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 The lighting fixtures were caked in dust and outdated (and not in the vintage-cute way I’m going for).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.
Did you know that items and services marketed towards women tend to be more expensive? (Source) That’s right, apparently society thinks it’s okay to charge women more because we’re more likely to pay more for the same items.
Next time you’re buying deodorant or a shaving razor, look at the men’s section and compare. Don’t be too shocked that you’re paying more!
Personally, I think we need to give a big “shove it” to the man.
Begin looking at what you’re spending on beauty and try to cut down. Here are some ways you can still enjoy being a woman, but spend a little less.
1. Cut your own hair.
This isn’t as scary as you think it is!
It’s very easy to do if you have longer hair, which is another reason why I consider longer hair to be more minimalist and easy to maintain.
Do your research first. Make sure you have the right materials, and follow a guide.
My favorite tutorial is this one on YouTube, which I have been using with amazing results! This saves me a lot of money and aggravation over bad hair stylists. (I’m cursed.)
2. Stop dying your hair.
This is a given. Dying requires a lot of upkeep and it damages your hair. It also continually takes money out of your wallet, plus you need to buy extra beauty products to heal the damage.
It’s nice to dye for a change, but if you’re short on cash it’s best just to skip this. Growing it out is a pain, too!
3. Check for duplicates.
Sometimes you can buy a cheaper alternative to an expensive beauty product without sacrificing the results. These are usually called “dupes” within the beauty community.
Look around for these duplicates by doing trial and error yourself, or by doing some research online.
Need a new beauty product, but can’t afford to waste your money on a bad purchase? Always read reviews on a product first to save yourself time and money.
I highly recommend a community like Makeup Alley. I never buy anything without checking there first, and it’s saved me so much money!
5. Stalk for sales.
Mark the big sales on your calendar and save up for them.
For example, you can get away with making a wishlist of more expensive products and waiting for Black Friday (or Boxing Day) sales, seasonal sales, or any quarterly specials a store may have every year.
This way you’ll save big and you’ll still get what you want. This requires the patience of waiting for the sale, but pays off big.
6. Clip coupons.
Saving up coupons and being aware of coupon regulations at your favorite store will help you save money on beauty products.
For example, it’s easy to get drugstore makeup on discount by combining manufacturer coupons with store discounts at places like CVS and Walgreens.
ULTA is another example — you can use ULTA coupons on drugstore makeup to pay less.
7. Try DIY.
There are so many great DIY alternatives out there that you can create with household items.
We have a high-end store here in Orlando called Juicy Couture. Does anyone else have one of these in their area? They sell clothes, jewelry, and other items at designer prices. They cater to teens and young adults, and I have a huge thing for their jewelry. I only buy their jewelry on clearance at our outlet mall — I have a strawberry necklace and crowned heart earrings.
But there’s one thing I absolutely hate about Juicy Couture. The clothing is not made well and the jewelry is not even real, but they sell everything at ridiculous prices. Both of the items I bought for about $20 on clearance at the outlet mall originally retailed at around $100.
It just makes me mad, because people are literally buying a name and not a product when they buy this stuff at original prices. Last time I went into the shop the cashier told someone she would have to take care of the armful of jewelry she was purchasing, “Because, you know, none of it is real or anything. So you have to take care of it in that respect.” The girl with the jewelry was shocked, put all the jewelry back, and walked out of the store without a word.
While I understand buying designer quality, it’s outrageous that some designers try to sell people crap for a fortune. I accidentally wore my crowned heart earrings to sleep last night. How did I realize this? Because my earlobes were itching from the cheap material being in my ears for too long. I can’t imagine that some people actually paid up to $100 for these earrings. To me they’re worth the $20, and barely even that.
So be careful what you purchase. In this case you’re better off buying from Forever 21, where you can buy similar items of the same exact quality for $5 each.
This blog entry was posted in Beauty on May 31 2010.