My roommate and I recently decided that if we’re going to live in our apartment for another year, we better decorate it. Yeah, we had lived here for a year, and there was still nothing on the walls except the below “Fuck Trump” decree leftover from the day after the election.
Let’s clarify, I am garbage and could not have cared less how much or how little stuff was on the wall. I did win the argument and my lazily resistant streamers will remain up until we have a new president. But happy wife, happy life, and I try to be a good husband to my roommate.
Here is a list of things I learned while trying to decorate my apartment on a very cheap budget:
- I do not know how to paint stuff. After I semi-successfully repainted the shitty laminate side table we got for free with the apartment, I, full of hubris, boldly set forth to paint the shitty laminate dresser we got for free with the apartment. The results:
Yeah, it looks fine from the front, and if you are welcome in my bedroom, you’re also welcome to kiss my ass if you have any comments about my dresser.
- Stuff at thrift stores is yucky sometimes. Here is some nice white art in its just-purchased state:
Does it still look like that because I’m lazy? No way to know.
- *ART IS EVERYWHERE* I hope that sentence comes across pretentiously in writing, too. In this case it’s true, though. The art supplies store by my work has very cheap “wrapping paper” that also functions as “decor.” The things you see hanging on my wall were all either free or under $4.
- The uglier the art in a picture frame at the thrift store, the cheaper the nice fancy frame will be. See that map of Chicago hanging above? Yeah, the frame it’s in was intended to house a hideous watercolor scene until the end of time. After a lot of smashing, I put the garden scene out of its misery and was able to save the frame from untimely death. Don’t waste those resources, yo. Also, all those frames were under $10, and that’s big city thrift store prices.
- Your uncle might have cool pictures of flowers you could hang up.
- Used doorknobs are the same price as new doorknobs. Fuck me, right?
- There are signs at Home Depot. If you do not read them, you will spend a long time at Home Depot. That’s all.
- If you buy a throw pillow on Craigslist, which you should, make sure bring enough tissues so there’s not snot on your hands when you have to shake hands with the previous pillow owner. In unrelated news, I bought this unused Crate and Barrel pillow off Craigslist for $5 (like literal $50 value):
So, even those these things I learned may be specific to me, my point is this: You can make basically any space livable with a little thought and effort. Don’t chop down a tree and build a new dresser, just spend $10 on paint or knobs and make your old ugly dresser into something that makes you happy. People in sweatshops across the globe already have their hands full making throw pillows, so try and buy one from a rich lady who changed her mind about it so it doesn’t go to waste.
And the best part of living that way is that it’s impossible to spend too much money. Save your money and those sweatshop tears for things that are really important to you, which, for 99% percent of us probably does not include wall decor and fancy pillows. I cannot buy a vegan and cruelty-free iPhone, but I really, really, really like having one, so a used throw pillow will have to do.
Pro-tips: Hang stuff with 57’’ as the height at the center of the piece or group of pieces. It looks nice and is how professional people hang stuff. Then, use an image editing software (for free like GIMP) to map out your room and your wall to preview what stuff will look like before you hang it.