You don't have to have money for your apartment to look like you have taste. It helps, but it's not required. Buying a few basics and dressing them up with a trusty Sharpie can go a long to way toward filling your apartment with items that are uniquely yours on a small budget.
Here are five easy permanent marker projects you can tackle in an hour or less:
1. Make your own holiday lights. Looking to make your place look festive for the holidays? Try this trick from Ideas magazine to use a Sharpie to draw a themed pattern on a lightbulb. It's an easy way to have a big impact for a low price.
2. Revamp a rug. Basic sisal rugs offer a lot more bang for your area-rug buck than traditional wool, but they're also fairly plain. At A Nest for All Seasons, a slightly stained dumpster-dive find was transformed into a funky patterned focal point with a little planning and a lot of Sharpie.
Just plan your design on paper first, then plot it on the rug with a little painter's tape to keep things in line.
3. Class up old chairs. Fur comes with too fancy a price tag for many renters' budgets, but at Little Green Notebook, you can find two tutorials that walk you through using Sharpie to dress up vinyl seats and canvas slipcovers to get a high-end animal pattern for the price of a black marker.
4. Make your mugs match. Dollar Store mugs are dirt cheap. The only problem is, they look it. Try this trick from Living Well Spending Less to customize your mugs with oil-based paint Sharpie so you can have a matching set, or economical gifts for the holidays.
5. Fancy-up your throw pillows. Tired of your old throw pillows? Use muslin to sew simple slip covers (see your seventh grade Home Ec teacher for instructions) and then follow Radical Possibility's cool DIY to combine colorful Sharpie and rubbing alcohol to create watercolor-like designs.
*Tip from Radical Possibility: If you're dipping one of the covers in rubbing alcohol to get the saturated effect she creates, do it in a bucket rather than your bathtub to avoid dying your porcelain in the process.