5 Creative Uses for Wallpaper in Your Apartment

For a long time I lamented the fact that wallpaper, one of the most vibrant, unique, and efficient ways to change a space couldn’t be utilized by me, a lowly renter. It wasn’t until I was perusing Home Depot with a friend one day that I came across a roll of fabulous wallpaper I couldn’t live without. I don’t know what got into me, but I bought it, determined to find a use for it.

And I did. We had an old garage sale coffee table we kept repainting, that kept chipping, and kept getting repainted and we absolutely needed to do something with it. I googled “wallpapering a cofee table,” and lo-and-behold, I found the perfect tutorial. And so, my love affair with wallpaper began.

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Our freshly-wallpapered coffee table.

1. This is the tutorial I found, and it’s gotten even more popular since then. With some wallpaper, Modpodge, a clear finish, and a little patience it’s an incredibly simple upgrade. We bought some upholstery tacks online to complete the look:

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Unfortunately, our flimsy, second-hand coffee table only lasted us about six months with a toddler who loves to climb. RIP, beautiful. We don’t even have room for a coffee table anymore, so I’ll be using the rest of this list to help get rid of the roll we have left!

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Photo from Kelly Sue DeConnick / Flicker

2. Use it to line the back of a bookshelf.

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Photo from Blue Eyed Yonder

3. Use it to line drawers.

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Photo from Pure Home

4. Frame it for easy, chic artwork.

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Photo from BHG

5. Follow the directions at BHG.com to cover an old headboard with wallpaper.

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6 Cheap Ways to Upgrade Your Rental

Renting does have its benefits (right? I think… maybe), but one of them is not customization. Even if you live in an apartment that allows you to paint or remodel, which is pretty rare, who wants to put that much work into something you don’t even own? Not me.

So here are some quick, fairly affordable ways to make your apartment feel more like a home, without losing your deposit:

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Photo: Dan DeLuca / Flickr

 

1. Curtains are one of the cheapest, easiest ways to add color and personality to your rental space. The variety of patterns is practically endless, they’re functional (sometimes you just wanna hang out in your underwear), and you can take them with you when you go. The best part is that you can usually find the other hardware you need, like curtain rods, in the home section of thrift stores for dirt cheap.

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Photo: style labo montreal / Flickr

2. Rugs can be a little on the pricey side, so look for them at discount stores like T.J. Maxx or Marshall’s, or on sale at affordable places like Target or on Amazon. I wouldn’t recommend getting a rug second hand unless you know and trust who it’s coming from, especially if it’s fluffy–it could hold pet scents, dirt, or something even grosser (fleas, maybe). I know you most typically see them over hardwood flooring, but I’ve been known to toss a rug down on carpet when I’m getting bored with a room. This is one area where people tend to play it safe. Please don’t do that. Your space is meant to be a reflection of your inner self, especially if your inner self is a fabulous faux cowhide rug!

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Photo: Tricia Royal / Flickr

3. Extra shelving. If you’re one of those people who insists on keeping every book you read or every knick-knack you find, you’re going to need some extra shelving. Luckily, shelving is super easy to come by: Ikea, Home Depot, and Target all have cheap options. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can search local second-hand stores for shelving units that are still in good shape.

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Photo: Geoffrey Fairchild / Flickr

4. A new shower head costs around $20, is easy to install, and will turn that leaky, rusty, rental shower faucet into a luxurious tropical waterfall. Okay, I know that sounds extreme, but that’s really what it will feel like the first few times you take a shower after making the switch. Your whole shower will seem newer and nicer–but beware of your rising water bill once you start spending an extra fifteen minutes pondering life’s meaning during a hot shower.

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Photo: zoetnet / Flickr

5. Plants! I think this one pretty much speaks for itself. It adds color, has a cheerful presence, and improves air quality. Triple threat for sure. Just be sure not to let it die.

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Photo: Tara Faul / Flickr

6. Paint your furniture. If you’re working with a bunch of hand-me-downs or Craigslist finds in mismatched shades of wood, wicker, or metal–paint them all to match. It will take a little bit of time, but it won’t cost much and it will instantly make your rental space look more grown up and put together. If painting is a daunting task for you, stick with neutral colors like black or white that will stay looking nice with a few touch-ups here and there. If you’re don’t mind dedicating days to your decor, go ahead and pick bold colors that you can paint over as your mood, taste, or style changes.

Lighting Upcycle: Painting an Old Lamp

I’ve been looking for a lamp to put in the girls’ room, but not too hard–I just figured I would eventually come across something. Unfortunately their dad came across something first.

ImageJesse brought this beauty home from a client of his who insisted he have it. He was super proud of his free find, and I let him be, even if my eyes were bleeding a little bit. My motto is that there usually isn’t anything a layer of paint can’t fix, so I got to work fixing it up.

Step 1: Wash It Continue reading