28 DIYs You Need for Home Decor

May is here and that means it’s time for graduation, moving on and possibly moving into your first apartment. As a recent grad (congrats, Huskies 2015!), I picked up my stuff, moved across the country and started a job at Brit + Co (ahem, we are hiring!). It was a bit intimidating but also exciting, with new friends, new activities and a new city to explore. And thanks tosocial media, Snapchat and Skype, my besties are never far from my side.

So, caps in the air, bags packed — now it’s time to become an adult. Wait, what?! How do I do that? In the past few months I’ve been trying to wrap my mind around many adult responsibilities. Like taxes. How do I do them? And a 401K plan — shouldn’t I pay off my student loans first?! What’s the deal with health insurance? Put my options in a hat and pick one out? Even though I haven’t mastered these affairs yet, there is one thing I am good at — DIY. The best way to get comfortable in a new city is to make your house feel like home. In this apartment 101 guide, I’ll walk you through the basic steps to setting up a home of your own.

Did we mention student loans? Yup! All of these DIY projects can be done on the cheap. We’ve included price ranges to help you gauge how much you should be spending if you start these projects from scratch.

STATEMENT WALL

There is nothing worse than moving into a new apartment and having your landlord tell you, a color and pattern addict, that there is absolutely no painting the walls. Don’t worry — we’ve got five ways for you to add color and personality to your space.

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1. Shower Curtain Art ($30): Start searching around Urban, H&M, HomeGoods, etc. to find an amazing shower curtain. Grab some wood strips, nail them into a square, and staple gun the shower curtain to the frame. When stapled to the frame the shower curtain will become taut and look just like a large canvas print. But guess what — it was super cheap! (via 6th Street Design School)

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2. Salon Wall ($30-100):  Create a mosaic out of your favorite pieces of art work and display it on the wall. The key to a successful salon wall is size variation and color coordination. (via Brit + Co)

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3. Washi Tape Mural ($25): This is one of my favorites and something I have done in two of my apartments. You can add color instantly to your walls and remove it without your landlord getting mad. Score! Try shapes, patterns, diagonals, and my favorite — a polka dot pattern of small plus signs! ++++ (via Brit + Co)

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4. Fabric Wallpaper ($100+): This DIY can get pricey since awesome fabrics come at a cost. If you want to keep the cost down, apply the fabric to half the wall and create a faux chair rail with washi. (via Apartment Therapy)

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5. Blueprint Wall Art ($0.75 per square foot): Listen to this — you can get large black and white prints for super cheap thanks to architects! Embrace the grainy effect by printing your favorite old memories. These large prints will be costly to frame, so we suggest sticking to washi frames. (via A Beautiful Mess)

FURNITURE

A West Elm apartment would be a dream come true, but for those prices — no thank you! Head to thrift stores, garage sales and flea markets to pick up cheap pieces that just need some love.

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1. Wood Crate night stand ($10): Stain can do amazing things! It can boost the appeal of something cheap in an instant. It is also super easy to use — you apply it with a rag. Anyone can do that! (via Lark & Linen)

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2. Painted Arm Chair ($50): This DIY requires some thrift-store and garage-sale scouring. Once you’ve found your perfect piece, add some patterns with fabric paint. Think about stripes, polka dots, tribal patterns, plaid, floral, the list goes on. (via Sugar and Cloth)

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3. Patterned drawers ($15): Update your drawers from college with contact or wrapping paper. Contact paper is sticky and will adhere instantly, but if you fall in love with a certain wrapping paper then just use some Mod Podge to adhere the paper to the drawer. (via Bright & Bold)

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4. Washi Tape Furniture ($15): You should ALWAYS have washi tape on hand. Use your leftover statement wall tape to create accents on your furniture. (via Brit + Co)

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5. Ladder Shoe Rack ($70): This might look intimidating, but it is actually the easiest shelving system ever! Purchase a ladder + five boards of wood and you’ve got a beautiful tiered rack to display all of your shoes. Don’t have enough shoes? No problem — use it for books or decorative bins to hold smaller items. (via A Pair & a Spare)

WALL ART

Wall art, you say? But how is that different than a statement wall? Well, these are little pieces that you can hang around your room to take the eyes on a wall-to-wall journey. Don’t be shy! Layer these pieces on top of your statement wall to give it dimension.

