I’ll try to post a picture—I don’t know what they’re called, but I’ve seen them in pre-war buildings before. They’re just random frames on the living room walls, I guess made out of plaster). I might do this by starching fabric inside of them, or maybe painting the insides different colors. I don’t want it to look like a box of crayons threw up, though. I want to paint the bedroom, too, and get a new bedframe or headboard or do something artsy to look like a headboard. And maybe I’ll paint behind the sink and stove in the kitchen, and do some sponge detail there or something.

All told, I don’t think this would cost more than $50 in paint and I’m hoping I could find supplies on FreeCycle or borrow them from friends. Of course, we’d do it ourselves to save money.

I haven’t put a whole lot of effort into decorating any place that I’ve lived because I view them all as temporary. But I think it’s worth it this time—if $50 will get rid of pretty much the only problem I have with this apartment, that seems like a small price to pay, especially amortized over a year!

If you live in rentals, what do you do to decorate and make it feel like home?


  1. We rent an apartment but we didn't paint, so it is that boring off white color throughout. But we have a ton of art up on the walls, so it at least reflects our personalities better. At our old apartment the walls were like concrete and we couldn't hang anything up (plus our landlord basically forbid it) and it was terrible. Stark white walls and our sparse furniture made it look very dorm room. I think our apartment looks more "homey" now.

    Definitely check out etsy for cute art to hang up. People usually sell prints for not too much.

    Good luck! :)

  2. Absolutely paint!!

    A year after I moved in, I bartered with someone to paint two feature walls in my large studio and am soooo glad I did. I paid way too much for the paint simply because, well, it was before Manhattan got a Home Depot, and I had problems with Kmart insufficiently mixing (on an electric spinner thing) the paint for my previous place.

    I also recommend giving some creative thought to your drapes/blinds/etc. They change the decor and light, add some drama, etc.


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