DIY & Crafts Garden Design

DIY Art to Make Your Apartment Feel Grown Up

Decorate with posters

At some point in life, usually when you begin working full-time, you want a home that feels sophisticated while still reflecting fun elements of your personal style. You want a space that you can be proud to show your parents, but that is also cool for hosting gatherings of friends. The only problem is that when you’re finally ready to ditch dorm decor and any ratty posters, black lights, or neon beer signs that came along with it, the idea of purchasing artwork for your home while on a budget may seem daunting. No need to worry.

Here are five ways to incorporate beautiful, unique artwork into your home without hurting your bank account.

1. Create a Gallery Wall

Creating a gallery wall will make your apartment look very sophisticated. If you are someone who measures compulsively or reads manuals before you try out new purchases, this step-by-step tutorial is for you because your wall will be flawless! I prefer to hang my largest piece and then just eyeball what goes up around it. Sometimes I end up with a few too many holes in my wall, but sometimes it’s messy perfection!

Decorating with frames
Image Via A Beautiful Mess

Don’t worry about having expensive prints to fill your frames with, either. Try a combination of artistic mediums – paintings, photographs, drawings or watercolors. Thankfully, I have had more than my share of friends in art school who have needed a couch to sleep on, so I have some great work (instead of rent money) to display! Hit up art festivals and buy inexpensive prints of larger works that you admire. Search flea markets and antique stores for old maps and postcards. I recently ordered this card off of Etsy and framed it for my wall. I get compliments on it all of the time and it cost me less than five dollars.

Handmade Pug Card
Image Via Etsy

Here is another take on a gallery wall that swaps picture frames out for clothing hangers. I like that it is budget-conscious, but also so distinct looking. The hangers allow you the flexibility to change up your artwork easily as you find new pieces that you love.

Wall Art
Image Via Apartment Therapy

2. Decorate with Scarves

I can’t figure out how to tie a scarf to save my life, this is a “grown up” life skill that I am still working on. I do really appreciate their beauty though and am always looking for a way to display them. Try framing a scarf to create a really stunning tapestry. You can also check out flea markets for scarves with unique prints that come in similar sizes. Hang them together (like a gallery wall) to create a really polished and stylish look. If you can’t paint your walls, this is also a fantastic way to bring a ton of color into a room.

Decorate with Scarves
Image Via The French Tangerine

3. Display Something Unexpected

When I saw this picture, I didn’t initially know what these items were, but they definitely caught my eye. They are ceiling rosettes and typically have a chandelier or light fixture mounted from them. I looked them up online and they ranged in price from $9-25. Buy a variety of them in different shapes and styles and choose a color to paint them that will provide a nice accent to your furniture. Once dry, hang these much like you would a gallery wall.

Ceiling Rosettes
Image Via Apartment Therapy

4. Go Big and Bold With Washi Tape

I recently discovered washi tape and I think it is a renter’s best friend. This tape, which you can find at scrapbook stores or online, is colorful and comes in tons of patterns. It easily adheres to walls (and appliances if want to spruce those up, too!) and is super easy to remove. Create a bold pattern with washi tape to really set off a simple piece like a mirror. You can also use it to create faux frames for pictures, as well as impressive large-scale graphic designs on walls.

Decorate With Washi Tape
Image via The Borrowed Abode

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Make Your Own Masterpiece

Ultimately, you can’t be afraid to create your own artwork. You may not feel like an artist, but you know what you like in terms of colors and textures, so trust your instincts. If you’ve always had an eye for unique and vintage buttons, belt buckles or pressed flowers, take them out of a box and put them on display! You may not have spent a ton of money on your artwork, but it will be one-of-a-kind and a true expression of your style.

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About the author

Nadia Balint

Nadia Balint is a senior creative writer for RENTCafé. She covers news and trends in residential and commercial real estate and their impact on our everyday life, including rental housing, for-sale housing, real estate development, homeownership, market reports, insurance, landlord-tenant laws, personal finance, urban development, economy, sustainability, and social issues. Nadia holds a B.S. in Business Management from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. You can connect with Nadia via email.

Nadia’s work and expertise have been quoted by major national and local media outlets, including CNN, CNBC, CBS News, Curbed, The NY Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Denver Post as well as industry publications, such as GlobeSt, Bisnow, Inman News, Multifamily Executive, and The Commercial Real Estate Show. Nadia also wrote for Multi-Housing News, Commercial Property Executive, HubSpot, and more. Prior to entering the real estate industry, Nadia worked in the legal field, where she gained over 10 years of experience in business, corporate, and real estate law.

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