Whether you’re subletting, leasing, renting or buying – the place is yours. Even if you can’t install the built-in cabinet or break down that wall like you’ve always wanted, it doesn’t mean you can’t make the space feel more like home. As usual in design, the simple things can make the greatest impacts. From clutter to wallpaper to lighting, here are some sustainable tips to brighten up your home.
Invest in space savers
Eliminating clutter is the first step to redecorating. When items have their own “home,” keeping everything organized becomes ten times easier. Try finding these “homes” in hidden spaces, like under the couch. Another good place for storage (that’s often ignored) are the walls. When people brainstorm decorations, they think, “How much can we fit given the floor space?” Invest in tall floor-to-ceiling shelves, or wall shelves that waste no floor space at all! The key to space savers is multi-purpose. Having a box against the wall in your living room will not only be an eye sore, but a waste of space. However, having a boxy table with stylish storage units underneath is a perfect example for saving space.
Northern Wood Company – Mid Century Modern Side Table Set for the living or bedroom
Nest Pure – Organic Fabric Bin for under the bed, couch or in shelving units
Take care of your plants
Instead of splurging on fresh cut flowers every week, invest in a long term, low maintenance, potted plant. Succulents and banana leaf trees are both known for their low effort up keep – and beauty! Show your plants the love they deserve by splurging on the vases instead like recycled pottery and organic cement. There are countless studies on how plants can improve your quality of life – some even claiming to make your life longer!
Rough Fusion – Concrete Vase for indoor trees and low maintenance plants
Anson Design Company – Set of 4 Geometric Planters to sprinkle around the house
Bring in light without electricity
One of the most important aspects of ambience in your living space is lighting. Finding the balance between too dark and too bright can be difficult, especially if windows are not placed in your favor. Design your space around the windows you have to maximize the amount of light they let in. This will also allow you to use less electricity during the daytime, if the windows provide ample light. In terms of ambience, candles are a must for taking your home from nice to cozy. A scented candle near the entryway/front door, for example, is the perfect “welcome.”
Herbs + Oils Bath – Cedarwood + Sage Soy Wax Candle for a delicately scented entryway
Proper – Jasmine & Wet Stone Hand-Poured 45-Hour Soy Candle for long term use
Even if your landlord tells you the walls must be white when you leave… have some fun! If painting the whole apartment seems to labor intensive, or you simply don’t have the time, spend one day painting the teeny bathroom or the inside of your front door. A bright color in a small dose will have a huge impact on the space – and be a ton of fun! Options for DIY wallpaper, shelving, artwork and accents are truly endless – especially in the world of Pinterest.
We’ve curated some fab DIY ideas for home décor for your rented or owned space here.
Respect your art
Easily turn posters into art with a frame! Formally presenting posters and photographs always adds a nicer touch to what’s inside. Creating a gallery wall can be made simple by buying the same frames in bulk and arranging them in an organized fashion.
Or try buying a bunch of vintage frames for a mismatched look!
Phoebe is from San Francisco, California and has lived in Manhattan for a year. She is studying Strategic Design & Management at Parsons School of Design, in her second year of their Bachelor of Business Administration program. When she’s not working on EcoHabitude’s blog or social media platforms, she loves to explore New York City rooftops, upcycle her clothes and learn new languages.
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