12 DIY Ideas to Beautify Your First Apartment

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Shelving, a bedroom and a living room.
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After you've signed the lease and gotten the keys to your first apartment, the truly exciting part can begin: decorating your new space. But if you feel like you can only eat ramen after paying the security deposit, then you probably also feel that stylish furniture and accessories are out of your budget. That's not true! Here are 12 realistic DIY ideas to make your apartment feel like home.

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Know your room layout.
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Know Your Room Layout

There are greater disappointments than buying or making a piece of furniture you love and realizing it doesn't fit in the space you have. Do some prep work first: get graph paper, a pencil and measuring tape to sketch your room layout and decide what pieces will work.

Curated bookshelves.
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Make Over Your Bookshelf

One of the hottest trends in home decorating right now are curated bookshelves. If you have a smaller apartment, this is a great way to have your storage spaces do double-duty. Use books you already have and mix in your travel trinkets, photo frames and knickknacks. Don't be afraid to play with height and dimension!

How to paint an interior brick wall.
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Become a Painting Pro

If your building supervisor says painting is O.K., a fresh coat on the wall is an easy way to make the apartment feel brand new — especially if you have an exposed brick fireplace. Read up on how to paint an interior brick wall before you get started.

Painted kitchen table.
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Refresh the Kitchen Table

For a budget-friendly furniture project, buy a cheap table from Craigslist or the local flea market. On your way home, pick up a can of bright paint and sandpaper. Spend a Saturday giving the table some love, and you'll have a new-to-you kitchen table. When your friends come to your housewarming party, they won't believe that the table cost you next to nothing.

Kilim rug bench.
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Take a Seat on a Rug Bench

With your first apartment comes the freedom to invite friends over, so you're probably going to need some extra seating. Build a bench out of a kilim rug, hairpin legs, particle board and upholstery foam. When your company goes home, you can slide it to the foot of your bed

Side table.
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A Side Table for Extra Space

For an apartment in need of some extra surface space, schedule some weekend time to build this side table. This table is perfect if you're going for a modern and minimalist look in your living area or bedroom.

Drop cloth rug.
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A Drop It Like It’s Hot Cloth Rug

Once you're set on your furniture, you can start making chic home accessories. Make an area rug out of a drop cloth before your next kickback, and everyone will want to be over at your crib.

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Let Your Pillow Talk

Here's a pillow that will have your friends talking when they swing by for dinner and drinks. If you're feeling ambitious, you can scour your inspirational words Pinterest board and use a graphic with a thick cursive font as another template.

How to install a wall sconce.
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Lighten Up with Sconces

If you have a lot of freedom with your improvement projects, you can try wall sconces for small wall nooks or flanking furniture. Read up on how to install them with this guide.

Marble table lamp.
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Marvel at a Marble Table Lamp

A lot of apartments come with boring light fixtures you can't replace, but you can remedy your lighting problem with marble table lamps. Pro tip: Make a pair at the same time. You'll be glad to have two when you're styling a long sideboard or a pair of end tables.


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