You are not alone in the dream to have HGTV surprise you with a camera, a budget, a home decorator host and a complete apartment overhaul. We dream of such things too. We’re not saying it can’t happen, but in the meantime, we’ve brainstormed some clever ways to give your home a much needed makeover on a budget of zero dollars. Here are 10 ways to make over your apartment, requiring upcycled materials and a little ingenuity, but not a single cent.
1. Turn paint swatches into art
Trim the numbered ends off of paint swatches, and arrange them like mosaic tiles on a piece of poster board to make a colorful, abstract piece for your wall. If you don’t happen to have any paint swatches on hand, scrap paper will do nicely.
2. Style your kitchen cabinets
Use washi tape or regular blue painter’s tape to add decorative stripes, chevrons or edging to the doors of your kitchen cabinets. It’s an easy update, and totally removable—which makes this the perfect way to redecorate without risking your security deposit!
3. Upcycle empty bottles
Before taking out your recycling, save a bottle or two. Soak the bottle in warm, soapy water to remove the label, and use it to make a chic vase or candle holder.
4. Make some mood lighting
Creating colorful or dramatic lighting is a cinch—throw a pretty scarf over a lamp to change up its hue. It’s much cheaper than buying a new lampshade, too. Just make sure your scarf doesn’t get too hot!
5. Get crafty with your photo collection
Make a mobile out of your printed photographs. Use some string to tie paperclips to the ends of chopsticks or wooden dowels, and attach your pictures to the paperclips. The completed mobile will add some personalized splash to your bedroom or den.
6. Display your jewelry
Scatter your baubles across a cute dish to make a statement piece for your dresser. If you have a spare picture frame, hang it on your wall, hammer some small nails or tacks into the space marked by the frame and drape your necklaces on the nails. Both methods have the added bonus of making your accessories easy to find!
7. Give your bookcase some props
Fill a pair of mason jars with spare change or small stones. The two jars can be used as bookends for your growing library.
8. Accessorize your dresser drawers
Spare wrapping paper or pages from old magazines make perfect drawer liners. Just measure the dimensions of the bottom of each drawer, and trim the paper to fit. Place the paper inside to ensure a pop of color whenever you grab a tee.
9. Re-think your storage space
Sure, you have closets—but what about that giant space under your bed? It’s essentially a closet waiting to be filled. Make sure the space is free of dust and debris, and put your winter coats and spare blankets between the bed frame and the floor. Pin an extra blanket or dust ruffle along the sides of your mattress to hide your clever new storage.
10. Re-arrange your furniture
Moving your furniture has a huge impact on how your living space feels. Experiment with pushing your couch against the opposite wall, or moving a favorite chair under the sunniest window. With a little bit of elbow grease, you can completely change the atmosphere in your apartment!