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1. Typography Felt Banner ($5): Upgrade crossed-stitched “Home Is Where the Heart is” signs with felt and a wooden dowel. We suggest phrases like, “More Guac Please!” and “Dancing Is My Day Job.” (via Brit + C0)

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2. Nail String Art ($15): This is one of my favorite DIYs because it brings so many different textures together — string, metal, and wood. Play with size when creating your string art. Maybe it’s just one letter per board spelling out “FLAWLESS.” (via Brit + Co)

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3. Woven Wall Art ($100): The key to adding instant warmth to your home is texture! Weavings are all the rage and can be made on the cheap. It will take some time but we promise it is DIY foolproof. (via Brit + Co)

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4. Macrame Wall Art ($10): Don’t have enough time for a wall weaving? We understand. Try a macrame wall hanging. You can add the same colors and warmth to your room in half the time needed for a weaving. (via Brit + Co)

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5. Wall Vase ($15): A home isn’t a home without flowers. Create this geometric wood and glass wall vase to display your beautiful buds. Want to learn more about buds in general? Check out our e-class! (via Fabric Paper Glue)

BEDDING

A house isn’t a home without a comfortable bed. If you are going to splurge on anything, we recommend a quality mattress. From what I hear, your spine will thank you a lot when you are in your 30s. Since you just spent all your hard-earned cash on the mattress, leave the rest up to DIY =)

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1. Iron-on duvet ($35): Patterns are tricky, and a lot of times you can never find exactly what you want. We love how they create the floral duvet of their dreams with this DIY. Purchase a new white duvet and start from scratch, or save money and iron on a pre-existing duvet. (via Design Sponge)

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2. Vintage Duvet ($30): Turn a set of sheets into a stunning duvet cover. We love how they added the fringe trim to give the cover extra flair. (via My Poppet Makes)

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3. Ombre Dip Dye Duvet ($5-50): Spilled some wine on your white duvet during a girls’ night study sesh in college? No worries! Grab some fabric dye and dip dye your duvet for a whole new look! (via HGTV)

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4. Pom- Pom Throw ($5-30): Here at Brit + Co we love ourselves somepom-poms. Add some whimsical poofs to your blankets for an instant update. (via Vintage Revivals)

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5. Potato printed bed linen ($5- 50): Yes, it is true. You can get that geometric look with a potato! We recommend creating this fabric paint pattern at the bottom of your duvet. Fabric paint tends to be a bit stiff and could be uncomfortable near your face. (via My Attic)

PILLOWS

I can never understand why decorative pillows are so expensive! Grab some plain white pillows from Amazon and start DIYing for a perfectly curated couch, chair or bed.

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1. Custom Text pillows  ($5): Update pillows with your favorite phrase using iron-on transfers. This DIY, plus many others, can be found in our book Homemakers. (via Brit + Co)

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2. Cactus pillows ($10): Succulents will always win us over. Create this quirky DIY to add some whimsy to your decor. Don’t worry — this DIY comes with a free printable to get that perfect cactus shape. (via Brit + Co)

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3. No-Sew Leather Pillows ($20): Not a fan of the sewing machine? Take our sewing e-class or stick with these no-sew pillows. (via Brit + Co)

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4. Stamped pillows ($30): We’ve kitted up the perfect pillow to add patterns to your life. You’ll never believe how easy it is to create your own stamps! (via Brit + Co)

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5. Geometric Tassel Pillows ($10): These pillows are great for couches, and they also double as floor pillows for lounging. Play with shapes, colors, and sizes. (via Brit + Co)

LIGHTING

There is no doubt about it — lighting always sets the mood. We have some great ideas for ways to ditch those generic overhead lights.

