Does your landlord have one of those pesky ‘no nails’ policies? Or maybe you live in an old, character-filled house … which brick walls or old plaster you can’t puncture.
No matter your situation, Thalita of The Learner Observer is here to help with piles of great design ideas that don’t involve nails, screws, or crumbling walls.
Do you want to live in a cozy, interesting space that feels like your own? Of course you do!
But it’s pretty hard to do that when your landlord won’t let you put nails in the wall to hang things. Well, fret no more because I’m sharing the internet’s bestest with you today to help you hang artwork without causing any kind of damage to your walls!
4 ‘No Nails’ Decor Ideas
Yes, it’s a completely overused and officially, just about everyone is sick of hearing the word “washi”, but that doesn’t take away its sheer awesomeness. After all, you can use to hang your art and make super cheap frames while you’re at it!
You can mix and match, and if you ever get sick of one of your ‘frames,’ just peel the tape back and try another!
And if you’re thinking “great, but I don’t have anything I can tape up to my walls”, then worry not. Just go ahead and make your own art out of the tape itself!
If you don’t happen to be as artistic as the genius who created these cranes, then how about a full tutorial for you?
Another invention from the renting gods for us. If you’ve never tried these, they actually work, you guys. For real. You have to use them properly – meaning put the corresponding side on the wall, and when you go to remove, pull on the tab, keeping it as close to the wall as possible. No damage. Perfection! Kind of a great way to hang light artwork, like old maps – all while saving on frames!
And if you want to use Command hooks, not just the strips, you can hang frames without losing any sleep over the potential havoc being mad eon your walls. There will be no havoc.
If none of these options really seem that appealing to you and you’re looking for big, huge impact, well then find yourself some big art and just lean it on up – against the walls!
Large frames are not that hard to come by – have you EVER been to Ikea? So this is a cool and unusual way to showcase your artwork.
It doesn’t even have to be all that big – just think outside the box and remember that not all of your artwork has to be hanging neatly on the walls!
Yes, that’s the scientific term. Seriously, though, go back to your good ol’ dorm days and start making little balls of sticky tack to put on the back of your…. photos! Yes, that’s right. JUST like in College! Except… way cooler…
Get really grown up about it and put it above your mantle. I mean, what’s more grown up than a big, impressive piece of art above your mantle?
And if that’s not impressive enough, make your own wallpaper and scare the bejeezus out of your landlord!
And there you have it. Now you have no excuse to have bare walls, and your landlord has no excuse to yell at you! It’s a major win-win.
How have you guys worked around a no-nail policy? I’d love to hear your tips in the comments!
In a perfect world, we’d all know how to rewire lamps and landlords would have moved past those terrible, 70s light fixtures. But I’m not yet an electrician and it’s probably wishful thinking to trust our landlords to make our design decisions.
Today, our girl Thalita is sharing ideas on how to make lighting a little less painful for all you renters out there. I know it can feel a little hopeless when you’re at the mercy of either poor lighting or terrible fixtures!
This is where we see the ever lovely “boob” lights. The absolute worst. Luckily, there are ways to cover them up!
First, you can make a drum shade which can easily be placed over the original fixture. No need to get too fancy here, you can use some simple embroidery hoops and a few hooks in the ceiling (perhaps even Command hooks if you’re blessed with flat ceilings and none of the yucky popcorn stuff!).
If you want to get a little more fancy, you can make yourself a faux capiz shell chandelier using wax paper and a sewing machine. That’s right… it can be that simple! This would be time consuming, but so beautiful, and you can also place this over an existing fixture, which is a bonus!
Bonus with these two options: they’re lightweight, they can be made at home, and they can be placed over an existing (perhaps ugly) fixture, so you don’t have to worry about uninstalling and re-installing any original lights!
It’s important to have task lights, my friends, for obvious reasons: you need light for performing important tasks, such as eating ice cream in the middle of the night, so as not to spill any.
A useful, inexpensive and easy DIY option is to use a shelf bracket to attach a simple pendant light to, like this one.
