Crappy & Cramped to Fab & Functional.

Hello apartment, condo, and dorm room dwellers! I often give decoration or design advice to friends, family, and clients who live in cozy spaces in and around Washington, DC. With these living environments come rental policies, cramped quarters and lack of storage – all are often the biggest complaints. Thanks to My Home Ideas for the following helpful tips. Read on for perfect ways to create a truly comfortable , functional, and very happy home!

My cozy living room after recent move-in.

My cozy living room after recent move-in.

  1. Use adhesive hooks. If you can’t use hammers and nails, try hanging your pictures on plastic hooks that come with super-strength adhesive. When you move out, simply pull off the adhesive, and leave the wall intact.
  2. Buy extra closet rods. Apartments aren’t known for their spacious, walk-in closets. In fact, they’re known for tiny ones. Deal with this problem by purchasing an extra adjustable rod to place underneath the existing one.
  3. Rotate knickknacks. Sometimes, what makes a home are the little items we attach to precious memories, and apartments can’t always hold them all. Leave your place simple and uncluttered by rotating these treasures and displaying only a few per month.
  4. Maximize storage. Hide household items by storing them under your bed. You can use bed risers to give your bed some height, and then cover them with a longer bed skirt, making room for boxes, books, and other storage items.
  5. Use a reversible bedspread. To keep your decor fresh and new, try a reversible bedspread. Whenever you get tired of one look, flip it over the next time you make up your bed.
  6. Find multifunctional furniture. Nothing saves space like multifunctional furniture. Whenever you shop for your new apartment, try to find flexible items such as futons, which can serve as both couches and beds.
  7. Try mirror tricks. Opening up a cramped space can require a few illusions. Placing large mirrors around a room can make it appear larger and much more spacious than reality.
  8. Decorate with plywood. Many apartment policies prohibit repainting, so an easy way to add life to your home is to paint or wallpaper large pieces of plywood any color you wish, and then simply lean them against the walls. Just make sure the plywood fits the space.
  9. Let there be light. Some policies won’t allow residents to alter their light fixtures, so if you want more light, you will have to bring it with you when you move in. Find interesting lamps that add charm and personality to your rooms.
  10. Let walls be a canvas. Another solution for bare walls is to cover them up with oversized canvases or posters. Found online or in craft stores, they allow you to drape your apartment in simple, solid colors or in wild, intense designs.
  11. Add color with curtains. Try hanging curtains on your walls, as if you were concealing a nook or extra room. This creates the illusion that the apartment is bigger than it actually is, and it adds a little pizzazz to the decor.
  12. Try wall decals. It might seem a bit elementary, but cling stickers can brighten up a bathroom or kitchen. Home improvement and superstores carry a variety of fun and bright stickers such as flowers, polkadots and chic silouhettes. They can give a room a little whimsy without damaging a surface.
  13. Choose accents wisely. Even if you choose to keep the original wall colors, accents and accessories can easily spruce up your rooms. Add decorative throw pillows, rugs, and lamps that reflect your own personal style and create a homey space without upsetting your landlord.
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"A person should design the way he makes a living, around how he wishes to make a life" — Charlie Byrd

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