Hi, Kevin O’Gara from Thou Swell here. I’m an interior design student and blogger who loves chic, high-impact decorating projects and I’ve tackled quite a few rental spaces too.
When you’re renting your first apartment (or your fifth), you may not have the budget to invest in high-end furniture. While this may seem like a setback for your decorating schemes, don’t worry — it’s easier than ever to take inexpensive pieces and transform them into super chic designs with simple do-it-yourself techniques. I love seeing the creativity designers and bloggers use to upgrade furniture on a budget, so I’ve compiled some of my favorite projects here that you can try out in your rental pad. See what you'd like to recreate, or let these makeovers inspire your own original project!
Image: Auguste & Claire
This dresser got an upgrade with an easy DIY pattern cut onto the drawer fronts, copper pulls, and a new coat of paint. The piece was made even more interesting with the contrast between the white drawers and the unpainted top and bottom of the dresser.
Image: Trovare Design
Wallpaper may not be allowed to grace the walls of your apartment, but you can easily transform a bookcase or other storage piece by placing the wallpaper behind the shelves. It will instantly give the piece more depth and a luxe finish.
Image: Thou Swell
A bookshelf can also be transformed by simply elevating it on a pair of legs. This project uses mid-century style angled legs to give the storage piece a retro look. The inside was also painted blue for another custom detail!
Image: Hunted Interior
You’ll want to keep a gold spray paint bottle handy because it’s hands-down one of the easiest tricks in the book for getting that metallic look with just a few extra bucks — like this set of nesting tables that went from black to glam with a simple spray paint makeover.
Image: Thou Swell
You might be surprised at what you can accomplish with fabric, foam, and a staple gun. These cafe chairs were picked up at a flea market and suddenly became custom designs with new seats. When it’s a simple upgrade of the seat cushion, DIY upholstery is definitely do-able!
Image: Paige Jones
Sometimes all it takes is a bold color (and maybe some pretty brass handles) to bring a piece to life. The color green on this dresser instantly makes it a stunning piece in the room. You would never believe it was a DIY upgrade!
Image: Sugar & Cloth
If you love to entertain, you’ll love this furniture hack! Casters below and handles above turn these simple square cubbies into a chic bar cart for holding all your entertaining needs. Sometimes all it takes is the right hardware!
I hope these approachable DIY furniture projects inspire you to upgrade your own pieces to transform your decor!