Creative ways to decorate your shared apartment without spending much money

It’s been proven that interior design can affect our mood and emotions, so there’s no doubt that living in a nice environment can have a positive impact on our day-to-day lives. However, decorating a flat can quickly become an expensive endeavour. It all starts with buying a cute coffee table, which quickly turns into wanting some candles, a rug and artwork to complement said coffee table.

Luckily, there are some ways to make your place feel like home without breaking the bank. With creative do-it-yourself projects, you can decorate your shared flat without spending too much. Whether it’s repurposing things you already have at home, or upcycling second-hand items, there are loads of ways that you can give your flat a homey feel and personal touch. DIY projects give you the opportunity to completely personalise your space and they’re super rewarding – you’ll have the added satisfaction of knowing that you’ve made it yourself.

When planning DIY projects, you should only refurbish items that belong to you. If you live in a furnished flat, you should always present the project to your landlord beforehand and ask for their permission. This also applies to making more permanent alterations to the flat, such as painting walls. Have a chat with your landlord first, and establish some clear rules about what changes you are allowed to make in the house. The same goes if you live in a flatshare and want to make some changes to the common areas of the flat – have a conversation with your flatmates to make sure they are onboard. Who knows, they might even want to help out and bring up new ideas for improvements.

Once you’ve made sure that everyone is on the same page, it’s time to get started. We’ve compiled our favourite ideas for crafty projects below. Get inspired, get creative and spruce up your shared flat!

Revitalize your old furniture 

A statement piece of furniture can instantly upgrade the look of a room. Unfortunately, a snazzy piece with a lot of character can cost a pretty penny. Why not upgrade your own furniture instead? In addition to saving money, restoring rather than replacing furniture is in line with sustainable living practices.

You can easily revamp an old side table, chest of drawers or desk to give any room a completely new look. If you’re looking for a specific piece of furniture that you don’t already own, try finding a second-hand item, and customise it to your own taste. It’s crazy how a paint job and hardware change can take an old dresser from outdated to contemporary in just a few steps. For a striking piece of furniture that will stand out in your decor, switch the paint for colourful wallpaper. A wallpaper DIY makeover can give any piece of furniture an upscale look.

DIY home decor: Revamp your dresser with some colourful wallpaper
Photo: www.athomeinlove.com

Looking to elevate the look of your bedroom? An eye-catching headboard will do the trick. There are loads of handmade headboard tutorials out there, but we especially like the rustic-chic look of this salvaged wood headboard, which can be achieved by nailing reclaimed wood panels together and placing them behind the bed. If you’re going for a sleeker look, you can upcycle an old door to create an elegant headboard. For those of us who like the idea, but don’t have an old door lying around, you can still give your headboard a faux-wood feel without having to go on a wild goose chase for a reclaimed door. Simply paint and frame four doormats, nailing them together. Place the frame behind your bed, and voila – your DIY doormat headboard is ready.

DIY headboard
Photo: www.thespruce.com

Build one-of-a-kind storage compartments

Rental flats tend to have minimal storage space, which can lead to your flat looking constantly cluttered despite your best intentions. Living in a messy place due to lack of storage space is frustrating, but getting creative with your storage solutions could be the answer to your problem. If you’re looking to elevate your flat with storage that doubles up as decor, we’ve found some nifty project ideas for you.

For a creative open-shelf concept, refurbish a ladder to make a trendy storage space. Simply use a wooden folding ladder, open it and secure shelving on each step. The open concept of this shelf is perfect to store items that add a decorative touch to the room, such as books, plants or neatly organised artifacts. For concealed storage, add wicker baskets on each step, or make your own crochet baskets.

DIY ladder shelf
Photo: www.collectivegen.com

For the budding musician, a unique guitar shelf will be the perfect addition to any room. This project is ideal for anyone who wants to give new life to an unusable guitar laying around their flat. As this isn’t the case for most of us, you can find second-hand guitars for a bargain online or in markets if you’d like to create this shelf. Use colourful paint or fairy lights to add a nice personal touch.

DIY guitar shelf
Photo: www.barfussimnovember.com

Accessorize with handmade items 

Accessories are an easy way to freshen up a room and personalise it. Lighting, mirrors, artwork – these decorative items can totally transform the look of your space. Plus, if you live in a furnished flat and don’t have much flexibility in revamping the furniture or making more permanent alterations, adding accessories can be the perfect alternative to make your flat feel like home.

Perhaps the easiest way to decorate a rented flat, plants add life to any room. You can buy them in local garden centres, in flower markets, or online. If bought separately, plant pots can sometimes be expensive, but no worries here – we’ve got some great ideas for stylish plant pots that you can make yourself. There are a lot of creative ways to reuse items that you already have at home, such as bottles, cans or bricks. If you’re looking to build something a bit different, an arrangement of hanging plants instantly brightens up a room and gives it a positive vibe. Hanging plants are also a great solution if you don’t have a huge space to work with – these won’t use up any of your precious floor space.

DIY hanging planters
Photo: www.almostmakesperfect.com

Another trick to help with small spaces is adding mirrors. Mirrors create an illusion of depth and space, making a small room appear bigger. A stylish mirror can also be a great decorative element. If you have a round mirror, or find a second-hand one, we love the looks of this rustic rope mirror and this creative stick frame mirror.

Last but not least, you can give a pop of colour to your space with new cushions. Cushions and pillows are a quick and easy way to completely transform the look of a room. With a bit of creativity, these can help renew the look of your flat without spending too much time or money. There are some super straightforward cushion cover tutorials out there. Simply choose your colour palette, pick fabrics you like, and get sewing. For eye-catching cushions, use different fabrics, or add pom-poms and tassels. Don’t have sewing skills or fabric? You can create fun cushion covers with t-shirts. These designs have absolutely no stitching involved, so anyone can make them.

DIY cushion cover with pom-poms and tessles
Photo: www.dovecottageblog.com

We hope that these DIY projects inspire you, and that they’ll help make your rented flat feel like home. Select your favourite ideas and get started on your flat makeover!