To Decorating Your Home: 7 Simple Decor Hacks

There's a list of duties or tasks we mark off in life that just plain suck — moving being one of them. Whether you're packing up to leave home for the first time, moving into the house of your growing family's dreams or even helping a friend move (because you're way too good of a person) it blows. But after the dust settles and you've cut down three times your weight in cardboard, something magical happens...

Making a [mansion, apartment, shack or house*] a home is not as easy as any of your favorite HGTV hosts make it look — trust me. Anyone that's seen my Instagram knows that I have a total obsession with interior design. I follow countless pinners, instagrammers and have the latest nine copies of Architectural Digest on my coffee table, making me an unofficial expert on design trends — or at the very least, a friend that will (sometimes silently) judge your home's aesthetic. 

Because most of us are too poor to buy, here are my 7 hacks to decorating your rental:

1. Keep it light

Pulling off the crowded, eclectic, hippie-chic look is not easy. Reel it in, play it a little safer and keep your space light — especially if you live in a small apartment like mine, or a studio. Luckily for us, white walls are in, which will save on the stress and budget. Keep accessories, art and furniture limited to only what's necessary. If you plan on hosting game nights or other intimate gatherings, consider furniture pieces that serve double duty (like storage benches) or tuck away when not in use. 

2. Create vignettes

When it comes to making a space feel comfortable and pulled-together, it's the little things that set the tone. A bar cart (or tray), side table and built-in shelves offer the perfect opportunity to create mini scenes that will help tie your rooms together. For example, I have a stack of books, globe and glass apothecary with matches on a table in the corner next to a reading chair. It has a severely scaled down study vibe to it that I👏 LIVE👏 FOR👏. Remember when accessorizing, odd numbers are your best friend, unless we're talking lamps — keep that shit symettrical. 

3. Embrace technology

While not quite to the level of Disney's Smart House, we're certainly getting closer to that level of home automation. Do yourself a favor when it comes to connecting to the the rest of the world — don't skimp on a provider-issued router and weak internet speeds. I opted for Google Wifi and 100mbps internet speeds, which keeps my Netflix, Philips Hue lightbulbs, Echo and whatever else I'm working on connected. Another beauty of the Philips Hue lights, you can transform the colors and overall vibe of a room, with the swipe of the app.

4. Bring in natural elements

In any home, and especially so in smaller homes, bringing in life can help the space feel fresh, clean and, in some cases, more open. While on one hand I feel that I've gone to first-time-renter heaven, I'm also severely lacking in window real estate, ergo sunlight, for real plants to survive. While my real IKEA plant seems to do well (with the already spotty Seattle sunlight), I was able to purchase a few fake plants that are actually fairly realistic. Additionally, I have a lot of cool-toned natural wood elements that help make the rooms in my apartment feel grounded.

5. A statement piece is nice, but not necessary

Whether it's a bitchin' canvas, bold sofa color or a large geometric rug, statement pieces can be badass. The trouble with statement pieces, is that many people feel that they need something big, or loud to stand out, and often ruin the vibe they were aiming for. womp womp. If you feel that your room does need a pop, search for items that can tie into your overall theme and that aren't entirely trend-based. (Meaning they won't be out of style by next season) If some color is what you're missing, expand your color and texture palette with throw pillows or blankets, interchangeable art installations or removable wallpaper. But please don't kill the vibe of your room or home by 1. thinking you need a statement piece and 2. that a statement piece needs to obnoxiously different — it's all about flow yo

6. Ditch (or quickly cover) the mini-blinds

There's nothing I dislike more in a room than mini blinds... Okay, maybe vertical blinds — but you catch my drift. My apartment is long and narrow with one large bank of windows at the far end, adorned with mini blinds. 😷 While I can't throw them from the seventh story, I can leave them completely raised 99% of the time and install curtains. (Which I did, on day one.) I personally opted for white sheers, flanked by darker, geometric gray print panels. Not only do the curtains function better at blocking the light, they look much better (and more upscale/homey) than the blinds.

7. Create a go-to playlist that matches your space

You should know by now that I'm all about a good playlist — I mean I have a Pandora channel for just about every mood. I'd like to think that every home has a go-to playlist that matches the mood and aesthetic. Despite living in the often gloomy Northwest, my space feels light, airy and natural — very reminiscent of the California coast, in my opinion. The Gatsby Orchestral Score and the Big Little Lies soundtrack are definitely a staple to my apartment's playlist. Now if only I had the homes (and decorating budgets) of some of the characters...

Here's a little pinspiration from my Tiny home:

*Who didn't love/spend hours playing MASH as a kid?

David Self