Quick and Easy Ways to Add Color to Your Home

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You don’t have to paint your walls a garish color or invest in a bright carpet to add pops of color to your apartment. There are many different ways to enhance your décor with a variety of pastel or primary color combinations.

Throw pillows. This inexpensive idea can add just enough color to a family room or den without breaking the budget or adding too much of one bold color to the room. Choosing a bright hue, like robin’s egg blue, orange, or royal purple, really increases the drama. Added bonus? You can easily change up the color schemes each season.

Vases. Mix and match vases with other colorful items for a dramatic vignette on a mantle or for a dining table centerpiece. Use one color but in a wide range of hues for a monochromatic look. For example, choose blue and then buy vases, candles, and other knick-knacks in different hues of blue

Rugs. Although you can certainly purchase an expensive Oriental area rug if you wish, there are other cheaper rug options available. Go to home stores and other department stores and look for a nice rug that has your home’s color scheme in it, or chose one that has the bold colors that you want to try in your apartment (yellow and blue is a great combination, or try red and purple).

Paintings. This idea is not only a great focal piece for a wall, but also a great investment if you know what to look for and where to buy. Opt for a large piece with lots of bright and muted colors, especially if you’re placing the artwork above a mantle, over a sofa, or perhaps over your bed. By choosing art that has both bright and muted colors, each of the colors will pop more because of the contrast.

Wallpaper. Create a focal wall in one room to showcase boldly patterned wallpaper. In your bedroom, opt for the wall against which your bed is located. In the den, try the wall opposite the TV or fireplace. Choose the longest or tallest wall in your dining room. Choose wallpaper with a large overall pattern, bold stripes, or a brightly hued all-over floral design. For added drama, try textured wallpaper, such as linen or bamboo.

The Easiest Plants to Grow in a Container Garden

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Apartment dwellers, those who live in townhomes, or people who own a small condo can sometimes feel that gardening is out of their reach due to the lack of outdoor space. However, even those living in the tiniest places have gardening options! Container gardening is a growing trend and a great option for those who don’t have a yard or large patio. You can use many different containers, such as small planters, terra cotta pots in various sizes, and also creative plant growers like glazed ceramic pots. Just make sure that whatever container you use has a hole in the bottom for drainage.

There are also certain plants that tend to thrive better in small containers. Here is a list of the easiest plants to grow in your container garden, whether on your patio, deck or even on your kitchen windowsill.

Best flowers. If you want to have beautiful flowers on your patio or deck, there are many varieties that are ideal for small spaces. Geraniums, pansies, violets, petunias, marigolds, snapdragons, and zinnias are all lovely choices for a flower container garden.

Best herbs.  Most herbs are pretty easy to grow no matter what size pot you’re using, but there are some that are hardy and easier to grow than others. Try planting the following herbs in your container garden: basil, thyme, rosemary, mint, parsley, and oregano.

Best vegetables. Many of those who have limited space for gardening don’t think they can grow vegetables using containers on a patio or deck, but that is a myth as well. You can grow many types of vegetables using container gardening, including cherry tomatoes, radishes, hot peppers, carrots, lettuce, squash, and eggplants.

Best fruits. Many fruits grow well in small containers and pots, such as strawberries, blueberries, and dwarf citrus plants.

Furniture Hunting for Your First Apartment

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The excitement and anxiety of renting your first apartment is just some of the joys that college grads have to look forward to. Furnishing your first apartment can be difficult, especially if you are low on funds, as most grads are when they’re entering the real world after college. Here are a few inexpensive ideas for sturdy furniture that will fit perfectly in that first apartment:

  1. Consider yard sales, garage sales, and thrift stores. All of these options offer affordable furniture that can be used in your first apartment. Although it can sometimes be fairly hard to find furniture at yard sales, check out thrift stores to see if they have any sturdy, non-stained furniture like sofas and chairs, which will usually be available at pretty cheap prices.
  2. Check out Craigslist. There are usually dozens of people getting rid of their furniture to make room for new pieces. Take advantage of this and score some great furniture for reasonable prices, but be sure to be cautious as there are many scams on Craigslist just waiting to take advantage of people. If you luck out, you may even find some good furniture for free!
  3. Ask family and friends. Many people know of someone within their network who have some furniture they need to get rid of. Ask family and friends to keep an ear out for anyone who is selling or giving away sofas, chairs, end tables, beds, mattresses, or dining tables.
  4. Wait for sales at furniture rental stores. Places like Rent-A-Center® and Aaron’s® will sometimes have special sales where they sell of pieces of furniture they can no longer rent out, such as those items that are slightly stained, damaged, or in need of paint or refurbishing. You can find great high-end pieces that only need a new coat of paint, new upholstery, a deep cleaning, or a new wood stain.

Five ways to instantly add panache to your space

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Living in an apartment doesn’t have to cramp up your style. Here are five inexpensive ways to add some pizazz to your dwelling.

1) Add a rug

Rugs give both small and large spaces the chance to change the feel of an entire room with the addition of just one thing. There are endless options when it comes to style, size, shape, and texture. One of my favorite rug manufacturers, Safavieh, has many fashionable of rugs on sale at Overstock.com. Chevrons and shag rugs can add a great modern touch to an otherwise dull room.

2) Add depth and character with a mirror

A unique mirror add aesthetic variety and creates the illusion of space. A well placed mirror in a room can also add additional light and brighten up the living area. Speaking of cookie-cutter, IKEA also has some floor-to-ceiling, framed ones that look very chic propped into a corner of a bedroom or living room. World market has a great selection of mirrors that are high on charm and low in price. Darker walls can be livened up with a mirror with a pleasant silver frame.

3) Pillows and throws to add some character to your sofa

A few bright pillows and throws can give a needed pop of color to an otherwise bland bedroom or living room. With their bold shapes, big, square, European-inspired throws and pillows are an easy way to create visual interest. If you already have decorative pillows, pick up new shams to reinvent your room. Target has a great assortment of stylish pillows while Z-gallerie’s throws are sure to pique your interest.

4) Create an ambience with paint

Nothing makes a bigger statement than painting a wall. A bucket of Martha Stewart paint from Home Depot runs for under fifty dollars and leaves you with endless options. Paint one wall a bold color, like Araucana Teal. If the wall is fairly bare, use a few stencils to give the wall some personality. You could even paint your ceiling a few shades lighter than the walls,to make the room feel larger.

5) Upgrade your lighting

Glass ceiling domes, while economical, look mass produced and generic. Swap them for more creative covering, or just forgo them altogether in exchange for an eclectic combo of standing floor and table lamps, which have the added benefit of casting more flattering light than their more prevalent counterparts do. Lampsplus has a great selection of floor lamps for the modern minded individual.