Interior Style

Upgrade Your Apartment for $300

Hello West Main Followers and Happy Saturday!

I am so excited to share today’s apartment makeover with you.  This is my first client job and let me tell you, it was a fun challenge!  The young woman I worked with is in college and when her roommate moved out recently, she realized all the home decor of the apartment went with her.  The apartments in this complex come furnished, but as you can see in the photo below, the provided furnishings are very basic…AptBeforeLabelCornerBeforeLabelWhen I met with my client to discuss the project, I realized we are very similar in personality and total opposites in design style.  I love patterns and bright colors, and my home is filled with knick knacks, fur throws, and all kinds of vintage finds.  Below is the criteria she gave me for this apartment update:

    • Color palette of black, white, grey.  Okay to throw in a few brass and/or gold accents
    • Minimal, practical, classic styling.  No fluffy fur, no live plants that need watered
    • Budget of $300
    • Hide the electric panel that was the biggest eyesore to the apartment

UtilityPanelYep, that’s right– the electrical panel is stuck in the middle of the wall.  When someone walks into the apartment, this is the first thing they see!

I definitely had my work cut out for me between the neutral color palette and a small budget.  I love the challenge of working with a tight budget, and there are 3 secret weapons I use when it comes to small budget home makeovers:

  • Make your own throw pillows— it’s an easy way to add color and pattern to existing furniture.  Craft stores like JoAnn Fabrics and Hobby Lobby have quality home decor fabrics that are often marked down 50%.  Check back Tuesday for my pro tips on making pillows easy and inexpensive, including where to find pillow forms for less!
  • Artwork from Etsy— There are some incredibly talented artists and graphic designers here that sell their artwork at a great price.  Pair with inexpensive IKEA frames, and your walls get an instant upgrade!
  • Thrift store shopping— This isn’t always an option when working with a client deadline, but if you have the time, go for the hunt!  I have around 5 Goodwill stores and antique shops that I visit at least once a week.  Making routine visits allows me to check new inventory, but also bargain lower prices for items that I know have been on the shelf for more than 2 weeks…

Can you tell I love a good sale??  I could write a whole post on how to find home decor bargains, but for now let’s get back to this apartment makeover.  You have seen the before, and we talked about the client requests.  Are you ready to see what I did with black, white, grey, and $300?

Take a look…AptAfterLabelSo a few points to note:

  • I went with fake plants to add warmth and texture.  If you haven’t looked lately, there are some really great looking fake plants out there!
  • The gold serving tray adds a nice pop of color to the brown coffee table.  I found it a Goodwill- it still had the Pier 1 tag on for $15….I paid $3.50!
  • I chose throw pillows in her requested color palette, but the fun prints add another layer of interest.  Fabric was half off, and pillow forms from Amazon kept the cost less than $15 per pillow.  If you have shopped for throw pillows recently, you know they can get expensive quick!

CornerAfterLabelIn the corner I chose to stage her table with a few natural elements.  The dried flowers were her own.  The wood serving tray adds another layer, and serves as a base for displaying the smaller succulents.  Placing the large picture on the table added height to the collection and rounds out the grouping.  While the space above the table is still empty, the table itself has so much visual interest that filling all the empty wall space become less of a necessity.

Below is another shot of the finished space, looking out into the kitchen area.  This view also gives you a look at how I solved the issue of that terrible electric panel!AptAfter2PanelHide

The DIY Artwork hiding the electric panel cost me a whopping $6!  I purchased the 22″ x 28″ canvas then used painters’ tape I had on hand to create the chevron style pattern.  You can see in the photo below I used a wider style tape, and the level worked as a straight edge for even spacing.CanvasArt1

The grey, black, and gold paints were leftover from other projects.  Each paint was a different type, which proved to add more interest to the artwork.  The grey paint is interior house paint and went on smooth.  The black was an exterior paint which went on so thick you can see the brush strokes, which I like.  The gold was a craft paint that has a slight metallic sheen to it that can be seen when light hits it.CanvasArt2CanvasArt3

Before we wrap things up, let’s take another look at those before and after shots.

AptAfter2Take a moment in the comments below to share your thoughts!  What is your favorite detail in the room?

If you are in the Columbus area and know of someone looking to update their space on a budget, please send them my way!

Enjoy your Saturday!



2 thoughts on “Upgrade Your Apartment for $300”

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