You want to fill your home's walls with art, but anyone who has ever tried to get something framed knows just how pricey it can be. Luckily, there are a number of great alternatives to professional framing that will still help you to show off your art in an attractive way. Here are just a few smart tips for framing art on the cheap.
- Use an online framing service. Nowadays you can do just about anything online, including framing your art. Browse the web for online framing services like Framebridge and in just a few business days, you'll receive a beautifully framed art print in the mail — often for less than $50!
- Stock up on frames. If you prefer to frame your art on your own, stock up on affordable frames at craft stores or thrift shops. You'll often find secondhand, mass-produced frames backed with craft paper and foam, but don't worry; those can be easily removed.
- Remove the backing. If you do happen to find a great deal on a secondhand frame with built-in backing, remove the layer of craft paper by pulling out the staples or simply cutting it out. Next, remove the inner layer of foam or cardboard by again removing any nails or staples.
- Add a mat. Whether you disassembled your own secondhand frame or bought one new, at this point you'll want to add a mat to create a professional look. You can purchase a mat at any craft store, so long as you carefully measure both the size of your frame (for the mat's outer edge) and the size of the print (for the mat's inside edge).
- Clean the glass. Finally, clean the glass thoroughly and let it dry before placing it back in the frame. If you removed the backing, add your own backing with more craft paper and either glue or staples.
Frugal Living: How To Frame Your Art on the Cheap [Apartment Therapy]
Don't have a traditional dining room table? You'll be happy to know that there are still a number of other ways to have your friends over for dinner. Here are a few smart tips for hosting a dinner party even without a dining room.
- Think buffet-style. Avoid the sit-down feel right from the beginning by serving your food buffet style. This not only embraces the lack of a traditional dining room, it even makes it more fun.
- Plan the menu accordingly. Since you don't have a large table, you'll want to avoid a really formal meal. This isn't the time for prime rib and multiple sides; rather, it's the perfect opportunity for a taco bar, a heaping bowl of pasta or dress-them-yourself burgers.
- Embrace your outdoor space. If your rental comes equipped with its own private outdoor space (or even a shared outdoor area), it's the perfect opportunity to take your meal al fresco. Bring along a tablecloth, a few candles for ambiance and some recyclable plates that don't require much clean-up.
- Take it to the floor. Toss some comfortable throw pillows around your living room and instruct your friends to gather around the coffee table.
- Turn it into a theme night. If you're worried about the informal feel of eating on your couch with guests, turn your dinner party into a cozy theme. Pop in a movie for a laid-back movie night, or grab some board games for a dinner-party-turned-game-night.
Finding stylish home decor and furniture doesn't have to bust your budget. Visit the following stores to find unique and trendy home decor and furniture at prices that won’t break the bank!
- Cost Plus World Market is an affordable retail store that sells unique home furniture, decor, rugs, curtains, gifts, coffee, wine, and so much more. They offer original, high quality items at a great value. World Market brings the beauty of global markets to you and their large selection of original items is constantly changing. They have stores all over the nation and you can also shop online.
- Christmas Tree Shops offers a surprising variety of items that are always changing, at prices you won’t find anywhere else. The buyers at Christmas Tree Shops travel all over the world to find products that are distinctive and intriguing.
- Pier 1 Imports is well known for their fun, inspiring, colorful, and unique furniture and decor. They use fashion-forward trends and even handcraft exclusive items with the customer in mind. The products at Pier 1 can really inspire and ignite your creativity.
Whether you're working with limited space or you're simply looking for something more unique than traditional furniture, there are a number of reasons why you might want to skip the usual squared nightstand and opt for something a bit more tailored to your needs. Here are just five great alternatives to the usual bedside table — and even a few that aren't tables at all!
- A chair. Visit your local thrift store or a stylish home goods store to pick out chic chairs that can double as bedside tables. They're perfect for creating a base for your current reads and an alarm clock, or if you prefer to go the minimal route and leave the chair's base bare, you can even use it to sit on.
- A sturdy shelf. If you only have a few feet to spare on either side of your bed, simply attach a small shelf to the wall and use it as a compact nightstand alternative.
