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New Renter? Decorate Your New Home on a Budget!
By Kathy Wilson

Perhaps you are just starting out in your first apartment rental home, or are starting over again and you don't know how to begin decorating your new place? Here are some easy, inexpensive, landlord friendly ideas for making a space your own!

Choose a feeling you want in your apartment or rental home.
Since apartments and rentals tend to be smaller spaces, choosing a set of feelings as a theme to cover the whole space can both visually enlarge the space, and make the job much less complicated. Want a relaxed, calming atmosphere to unwind in? Choose neutrals or cool colors such as blues and greens. Want to express your colorful personality? Try using bright, energetic color combinations.

If you are in need of furniture, check out yard sales, classified ads, and even thrift shops to save yourself big bucks.
Keep your choices to simple pieces that will blend with any décor, in the case of a move or a change of taste. You can make a simple platform bed with concrete cinder clocks and ¾ inch plywood or mdf board. Futon mattresses are less expensive then regular mattresses, and can offer good firm support.


Add Some Personality.
Now that you have a few pieces of furniture and have chosen your color scheme to represent the feeling of the room, its time to add some personality! Throw pillows and throw blankets add color and charm, warm up the room, and disguise imperfect furniture.

Most renters can't paint the walls, so add color in creative ways.
Pick up a collection of dollar store frames, spray paint them black for sophistication, then frame unusual things such as pretty pieces of fabric, cd covers, soup can labels, or even sheet music! Pick something you love, then display them as a grouping on the wall.

Don't be afraid to paint that old furniture your Aunt Rose gave you.
(Unless its an heirloom, of course!) Anything can be painted these days, even cheap laminate bookcases. Clean the piece well, sand lightly, then prime with a specialty primer such as KILZ Original. Now simply paint the piece with regular semi gloss house paint! You can add stenciling or stamps to give it a custom feel. Paint all the furniture one color to tie it together and make the room seem larger, or feel free to experiment and paint all the dining chairs a different color. (Remember "Friends"?)

Just because it's a rental doesn't mean it can't be home.
Add your own stamp to each and every room giving it personality. Bring out those family photos, use that rug you made in the third grade as a seat cushion, or hang your Grandmothers costume jewelry from your chandelier. Use creativity, and learn to use your home to express yourself.

Kathy Wilson is the editor of TheBudgetDecorator.com . Visit her site now for thousands of free budget home decorating ideas and to sign up for her free newsletter.

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