If DIY isn’t your thing, IKEA happens to have the dreamiest, most fantastic line of lighting called RANARP, and the smallest task light fixture can either be attached to the wall or simply clipped on to a shelving unit. I’m totally biased on this one because I happen to have them in my own bedroom.
Now for the FUN lighting! Yes, there’s such a thing. Don’t be afraid to add string lights to your space. I promise you it doesn’t have to look like your dorm room back in college or like Christmas decided to stay all year. There are so many ways to use these little but mighty lights, and with a little creativity you can create a lovely and soft atmosphere in any space.
Now, if you want to get your crafty, handy DIY on, this is the project for you. You could make your own marquee light, which would not only provide some seriously cool lighting, but would also impress the hell out of your friends!
Right? Pretty awesome.
So there you have it, both DIY and store-bought ways you can improve any sad lighting in your apartment. And it should also be noted that you should have all three types of lighting I’ve given you here. You especially want them in common areas like a living room! Even if you don’t need to replace any of your lighting, think about incorporating different types into your home.
Do you have bad lighting in your space? Share your best tricks for coping in the comments!
Looking for small bedroom storage ideas? You’re in the right place! If you live in an apartment or an adorable older home with small rooms and tiny closets, lean in closer for great small-space tips from Thalita!
Hello friends! I’m so excited to share this month’s DIY post with you because I know it’s something many of you are personally struggling with. I have the same problem – little to no closet space!
I’ve lived in apartments with such small closets it almost brought tears to my eyes, but I have a few smart solutions for you, and some of them are even pretty!
Small bedroom storage idea 1: Use your doors
The inside of the closet door is prime storage real estate! It may not look like much, but think of it as a hidden wall you can hang things on. Don’t forget about using the back of your actual bedroom door, too! If you rent, don’t worry about the possibility of making holes; you always have over-the-door hooks and Command strips.
You can even use the inside of your door for makeup, jewelry, and small accessories storage. I love the use of hooks to hang shoes as well. How genius is that?!?
Small bedroom storage idea 2: rearrange your rods and shelving
If you’re a little handy (or know someone who is), consider moving some of the rods in your closet. I have certainly been the victim of poorly-planned closets and when I asked the landlord if I could move things around to make it better, he gave me the green light. I know not everyone will be so lucky, but it’s worth a shot!(Sarah’s note: I’m fan of asking for forgiveness rather than permission in this case. Or you can just return the rods to their original position before you move out!)
Inexpensive shelving or an extra rod can make a huge difference. You don’t even need holes for that – all you need is a rod and some rope. You could replicate the picture below, hanging on the existing rod in your closet. Of course, make sure the initial rod has plenty of reinforcement before you hang a second rod from it.
Small bedroom storage idea 3: r Recycle, Reduce, Reuse!
Think outside the box (or inside, in some cases) and use what’s around you for storage. This example uses a wine box for shoes. You can hide these away under your bed and you have a drawer of shoes to pull out instead of just a box you have to dig through!
Pop tabs in your closet? Why, yes! You can buy little pieces to fit on your hanger from most home organization stores, but why not make your own for free? These will work on just about any hanger, and trust me when I say that they DO make a difference!
Did your shower curtain come with some cheap clips? Don’t throw them out; use them for scarf storage either on a hanger or a rod. This would also be great for belts!
Small bedroom storage idea 4: d Don’t be afraid of exposed storage
It may be a bit scary to think of your clothes all out on display (especially if you’re in a studio apartment), but we all have pretty clothes that we wouldn’t mind letting the world see, so consider exposed storage for these items and leave your painting jeans behind closed doors!
And if you’re not that handy, take a cue from Blush Shop and use an old hotel bellhops. I’ve seen these for sale on Craigslist and they’re never too expensive. With gold and brass making a comeback, you’ll have the most stylish clothing storage on the block! Truth: I totally want one for myself.