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1. Leather Pendant lamp ($39): White leather mixed with a bright colored cord? We’re swooning! We couldn’t be more excited about this kit and can’t wait to add this piece to our own space. (via Brit + Co)

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2. Origami Pendant lamp ($15): Step up your paper-folding skills with this origami pendant lamp. Pro tip: These lights aren’t meant to be used as your main light source. We recommend turning them on for reading or mood light. (via Brit + Co)

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3. Cord art (free!): This hack hits all the right marks. Stop stressing about an ugly hanging cord and turn it into art. (via Homedit)

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#TBT to when I was obsessed with palm trees and anything tropical. P.S. There are seven DIYs in this picture. Can you name them?

Are you feeling better about tackling your new adult apartment? Send us your questions and comments below!

How to Declutter rooms in just 15 Minutes

Last-minute visit from the in-laws or surprise house guests for the weekend? We know you’ve been meaning to put away that pile of laundry all week, but now it’s crunch time and you are running around like a crazy person trying to get the house in shape. There’s no insta-miracle for a spotlessly clean house, but there are a few tricks you can use to minimize the clutter culprits in each room in as little as 15 minutes. When time is limited, the trick is to be strategic about how you do your chores. But first, put on some music. We promise it will make the cleaning feel a little less awful and a little more fun.

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1. The Kitchen: If you do only one thing here, let it be the dishes. Make short work of it by plugging up the kitchen sink, filling it halfway up with hot, soapy water and allowing the dishes to soak while you take five minutes to put other stuff away. Whether it’s bags of baking supplies or piles of snack food, gather up all the kitchen clutter and use bins and baskets to organize similar items. For extra organization, you could even label your containers so you know where to put what next time you get groceries. (via Better Homes and Gardens)

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2. The Dining Room: All too often, the dining room becomes a dumping place for everyone’s projects, homework, etc. If paper is the problem, set up a sorting system to organize kids’ papers and the mail. If your dining room doubles as an office or homework station, have a cabinet close by where you can hide all the desk supplies. (via Domaine Home)

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3. The Living Room: Start by fluffing and straightening the cushions and any throw blankets. Tidy the coffee tables by corralling remote controls, straightening piles of books or magazines and tossing out any junk mail. If you’re cleaning for the whole family, set up a “lost and found” system in the living room. Create a basket for each family member, and as you clean, toss all their items into their baskets for them to empty once a week. (via The Glitter Guide)

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4. The Bathroom: Most of your hustle will need to be here, because guests always need the bathroom. Take the first four minutes to wipe the tub, toilet and sink, then spend one minute to wipe your mirrors, straighten towels and empty the waste basket. Use those final two minutes to grab your vacuum and go to town on stray hairs. (via Lonny)

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5. The Bedroom: First things first: Make your bed. Even if you do nothing else, making the bed is the one thing that will make the space look much, much tidier than it actually is. And it’ll really take just a minute! Then try aDIY jewelry organization system to instantly clean up the top of the dresser or vanity. (via Better Homes and Gardens)

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6. The Laundry Room: This is the one room in the house that seems to be a collection place for all sorts of odds and ends. Set up jars inside a pretty tray to collect clothes pins, mending supplies, things you find in pockets and any other random items. (via Brit + Co)

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7. The Office: We all have that one part of our home office that just drives us crazy. If it’s your main desk drawer, grab a few drawer dividers or trays to organize all those little items. If you have too many piles of paper, try and do as much sorting as you can in 10 to 15 minutes. (via My Domaine)

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8. The Entryway: A couple little boxes or a basket near the door is the perfect place to hide important things like sunglasses, keys, etc. This will make them easy to grab as you are walking out the door but won’t clutter up the foyer. If shoes are piling up, organize them in a stylish tray that also helps keep mud and dirt off your floor. (via Lonny)

What are your tricks for last-minute house cleaning? Share your organization hacks with us in the comments below!