Maybe you live in a basement suite with no sunlight. Or in a tiny studio with barely enough room to breathe. 

No matter your living situation, finding a nice apartment in a big city in your 20s is hard. And unless you get that big promotion or win the lottery tomorrow, you’re often left stuck in a less than great apartment. 

So how do you deal? How do you make the most of your home and all the ways you want to use it (I.e. working, studying, relaxing, etc.)? How do you make your apartment a place you want to come home to? 

Here are a few easy decor makeover tips to take your space from bleh to beautiful.  

10 easy ways to decorate your apartment:

1) All the plants

Bring some of the outside in with some plants. Plants are not only a great way to brighten up your space, but they can also improve your home’s air quality, reduce stress and improve your overall well-being. So yeah, it’s time to jump on board the plant parent train. 

Helpful tip: Learn which plants will thrive in your space. If you’re living in a basement, find plants that do well with low sunlight like Philodendron or snake plants. 

2) Declutter, declutter, declutter 

Decluttering not only makes your space look bigger and nicer, but it has a ton of health benefits too. Decluttering your space can boost your mood, improve concentration and relieve anxiety. 

Go through your closet, dresser, junk drawer, bookshelf and boxes and see what you can toss. That shirt you never wear? Donate it. That half-empty lotion bottle you’ll never finish? Throw it out. If you don’t use it or it doesn’t make you happy, let it go. 

Helpful tip: How to decide whether to keep it or not? Ask yourself some questions. Do you like it? Does it have a purpose? Do you still use it? If you answer “no,” to these questions, it might be time to get rid of it. 

3) Get an organizer

Okay, if you have a lot of stuff, organizers are your friend. Organizers are a cheap and easy way to keep everything organized. Lots of shoes? Take the shoes piling up in the front entryway and put them on a shoe rack. Lots of tangled chargers and cords? Get an organizer for them. 

Helpful tip: Stores like Winners, Home Sense, Walmart or even the dollar store are good places to start. 

4) Light it up

Let there be light! Sometimes when your home is too dark, it makes it harder to do everything you want to do like study, work, read, have friends over or try new hobbies. That’s where good lighting comes in. From floor lamps, fairy lights, salt lamps, neon signs and candles, play around with different options. 

Helpful tip: When it comes to lighting, go for variety. Get some brighter lamp options for when you need to be productive and some dimmer options for when you want to relax and be cozy. 

5) Multi-purpose furniture

A coffee table is good. But a coffee table with storage under it is even better. Finding those dual-purpose pieces like a futon, a Murphy bed or a storage ottoman can make all the difference when you’re in a smaller space. 

Helpful tip: Start with furniture stores designed for small spaces like IKEA, EQ3, Article or CB2.

6) Add some curtains

You know what’s better than those old vertical blinds? Curtains! Not only can they give you some much-needed privacy, but they let more light in and really transform your space into something beautiful. 

Helpful tip: When you’re renting, you might worry about drilling holes in the wall when putting up curtains. What can you do? Get some Command hooks. They stick to everything from walls to shelves and they even have specific ones designed for curtain rods. 

7) Cut the rug

Rugs are a quick way to add some personality to your apartment. If you have hardwood floors, it protects your floor and stops your downstairs neighbours from getting angry with you. If your apartment is carpeted, do you really need a rug? Well, actually yes. Bringing in a carpet can add some colour and pizzazz to a room. Plus, it’s an easy way to protect the carpet underneath in case you spill something. 

Helpful tip: If you want a cheap and cheerful Rug, places like IKEA, Wayfair and Jysk are definitely good places to start. 

8) Play with scents

Last night’s ramen might have tasted good, but it probably doesn’t make your space smell great the next day. If you live in a studio or smaller space, smells linger. So love how your home smells when you walk in by trying things like essential oils, air fresheners, incense or candles. 

Helpful tip: Some scents are incredibly soothing and can do a lot of good for the mind and body. Lavender is great for sleep. Citrus can help you feel more energized. Vanilla can boost your mood. So if you’re not sure what scent to go with, experiment and play around with a few options. 

9) Find some cute workarounds

Don’t like that old couch anymore? Want a new table but a fancy one isn’t in your budget? That’s okay, find a workaround. You would be surprised how quickly a few cushions or a new tablecloth can solve that problem. 

Helpful tip: When it comes to throw pillows, less is more. Too many pillows will make your couch or bed look cluttered. So just two or three pillows will do the trick.

10) Hang up some wall art

Let’s be honest—those white apartment walls aren’t doing your space any favours. So add some personality to your home by hanging up mirrors, paintings, photos, posters, pride flags or whatever you like. Whatever you decide, make your home a reflection of you. 

Helpful tip: Rather than creating holes in your walls (and probably not getting your security deposit back), get some command hooks as you hang up your art. They make it easy to hang up and take down your pieces without causing any damage.

Final thoughts on decorating your apartment:

Living in a less than great apartment isn’t easy. But with these little tricks, you can turn your space into a place you’re proud to call home.