I live in a 120-year-old, charming Victorian-style house that everyone who visits loves…and you want to know the truth? When I first moved in after my divorce, I ABSOLUTELY HATED IT. I went from a modern, brand new house when I was married to renting this one bedroom house that has more wolf spiders than the city does people; with bright yellow walls, old squeaky doors and a bedroom that is a shade of purple that makes me want to kill myself. But the rent is cheap and they let me keep my 130-pound-dog there (I like to tell people I rented the house for him – since dogs are colorblind anyway!), so what’s a girl to do?
In an effort to make my house more livable and likeable to the masses, I started doing small projects that I didn’t need landlord approval for, but did make a difference with the design and feel of the rooms.
1. Seasonal Wreath
I bought this wreath at Hobby Lobby for a couple of dollars. Bought the leaves for $2, and shoved them in. It took me less than five minutes and has made a big impact with my porch. You could change out the leaves for different seasons. The sticks are from Ikea but you could easily walk around the neighborhood looking for branches to put in vases. They would look great spray painted!
2. Spray Painted Fixtures
If you’re like me and you inherit half of the furniture in the split (okay, let’s be honest – I took WAY more than half), you may be wondering what to do with it. If you want it to feel fresh and new but don’t want to buy all new furniture, simply spray paint it!
These garbage cans were spray painted with Rust-Oleum “Universal Hammered Spray Paint”. You can use this on practically any surface…my personal favorite is to use it to update knobs on dressers and nightstands or lamps. It comes in multiple colors too and one can will go a long ways! (Also, those hanging décor pieces were originally blue. One can of white spray paint later and they matched!)
3. Fogged Windows
My house has old French doors leading into the office. The landlord had left the original lace curtains up (based on the amount of dirt on them, I’m guessing they’d been there since at least 1950). I wanted something more updated that was still private and that my cat wouldn’t climb… you ready for this?
All I did was buy and cut clear contact paper like you would use for lining shelves. Then you wet the glass you’re putting it on, stick the plastic sheet on and use a squeegee or any flat surface (a credit card would do) to work the air bubbles out. I’ve also seen this done with lace (apply with mixture of cornstarch and water). Both of these options are great for renters because they easily peel off and don’t leave a mark!
4. Glaze furniture and décor pieces
This is probably my best tip – you can change the look of any item simply by glazing it with your choice of glaze color (I really like the Martha Stewart Black Coffee). To start, buy your glaze and grab any old paintbrush. Work the glaze into every corner of the piece, and then simply wipe off with a damp rag. You can wipe off or leave on as much as you want to get the desired look, but it really makes all the nooks and crannies pop! Here’s a better video tutorial if you’re interested. Honestly you can’t mess this up!
Aubrey is a writer/owner/creator at ShitiPainted.com. She loves spending time with her three nieces and her Newfoundland dog, Moose.