- A vintage milk crate. Hunt for these rustic wooden crates at local antique sales or even the farmers market if you're looking for a bedside table with a bit more personality. Simply flip it upside down or on its side, depending on how tall you want your "table" to look.
- A desk. If you're on the other side of the bedroom spectrum and actually have more space than you know what to do with, use a desk as your nightstand. That way, you can fill empty space and create a private area for answering e-mails or planning your week.
- A bar cart. Everyone loves the retro bar cart, but this piece isn't just designed for housing your favorite spirits. Use it in a guest bedroom to provide your guests with a carafe of water, fresh flowers, toiletries and more.
Rethink the Table: 22 Bedside Alternatives [Brit + Co]
You want your home's surroundings to reflect your personal style, but this can sometimes prove difficult as a renter. Follow these tips to help give your rental home more life and character!
- Keep fresh flowers and potted plants around to add warmth and life to your space.
- Change out the hardware on your kitchen and bathroom cabinets and drawers. It will make a big impact, and it's easy to change back when you move out.
- Add area rugs to help define your space and to add warmth and color.
- Use temporary wallpaper to create a statement wall and bring some color or bold patterns into your space
- Changing out your light switch plates is such a small detail but can really make a difference. Plus, this is also something you can change right back when you leave.
- Hang your favorite art pieces around to brighten your mood and inspire you. Instead of hammers and nails, use 3M hooks to hang framed photos and posters.
How to Decorate a Rental [Style Me Pretty]
Dos and Don'ts of Decorating a Rental [HGTV]
5 Easy, High-Impact Rental Decorating Ideas (That Can Move With You) [Apartment Therapy]
The bathroom is often one of the most neglected rooms in any home, but with a few simple updates, this high-traffic area can become a soothing oasis. Transform your rental bathroom into an at-home spa with these stylish (and affordable!) DIY projects.
- Improve the lighting. If your bathroom is dull and dark, brighten things up by adding lighting that works for you. You can switch out pendant lights (as long as you're able to switch them back when you move out), or add hanging lamps around the sink to add additional lighting.
- Create your own custom shelving using reclaimed wood. Just about everyone could use a bit of extra storage in their bathroom, and it's easier than you think to gain extra space. Try hanging antique wood crates on the wall, or make your own shelves by tying wooden shelves on hooks with some rustic ropes.
- Weave your own bathmat. Add a colorful, eclectic look to your bathroom by weaving your own bathmat. Use fabric rope in a variety of colors to create your own unique color scheme.
- Add vintage furniture. If you have unused space in your bathroom, fill it with furniture pieces that you might not usually expect to see in a bathroom. A small armoire or even an antique vanity looks chic and unexpected — and best of all, it adds some extra storage.
The 10 Best DIY Bathroom Projects [DIY Network]
If you feel like your apartment's decor is looking a little tired, don't fret. You don't have to save up for months to complete a total overhaul of the place; instead, you can make a few quick tweaks designed to have the ultimate impact. Here are five ideas to get you started.
- Reupholster a dying chair. If you consider yourself a solid DIYer, then reupholstering a chair should be no large feat for you. Perhaps you already have a comfy chair at home that you can reupholster, or maybe you'll have the added perk of being able to find one at your favorite thrift store. Either way, head to the craft store to choose a fabric you like, then use an online tutorial to help you make over your chair.
- Paint your throw pillows. There are countless ways to spruce up throw pillows, from slapping on a new case to painting them with colorful stripes. Use the method that suits your style (and time constraints).
- Make over your headboard. If it's your bedroom that needs the facelift, start with its focal point: the bed. You can recreate your headboard easily and cheaply, in various ways. For instance, hang a curtain panel across a metal bar for a contemporary twist on the typical headboard.
- Mix and match different rooms' accents. Maybe you already have all the components you need to update your apartment within its four walls. If you have certain decorations that distinguish a room, try swapping them between other spaces in your home to create a new aesthetic. For example, you could move the end table from your living room into the guest room, and repurpose the bedside table as a new end table instead.
