DIY apartment makeover for college students

I’ve rented enough apartments and flats to know that if it’s not yours to own, you can’t — and don’t want to — put too much money into improving it. But, there are some ways that you can update that space without too much fuss.

Spruce up your apartment with a mini makeover. (Credit: DIY Homegirl)

Spruce up your apartment with a mini makeover. (Credit: DIY Homegirl)

Read on for some DIY apartment makeover tips that even those with the least experience can handle!

Where to begin

(Credit: Better Homes and Gardens)

(Credit: Better Homes and Gardens)

Survey the space you have and determine what could be added that would really enhance your quality of living. Sure, a pool table in the basement would be great, but can you successfully get it down the stairs without breaking the doorways, or worse, your bank account, to make it worth it? Some slightly easier/cheaper ideas that come to mind:

  • Pantry storage space
  • Bike racks in the garage/shed/basement
  • Storage for kitchen appliances
  • Bathroom cabinets 

Searching on Pinterest for DIY apartment makeovers is a good place to start.

  • For improved pantry storage space: Don’t have a walk-in closet for extra dry goods storage? Why not use the basement or laundry room instead? Check out Home Depot or local garage sales for wire/plastic shelving sturdy enough for food items.
  • Garage/shed storage ideas: From hanging your bikes and tools to stocking up on plastic bins, these Pinterest boards have a ton of great ideas depending on your space.

Pro tip: Determine what kind of walls you have before you begin knocking into them. Plaster walls, often found in older buildings (WWII-era and before), are much more difficult to nail into than dry wall. I’ve found (through trial and error) that unless you have a decent drill and a diamond bit tip, going with the 3M Velcro and hook picture hangers is your best bet. Amazon sells all the different varieties. An added bonus is that you won’t have to fill in any holes when you’re moving out.

Apartment makeover on a budget

(Credit: ForRent.com)

(Credit: ForRent.com)

Angie Holden’s September 26, 2014, post “5 College Student Apartment Tips and Hacks” for ForRent.com’s blog Apartment Living, offers up some great ideas on where to begin when decorating and fixing up your new space. Holden suggests:

  • Think outside the box: Gather pieces that aren’t necessarily considered furniture. Wooden crates, vintage luggage and pallets can be used as tables or bookshelves.
  • Looking for unique seating options: Daybeds/futons, beanbags/seating cushions that can easily accommodate several friends over on a study night.
  • Thrift store shopping for larger pieces: dressers, end tables, etc. that can be spray painted to match other furniture in your apartment.

Holden also recommends getting small ottomans that can serve not only as seats but as tables and extra storage for blankets and pillows.

Why didn’t I think of that?

(Credit: Blindster blog)

(Credit: Blindster blog)

When you’re living with roommates, keeping your stuff organized and out of each other’s way can be difficult. Some ideas that can help limit the arguments later down the road:

  • Assign a few cabinets in the kitchen to each roomie to store her stuff. The fridge can be a bit trickier, but if you can agree on communal items (butter, juice, deli meat) you can share the cost and save the fridge space.
  • Hang a shoe organizer on the inside of the hallway closet door to organize bath and cleaning products. This makes it easier to keep track of supplies, replacing when you run out.
  • If you’re lucky enough to live by an IKEA, swing by and pick up some of these wire racks that are mounted on your walls for extra storage in the kitchen or your bedrooms. IKEAHackers.net has a lot of great ways to use IKEA pieces to make your life much easier.
  • If you want to add some color to your walls but painting isn’t an option (let’s face it, it’s annoying, time consuming and can be expensive), why not make over your apartment walls with one of these wall decals on Etsy? Ranging in price from $6-$185, you’ll be able to find something for everyone’s tastes.

Do you have any apartment makeover tips to share? Post your favorite websites and ideas below!

2 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *