Want to make your $600 pad look like a $1,500 penthouse? It doesn’t take lots of space or tons of expensive furnishings. With these six simple tips, you can impress your friends and still have dough left for groceries.
1. Swap gold for silver
Gold is the color of riches, but in most rooms it looks like cheap bling. Stash the gold photo frames and glittery accessories or rework what you have; above all, opt for cool, sophisticated silver. Replace all your flashy things with classier, understated items. Think crisp lines (squares and rectangles) and sedated colors.
2. Swap carpet for vinyl
There’s simply no way to hide old, cheap, dirty carpeting; however, for just a couple of hundred dollars you can replace the carpet in a room with vinyl. Today’s vinyl flooring comes in many elegant-looking patterns designed to mimic hardwood flooring, rock tiles, or even marbling. You can save even more money if you go DIY. See if a friend would lend you their weekend to help. The folks at the home improvement store can provide guidance. Bonus: You’ll finally get rid of the funky smell from the previous tenant.
Be sure to check with your landlord or property manager before making any changes.
3. Stick with neutral colors
Flashy colors look cheap much in the same way gold and glitter do. Paint the walls off-white or a subtle neutral color. Never paint walls stark white, because it’s too harsh (and boring). Choose an ivory, eggshell, or cream, and it will look white on the walls. Follow the contemporary style of using all neutrals for walls and furnishings, and choose a few brightly colored items around the room for classic pops of color.
4. Clean up
Rich people have maids, so it’s easy for them to keep things clean; however, if you’re aiming to make your apartment look pricey, it has to look as if the maid just left. Often, it’s the little details that keep a room from having the fresh, polished shine of the wealthy. Take care of cracks and crevices, hidden dust under lamps and picture frames, and tiny fluff balls under the coffee table.
5. Swap magazines for free (and green) resources
A couple of well-chosen periodicals lying around might be classy, but piles of bills, magazines, and clutter look cheap. Switch to environmentally friendly e-billing and get your magazine fix with electronic magazines. Not only is going paperless cheaper (saving you money to use in other areas of your apartment), but it also creates less clutter and saves lots of trees.
6. Fall out of love with your old stuff
Sometimes we keep comfort items from our past to make us feel at home in a new place. But if you want your apartment to look luxurious, the homey things have to go. Get rid of your Fozzy Bear (or store him at Mom’s). The same goes for the ashtray you made at summer camp, the pictures of you and your BFF at the photo booth in the mall, and the baby albums on your bookshelf.
With these quick, easy changes, your apartment will look nice and expensive no matter how low your rent.
What are some of your favorite fixes for living big on a budget? Share your thoughts in the comments below.