10 Ways to Redecorate Without Spending a Dime [Bob Vila]
Give Your Bedroom a Money-Saving Makeover [All You]
How to give your room an instant makeover [Homedit]
If you have a hallway table or bedroom dresser that could use some sprucing up, the table vignette may be the way to go. A vignette is simply an embellishment that consists of different elements arranged harmoniously, from blooming flowers to vintage picture frames. The exact contents of the vignette are up to you (consider shopping around at thrift stores), but there are a few rules you should follow when you actually go to create the vignette. Here are four of the top suggestions, gleaned from the internet's interior design experts.
- Pick a focal point. Before you randomly start arranging knick-knacks on a coffee table, pick an element that will anchor your vignette. For example, it might be a vintage vase filled with flowers or artsy twigs. It could be a pretty picture frame with a personal photo or postcard. Regardless of what it is, make sure the focal point meshes with the colors and style of the rest of your home.
- Let light win over dark. If you don't already have a focal point in mind, consider using a cool lamp. When creating a vignette, it's imperative that you put it somewhere where the light can accentuate it—and what better way to do that than to make the light a part of it?
- Use the rule of threes. Interior design experts often adhere to the rule of threes, which essentially states that when grouping design elements, you should opt for odd numbers over even numbers. It creates a focal point that naturally draws the eye.
- Create depth and texture. You should also vary the arrangement of your vignette elements in order to intrigue onlookers. Instead of placing each piece in a straight line, pull some forward and push others back. Pick candlesticks or books of varying heights. Choose different textures. This will keep your vignette interesting and eye-catching.
Creating a Well-Styled Table Vignette [Jenna Burger]
8 Tips for Making Beautiful Vignettes [HGTV]
Rule of Three and Odd Numbers [Cecilia Walker Design]
While the idea of adding houseplants in your home seems nice, it can sometimes be more difficult than it seems. If you’re ready to throw in the towel (or, rather, the gardening gloves) and accept your non-green thumb, don’t quit just yet: these low-maintenance plants are perfect for people just like you.
- Pothos. Perhaps the most common indoor houseplant, the hearty pothos plant is almost impossible to kill. It thrives in almost any type of light, and it will even grow in long, trailing stems from the ceiling all the way to the floor.
- Spider plant. This plant gets it name because it is shaped like the legs of a spider, and because it works best in medium lighting, it’s ideal for just about any room in your apartment home at Windemere at Tallgrass.
- Areca palm. If you’re looking for a large plant that will make a bit more of an impact, the Areca palm is a great choice. It's very large and vibrant, but it doesn’t require much care.
- English ivy. For something with a classic look, English ivy is just as beautiful as it is low-maintenance. This is an especially great choice for homes with air conditioning, because it prefers lower temperatures.
- Jade plant. If you love succulents (and going weeks between waterings), the thick, sturdy jade plant is for you.
The 15 easiest indoor house plants that won't die on you [Today]
The 13 Houseplants You Can't Kill [Good Housekeeping]
7 Easy-to-Care-for Houseplants [Woman’s Day]
If you’re looking for a way to add extra storage space to your current freezer, these smart tips may be of service.
- Know what to freeze. Start streamlining what you freeze in the first place by knowing what will last and what won’t. In general, leafy vegetables, dairy products, and fried foods are not meant to freeze.
- Separate items into portions. If you’re freezing something that would otherwise stick together after freezing, such as chicken breasts or soup, separate it into serving-sized portions so that you can easily thaw only the part that you need.
- Use containers. Instead of piling all of your food into one large pile in the freezer, invest in freezer-safe storage containers from the local home goods store.
- Use labels. Label everything in the freezer, from individual food items (unless they’re still in the original packaging) to your storage containers.
- Mind the door. The door of the freezer is the warmest part, so don’t store things that can easily melt on its shelves. Save this space for less delicate foods, such as nuts, alcohol, or frozen fruits.
Fridge and Freezer Organization [The Container Store]
The Best Way to Organize Your Freezer [The Kitchn]
8 Better Ways to Keep Your Freezer Super-Organized [Good Housekeeping]
You don’t want your little ones to feel afraid of the dark every night at bedtime, which is why every child’s room should contain a fun and functional light that chases away the monsters that live under the bed. Here are three great places to shop for quirky-cute kids’ lighting online.