Small bedroom storage idea 5: u Use all kinds of containers
We talked about this in a small galley kitchen and it’s just as applicable in a small bedroom or anywhere lacking storage space. Wire baskets can be used to hold all the items you can never figure out how to store: clutches, gloves, hats. And you’ll be able to see them and therefore actually use them!
Boxes are great for two reasons: you can hide things in them, and when stacked, they can even become extra tables! Another bonus, they don’t have to cost a lot! Try taking a simple white IKEA box and using some electrical tape to make it stylish. Shoe boxes can also get a great makeover this way, then you can leave them out on your fabulous bellhop!
Double-duty items are always a bonus. A wine rack used to hold clutches? Into it.
How is this for storage inspiration? I hope you’ll be able to look around your home and reinvent a few things into storage possibilities!
What are your best storage secrets? Share them in the comments!
This is guest post come from our DIY/design contributor Thalita ofThe Learner Observer! Thalita writes about easy, cheap ways we can all make our small, rental spaces even cuter. Follow along with her on Twitter or Instagram!
There are many styles of kitchens out there, but it seems that in small spaces and apartments one is certainly most popular: the galley kitchen.
You know what I’m talking about: the kitchen that’s essentially a hallway with countertops and cupboards on either side? Yeah, I have one of those, too! But it really is possible to live with a galley kitchen, make it look great and, dare I say, love it!
Here are my five favorite ways to make your galley kitchen feel bigger
1. Lighten up (with white or lighting)
Speaking of bright, that’s another important aspect to this kitchen style, which normally boasts a window above the sink or at the end of the kitchen. Lighting in this style of kitchen will help the space feel bigger – always a bonus!
To help, try adding some lighting under the cabinets, too! These lights are available at most hardware stores and you can even get battery-operated ones.
What’s brighter than white? Well, probably nothing, so consider using as much of it in your kitchen as possible as the light will bounce off of the white surfaces, again, creating the illusion of a bigger space!
Oh, and if painting your cupboards isn’t an option, check out some of the renter-friendly solutions I shared with you last month, which involved using contact paper!
2. Open up your shelving
Open shelving can look so chic – particularly if you fill with beautiful, carefully chosen items (save the tupperware for the lower cupboards.) You can open your shelving two ways: replace your cupboards with interesting shelves, or simply remove your cupboard doors!
If removing cupboards or doors are not an option but you’re lucky enough to have a free wall at the end of your kitchen, add some shelving there. Honestly, any available space in our kitchen is prime shelving real estate!
Any kind of open storage is helpful in a galley kitchen, so think outside the box and try something other than just shelving. Metal racks, hooks, pegboards – all of these are great options for adding storage that doesn’t take up a lot of space and that you can take with you if/when you leave!Of course, our beloved Ikea has tons of space-saving shelving and hook options for you. Those Europeans know what’s up!
3. Add patterns to the walls
If plain walls aren’t your thing, then perhaps injecting a pattern or two into your space is the answer! Wallpaper (or even just good ol’ paint) might do the trick. I think this print would be great on a kitchen accent wall.
4. Dress up that (super narrow) floor
Just because you don’t have much square footage, doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of it.
Too bold? Ok let’s go with something a little simpler, maybe? A smaller pattern?
Kind of a dreamy kitchen, right? Trust me, I don’t have floors that bright and shiny either. What I do have, however, is a bold, patterned rug that gives me the feeling of having cool looking tiles instead! Isn’t this runner classy?
5. Fancy up your walls and windows
For even more colour, pattern and renter-friendly solutions, pair that patterned rug with a large piece of art in your kitchen (I’m partial to this vintage nautical print.) It’ll make it feel way less like a hallway with a kitchen in it, and more like a super sophisticated and grown up space!
If your kitchen is like mine and has a window at the end of it, try a bold roman shade instead for the same effect. (This one is cute.)
Let’s go over the main points one more time:
Light it up! Have as many lights as possible and remember that white is your friend.
Open shelving and storage will open up your space.
Patterned walls and/or flooring (or rugs) for an optical illusion.
Large artwork or interesting window coverings give the eye a place to rest – and it’s not on your dirty dishes!
