12 Things to Do Before a DIY Apartment Makeover
As 2016 kicks off, we’re all abuzz thinking about ways to refresh, reset and revamp in the new year. On our list, alongside finding a new creative project, working out and cooking more often is the dreamy home makeover. But we’re not talking about a serious renovation that’s only possible when you own your home — we’re talking about things you can actually do yourself without breaking the bank.
How do you transform your space without just tossing everything you own? If you’re a renter, how can you customize your home without saying goodbye to your security deposit? In partnership with Lowe’s, we’re pumped to launch a nine-part series that centers around the home. My home, in fact!
First, a little more about me. I’m the Executive Creative Director here at Brit + Co, and I’ve been here with Brit since day one. For the last four years, we’ve come up with thousands of ideas to help all y’all live more creatively. Gallery walls, furniture hacks and about a million pieces of wall art have flooded your social channels thanks to the creative team I lead. But here’s the catch: I haven’t made the time to practice what I preach and personalize my own apartment! That’s where our partner Lowe’s comes in — their commitment to coordinated style makes it easy to transform your space while also working with your own personal style.
My husband and I moved to San Francisco just about five years ago and we have yet to paint a wall or put up more than three pieces of art, and you can forget about figuring out how to store all of our odds and ends. The thing is, aside from the beige walls, our apartment is actually pretty awesome. It clocks in right around 1200 square feet, has a small outdoor space, two full bathrooms and is rent-controlled. So, it’s time to give it some love. Over the next few weeks, watch as we turn this blank canvas into a colorful and pattern-filled space that matches my (and my husband’s) personality.
Lowe’s is filled with hidden gems that go way beyond hardware. They’ve got everything you need to bring your personal style to life in your home, including tools to help you coordinate your look and tips for transforming, modernizing and personalizing your space while still keeping your favorite things intact. And you can forget about anything cookie cutter. Lowe’s Coordinated Style celebrates the art of thoughtfully mixing, matching and layering pieces around a certain design theme or color palette. After all, your home is an ever-evolving space that should be open to adding new pieces as time goes on.
To start us off, here are 12 things that everyone should do before a major apartment (or home) makeover. Happy home-making! :)
1. Get Inspired: All good makeovers start with inspiration. Thumbing through interior design magazines and home decor books is a great place to start. We also recommend going for a walk! Look around at window displays to see what’s trending, check out what colors and patterns seem to be popular and take plenty of photos.
2. Create a Pinterest Board: You’ve gotta create a Pinterest board! Use this to collect ideas as well as products you actually want to purchase. It’s a great way to see everything come together before you buy or DIY. My board is made up of a mix of super swoon-worthy interiors as well as products and materials that will help me bring these ideas to life. As I go through each room in my apartment, I’ll keep adding inspiration to this board, so be sure to follow it!
3. Make a Plan, Room by Room: As tempting as it might be to just throw some paint up on the wall, resist the urge to be impulsive. This often results in unfinished work, which is sometimes more frustrating than a completely blank space. It’s also important to make a plan so that your home transformation is just as cohesive as your Pinterest board! And don’t forget to take photos.
4. Seek Out Design Help: Don’t go it alone! There are tons of resources both online and offline that help you take on every project in your home. When I started to think about colors for my home, I had no idea where to start. Lucky for me, Lowe’s features an amazing collaboration between HGTV and Sherwin Williams. They’ve created a bunch of booklets that double as mood boards, showing you groups of colors that work together nicely based on your personality, mood and unique sense of style.
5. Pile on the Paint Chips: Speaking of wall colors, we are big fans of piling on the paint chips. Pick out colors you’re drawn to, colors you like as accents and colors you want to surround yourself with. Play with them in your home, experiment with different color combos and groupings. You’re bound to come up with a palette you love.
6. Test Out Wall Colors: Before you get set on your entire plan, take a few colors for a test run. Paste up paint chips or apply actual swatches of paint to the wall, and let it sit for a week. See what you end up loving and hating and you’ll figure out what makes the most sense in each room. And don’t be surprised if you end up hating your favorite color! This is another place where Lowe’s pre-curated color boards really come in handy. You want to make sure your whole home flows, and that starts with the paint colors.
7. Evaluate Your Light Fixtures: When you’re a renter, lighting is not usually the best-looking scene. Look up right now. Yeah. Pretty bad, right? The overhead light in my living room doesn’t even have a shade. Seriously. Evaluate your light fixtures and figure out what is actually possible to change. For some people, updating ceiling lighting is nearly impossible without serious construction, so it’s best to look for a mix of floor lamps and table lamps. If you can’t change your fixtures, decorative light bulbs can help amp things up.
8. Clean Your House: That’s right. You’ve gotta clean your house. Not only is it a good idea to get it spic and span before you do things like move furniture around and paint, but it’s also a good time to purge. Get rid of things you don’t use, move seasonal things to storage and put away your clothes!
9. Don’t Forget About Storage: Possibly the least sexy thing on the list is storage. But it’s an important thing to solve if you want to capitalize on your space. An organized space is a more creative one — we promise.
10. Stock Up on DIY Materials: Spray paint? Yes please. Wood for building a window box? OH yes. Hit up your local Lowe’s and stock up on all the DIY basics you’ll need to transform your space.
11. Find Ways to Bring the Outdoors In: No matter how small your space is, it’s important to find ways to bring the outdoors in. Succulents and cacti are great foolproof options for those of us without green thumbs! When the Lowe’s Style Team compiled their inspiration for 2016, greenery was at the top of everyone’s list.
12. Collaborate With Your Roommates: In my case, my roommates are my husband David and my dog Turkey. Don’t forget about them, even if you tend to be the decor decision-maker in the house. When choosing paint colors, David and I literally walked around our apartment while holding a bunch of paint chips. And… we may or may not have chosen a bunch of different shades of blue and green. What can I say? We have a color type ;)
Alright, ready to transform this apartment? Stay tuned! And be sure to follow Lowe’s on Pinterest for all sorts of home inspiration.
This post is a collaboration with Lowe’s.