The Land of Nod
This mega-popular kids’ online retailer offers modern furniture and home decor items that will make your kids’ rooms look a whole lot more stylish. Their selection of kid-friendly lighting sources includes lamps in the shapes of clouds, nightlights with cute faces, and colorful floor lamps that channel classic mid-century designs.
If you’re looking for lights that even quirkier, ModCloth is your online go-to for all things sweet and silly. Check out updated versions of the usual light socket nightlights and retro-inspired wall lights, as well as twinkling string lights that add a festive flair.
From plasma ball lights that produce bolts of electricity wherever you place your fingers to funky, miniature chandeliers and machines that create shooting stars indoors, this unique online retailer offers one of the most creative selections of quirky kids’ lighting.
Do you have a well-made but outdated piece of furniture in your home that you hate to throw away? Luckily, it’s easy to transform that ugly wooden chair or banged-up dresser into something fresh and modern with only a simple coat of paint. Here are a few tips that will save you money on new furniture by showing you how to re-vamp your existing pieces.
- Sand it thoroughly. One of the most important steps when painting furniture is to completely remove the old stain or paint first. Sand the entire piece with a medium-grit sandpaper on an electric sander, or if you don’t own one, get to sanding by hand—just make sure you don’t sand too much and damage the wood underneath.
- Wipe off the residue. After sanding, wipe the entire surface using a tack cloth designed specifically to remove sawdust.
- Prime the piece. Some people say that you don’t need to prime a piece of furniture, but if there’s a chance that the wood might be laminate, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Purchase a primer designed for your specific needs and smooth it on with a foam roller.
- Paint. Apply at least three coats of paint using a different foam roller, allowing at least eight hours of drying time between coats. Once the third coat dries, your furniture will look like new!
The 5 Biggest Mistakes You Make When Painting Furniture [Country Living]
Paint Makeovers: An Expert Tells All [Bob Villa]
Quick Furniture Makeovers for Fashionable Results [Benjamin Moore]
From the refrigerator to the shower, it seems like there’s nothing that baking soda can’t freshen up. Here are just three great ways to incorporate baking soda into your cleaning routine.
- Freshen the fridge. This is by far the easiest way to clean with baking soda, as it really doesn’t involve any cleaning at all. Simply place an opened container of baking soda in the refrigerator, and it will naturally absorb odors and help keep your fridge smelling fresh.
- Unclog a drain. Measure 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1/2 cup of vinegar, then pour each down the drain separately. They will immediately create a bubbling effect and help clear up a clogged drain.
- Remove spots on your walls. If you have scratches and marks on your light-colored walls, mix baking soda and water to create a solution that will remove them with ease. Simply soak up the solution with a soft cloth and get to scrubbing.
21 Cleaning Problems You Can Solve With Baking Soda [Good Housekeeping]
Clean Your Whole House with Vinegar, Baking Soda and Lemon [Earth 911]
Top 10 Cleaning Uses for Baking Soda! [Clean My Space]
Want to get in on the industrial-chic trend? You can inject the cool, hip home decor style into your space at Windemere at Tallgrass with help from these popular retailers. A bit of distressed metal here, a dash of reclaimed wood there, and your cozy rental will take on the big-city loft vibe that you’ve always wanted!
Dot & Bo
Although this popular online home goods retailer is best known for its affordable selection of mid-century modern furnishings, it’s also a great resource for finding industrial furniture pieces that look like they came straight from a converted warehouse. Browse metal pendant lights, concrete planters, and even Parsons desks with perfectly weathered wood tops.
This affordable, eclectic housewares store offers an impressive selection of industrial-inspired furniture items that includes wooden beds, coffee tables on rolling casters, and metal bar carts perfect for entertaining.
The name says it all at this popular online retailer. Industrial Home carries what it describes as “a vintage twist on modern industrial living,” which includes a great selection of antique-inspired light fixtures, warm leather sofas and rugged, wooden dining tables that offer that signature loft feel.
You’re not exactly a pack rat, but you definitely have more than a few items in the back of your closet that you haven’t looked at in a few years. Most people would say that their homes could benefit from a bit of de-cluttering, and these helpful tips will show you just how to do it.
- Keep papers within reach. By keeping papers within eyesight, you’ll be more likely to deal with your paper mess before it accumulates into something much more difficult to manage.
