Just because you are on a shoestring budget doesn't mean you have to be hamstrung when it comes to style. Your job is to shoot higher than making your apartment habitable - you want to make it comfortable, attractive and a place to which you want to come home.
You'll be able to achieve a lot of bang for the buck with a staple of first-time renters and home buyers - the ordinary bed sheet.
As a textile resource, the bed sheet is a relative bargain. It can be cut, trimmed, disguised and reborn for all kinds of uses - decorative pillows, cafe curtains, placemats, vanity skirts, tablecloths, shower curtains, and they can even be painted as a dramatic backdrop for a living area or bedroom. Flat sheets can be found on sale almost any time of the year, and in a wide assortment of colors and patterns.
For most of these color-enhancing and practical products you don't even need to know how to sew. Fabric glue, scissors, some trim goods and patience are all you need to brighten a sofa or a tabletop with color. Straight pins will secure your fabric as you work with it, and prevent you from gaping seams or crooked edges.
In "The New Apartment Book" by Michele Michael, Clarkson/Potter Publishers, New York, the author uses a white wall-sized sheet as a canvas to paint a colorful, bold-stroked Statue of Liberty in the season's new ocean blue, daffodil yellow and olive green tones. The effect is contemporary and breezy, cleverly substituting the painting for a more expensive and less expressive headboard against the bed. Crisp stacked pillows again visually pinch hit for the absent headboard.
You can take the idea one step further with your own painted backdrop and carry the idea through to hand-painted pillows. Practice a broad brushstroke of your favorite painter's work, or a photograph. Use something you adore as inspiration - a time of year, a favorite hobby. If you aren't artistic but can follow a pattern, invest in stencils. You can use them to paint borders around your ceiling or on the backsplash of your kitchen and repeat the pattern in your tabletop cloths, napkins, or mats. Carry through the theme to color coordinated oven mitts and dishtowels.
If you can fold fabric into a forty five degree angle, you can add a contrasting fabric to miter corners on placemats and shower curtains. Again, fabric glue can come to your rescue if a sewing machine isn't handy. For a shower curtain, you don't need to make ring holes. You can find fabric ring clips at most fabric stores, hardware stores and department stores that clip on. Just make sure your clips are sturdy enough to support both a plastic liner and your fabric overlay. Add pizzazz by gluing fabric trim with loops or tassels across the top, or by scalloping the bottom so it suggests waves on the water.
Without a large investment, you can brighten and adorn your apartment by having some fun with sheets. And when you are tired of the look, throw them out and start over!
About The Author
Since 1989 Dan The Roommate Man has helped 1000's of people find roommates. Need help? Contact him at 800-487-8050 or www.roommateexpress.com