Do you have a tiny, galley kitchen? How have you made yours livable? Tell us in the comments!
This is the first guest post from our new DIY/design contributor Thalita of The Learner Observer! Thalita will be writing about easy, cheap ways we can all make our small, rental spaces even cuter. Follow along with her on Twitter or Instagram!
As any renter will tell you, it’s nearly impossible to find a place that meets the criteria of your “dream apartment” while sticking to your budget.
Unless you’re a Rockefeller, you’ve probably had to make a few compromises and live with a few less-than-stellar features that are impossible to change.
Painting the walls? Easy.
Covering up some not-so-great flooring with rugs? Easy.
Disguising hideous kitchen cupboards? Hard! Or is it? This too can be an easy and reversible fix, friends!
Cover cupboard doors with contact paper
With contact paper regaining some momentum and becoming a popular material for DIY’ers, there is a slew of inspiration out there from fellow renters who have discovered genius ways to cover up their less-than-attractive cupboards.
The great thing about this new generation of contact papers is that they tend to be super easy to remove, but will stay put until you decide to pull them off. Win-win for the renters of the world, right? I love this marble-looking contact paper, this chalkboard contact paper, and this neutral polka-dot contact paper.
Panyl makes covers for IKEA furniture (also very renter-friend, am I right?) and that includes their cupboards. You can now completely customize your cupboards to be as colourful (colourless) as you want!
If you’re creative, or know someone who is, why not try creating a completely custom design for your kitchen? I love this woodsy theme!
If you’re ok with the cupboard doors but want to inject a punch of colour into your kitchen, Joy Cho’s studio has some great inspiration. The toekick is made entirely using contact paper! The shelving on top is also pretty spectacular – more on that in a bit!
If you’re brave enough to fill your space with pattern check out this kitchen makeover using Isaac Mizrahi contact paper! Yep… there’s such a thing as designer contact paper!
Add some open shelving where cupboards are lacking
Remember Joy Cho’s studio up there? That kind of open shelving can be a great option for those of us who lack storage in the kitchen. Find a wall with no upper cabinets and add your own stylish storage!
Remove your cupboard doors for open shelving
Just get rid of the doors! By removing the doors, you create openness in the kitchen, a better flow, a more modern look and a place to show off all of your prettiest dishes! Just remember to keep all of the hardware and the doors themselves!
You can even add some wallpaper, fabric or wrapping paper to the backs of the cupboards to spruce them up. This one has some grasscloth in the back, which gives the kitchen warmth and texture!
And while you’re at it, why not use the ever-popular washi tape to your advantage too? It’s easy to apply and remove, and you can switch out colours and designs as often as you wish! This set of washi tape particularly lends itself to shelf-edging!
Hardware is jewelry for your doors!
My last piece of advice to you is to remember that hardware is important! After you’ve taken care of what you want the doors (or lack thereof) to look like, remember that the knobs and pulls make a big impact, too! Here is some inspiration for you, in a wide price range from $5.99-$49!
I hope this provides you some inspiration for your very own rental kitchen! Remember you don’t have to settle for someone else’s taste – you can always bring in a touch of your own personality and change things up!
These blue and white ceramic knobs would be great in a farmhouse kitchen and these matte black knobs could modernize rental cupboards.
What’s your kitchen situation like? Share your best rental-improving tips in the comments!
While I love a warm, well-decorated home I am so really lazy.Or, more accurately, I hate storing things I only use once a year.
I don’t want Christmas wreaths monopolizing valuable closet space that might be better used to house my collection of cat costumes and/or riding boots.But I also think it’s really lovely to add a bit of cheer to my home around the holidays.But I hate those red and green Rubbermaid containers. A rock and a hard place, amiright? As such, I’ve put together some lovely ideas for those of us who are (marginally) festive, but don’t want to store holiday decorations. Or maybe (like me) you’re just lazy.
Links to original sources embedded in photos
Or, you could just buy this ornament and hang it on a stick you found in the parking lot.
Do you decorate for the holidays? Have any easy ideas you can share with us?