- Ask a few questions. When you’re going through the items in your home, ask yourself questions like: Have I used this in the past year? Does this benefit my life? Is it broken? If, so can I fix it? If you say no to most of these questions, put it in the donation pile.
- Create a donation pile. Speaking of that donation pile, start one! You’ll feel a lot less guilty about getting rid of your unused items if you know they’re going to someone who will really appreciate them.
- Clear off surfaces. After you clean out hidden spaces like closets and under the bed, make a rule that you’ll always keep surfaces like counters and desks free of clutter. Not only will your home feel more organized, this will ensure that it looks more organized, as well.
18 Five-Minute Decluttering Tips to Start Conquering Your Mess [Zen Habits]
25 Ways to Clean Out the Clutter [Good Housekeeping]
Keep or Toss: Questions & Tips to Help You Declutter [Apartment Therapy]
Some of the best bargains on unique, beautiful fabrics can be found online. Here are just three of the best online resources for designer fabrics for all of your craft projects.
With an easy-to-navigate website that’s almost as beautiful as its large inventory of designer fabrics, it’s easy to see why Spoonflower is one of the most popular online fabric retailers. Designed by indie artists, fabrics are available in designs like tribal prints, geometric patterns, and minimalist flowers, as well as children’s prints perfect for the little ones.
The go-to online hub of anything crafty and handmade, Etsy is also a great resource for designer fabrics. Because the site contains so many individual sellers, you’ll find something for just about any style or project.
Fabric.com sells a wide selection of name brand designers like Liberty of London, Kaufman, and Minky, as well as quilting fabrics and unique textures that may be difficult to find anywhere else. Browse the site by brand name, type of fabric, or even pattern and color, and be sure to check out the impressive clearance section if you’re on a budget.
Tossing some throw pillows onto your sofa seems like a no-brainer, but if you want to create a designer-worthy look, it requires a little effort. Here are a few genius ways to choose the right pillows and arrange them on your couch in the most flattering way.
- Create symmetry. Begin by choosing two anchor pillows in a pattern or shade that matches the rest of your sofa. These will go on either end to create a balanced effect.
- Mix and match. To avoid a drab look, choose a few more pillows in varying shapes, sizes and patterns, keeping in mind the main color that ties it all together.
- Add texture. Add at least one textured pillow in a fabric like faux fur, cable knit, or velvet.
- Use odd numbers. Most designers agree that using an odd number of pillows is usually best, as it helps you to create a lived-in look that is easy to rearrange again and again. Line them up across the whole sofa, or add more on one side and less on the other.
- Think of the sofa’s usage. If your sofa has to accommodate a large number of people, choose smaller pillows or use less of them. If it’s more for show, feel free to go wild with pillows.
9 Pointers for Perfectly Styled Pillows [Houzz]
Throw Pillows: 4 Tips to Style Your Sofa [HuffPost Home]
Tips On Choosing Throw Pillows [DécorLove]
Incorporating throw pillows into your bedroom or living room is a cheap and easy way to update a home’s decor, but with the overwhelming number of options, it may be intimidating to choose the perfect ones. Here are a few tips to help you choose the best throw pillows for your space.
- Consider the size. Are you purchasing throw pillows for a standard-sized couch or your king-sized bed? The size of the space makes a big difference when choosing the perfect pillows, so be sure to consider sizes before purchasing. Eighteen-inch square pillows are best suited for a bed or sofa, while oversized pillows of 24 inches or larger create a more lounge-style feel in a living room.
- Choose a color scheme. Black and white throw pillows create a mod effect, while bright shades of pink, green, or blue liven up a drab space. Even if you plan on purchasing patterned pillows, stick with one singular color scheme for a designer-worthy look.
- Don’t be afraid to mix and match. Get creative by mixing and matching different sizes, shapes, and patterns. If you stick to your chosen color scheme, it’s easy to pull off a more eclectic look.
- Add pillows in unexpected places. Toss some large, cushion-style pillows on the floor, add some in a window nook, or place one on a desk chair for a cozy feel.
Decorating With Throw Pillows [Real Simple]
Tips On Choosing Throw Pillows [Décor Love]
How to Choose Decorative Pillows for the Living Room [Overstock]