Aside from major decor ideas I had before moving in to my new place, I realized it needed a lot of simple changes. For me, it’s all in the details.
The hardware had so many layers of paint over it, it was about an inch thick. The lighting fixtures were caked in dust and outdated (and not in the vintage-cute way I’m going for). The cabinets were dirty, and wouldn’t stay shut. The light switches were oddly misshapen. Needless to say, I got creative.
Here are a few ways to give an older home, especially a rental, some TLC:
Remove layers of paint from hardware.
Having ten layers of paint over hardware is a tell-tale sign of an old rental. (Gotta love lazy painters.) Clean the hardware to remove decades of old paint, or simply buy new ones. It’ll only cost you some spare change! How simple (and cheap) was that?
Upgrade boring lighting fixtures.
This isn’t necessarily a cheap fix, but one that still makes all the difference. Upgrade ugly, standard lighting found in most rentals with modern light fixtures. Save the old ones, and you can take your upgrade with you when you move! In my opinion, it’s worth the investment.
This type of job usually requires some hardwiring knowledge, which is super easy to learn. (Make sure you turn your electricity off, please!)
Add unique switch plate covers.
Changing a boring, white square plate to something more unique makes one of the biggest differences in the feel of a home. This one you see is from Allen + Roth, and I changed all my visible plates to this style. Instant class! The better the quality of what you choose, the more expensive. But again, this is something you can take with you if you rent.
My house is also really old (pre 1940′s) and I don’t think the actual light switches or outlets had ever been changed from the originals. I went ahead and upgraded those too. Believe it or not, these cost less than $1 for each on/off switch or outlet. Make sure you turn the electricity off, and then simply hook the wires up exactly how they were on the old. This not only gave me smooth, non-painted switches but actually improved the lighting response in my switch that connected to the outdoor lighting. I guess it wasn’t hooked up properly to the old one!
One final bonus — this easily allowed me to change my 2 prong outlets to 3 prong. Bye-bye, ugly 3 prong adaptors.
Additional ways to upgrade:
If you can’t paint your cabinets, sand and stain them to give them the “like new” feel.
If your cabinets don’t stay closed, add magnets.
Change your outdated hooks and knobs to something cute that matches the decor in the room. Anthropologie has the best finds!
Replace locks and doorknobs to something more modern.
Use cheap, unfinished wood from a hardware store to give yourself more shelf space. Then sand and stain. I did this for both my kitchen and my closet! You save so much money, and it allows you to have more space for storage in the most custom way possible.
While most of these take an hour or two of your time, they save you money and transform the look of your home.
I’d been contemplating how to solve the “empty” look in my living room. My decorating style is minimalist (big surprise) but it still looked too empty for my taste. I like a safe middle ground between simple and decorative.
I was performing my daily Pinterest browse when I stumbled upon a frame gallery board. Light bulb! That’s when I knew I wanted to add a gallery of frames above the TV.
Here’s how to organize your own frame gallery without making a million holes in your wall:
Decide on an arrangement. Search the web for common size arrangements, or use this guide if your stumped and want some frame arrangement ideas.
Get out some paper and cut (or tape together) the shapes for each frame you’ve chosen for your gallery.
Begin taping your paper to the wall. The idea here is that this isn’t permanent. You’ll quickly figure out what works best for your space, without consequences for moving the paper around.
Once you have your arrangement, go ahead and purchase the frames. I was looking at these from Pottery Barn, but cheaped out and went with IKEA alternatives. Hey, I’m a girl on a budget… But if you have change to spare, Pottery Barn currently has their frames on sale online!
Measure the location of where you’ll need nails on the frame. Take that measurement and place it onto the paper hanging on your wall.
Hammer nails in place!
Remove the paper. Just rip it right off the wall, and the nail shouldn’t budge.
Hang your frames.
Don’t sweat over imperfections. Not every frame will be perfect and some space may vary. Imperfection adds character! Mine aren’t perfect, but I love the results.
Simple, isn’t it? I used to use the trial and error method. Let’s just say my last apartment needed some serious TLC when we moved.
Now comes the fun part — filling the frames with artwork!
These unfinished plant pots are a fraction of the price that painted ceramics cost at the home improvement store. The cheap-o in me won when it came time to decide what to do… I knew I had a can of black spray paint at home and a perfectly suitable balcony to paint on. Voila!
The key to spray painting is to spray from far away and come to terms with having to use a billion coats to make it opaque. If you rush it, you’ll end up with drips!
As you can see, I still have to take the plant out of the planter and put it into the pot. I’m saving that for another messy weekend.
DIY Shower Door Caulking
Our shower door caulking was molding to oblivion… I don’t think the guy who initially did this used waterproof caulking. (Gotta love when people cut corners…) I called it in but the wait was too long to have it fixed. Rather than risk him not even fixing it right, I decided to just do it myself.
I purchased waterproof caulking, a caulking gun, caulking remover spray, and a scraping tool. I don’t think I spent over $10 and it was relatively easy to fix.
By the way, here’s a time breakdown of how long it takes to caulk:
Caulking removal: 3 hours and two blisters
Caulking: 5 seconds and regret that you can’t use the cool caulking gun for longer
DIY Ceramic Container Painting
Here’s a craft fail for you, so feel free to laugh at me.
I needed to get all of these one color to match in my bathroom, and I wanted them white. I tried spray painting these first, which would have been fine until I realized I used matte white spray paint instead of glossy.
I went to my local craft store to buy a gloss to put over, but they were out. I shrugged and grabbed a ceramic paint that was somewhere around $1. I also bought a 50 cent brush.
Results? As you can see, the paint was gloopy and the brush left marks. I tried to work with it, but I’m not happy with the outcome. The paint even dripped onto the brown parts on the bottom — not intentional.
I’ll stick to my spray paint from now on. As for these, they were chipping anyway.
Screw this DIY. I’m on the hunt for some new bathroom accessories.