A History of DIY

I’m going to change the tone of what I’ve been posting lately.  I’ve been doing a lot of heavy emotional stuff, and today I just need a break from all of that.  At the beginning I said part of this blog was going to be about some of my crafting attempts.  Introducing, my first DIY post!

I’m currently staying at my aunt’s house because I gave up my apartment after I was robbed by my ex’s junkie friends.  There were too many memories there and I no longer felt safe.  Because my stay with my aunt is temporary, I only brought the necessities (clothes) and haven’t decorated my room or anything.  I’m jonesing for some DIY.  I decided a good solution would be to share all the ideas I had for decorating my old apartment.  

That apartment was the first place I’d lived in as a working adult and as such I no longer was ok with having the type of decor that is typical of college housing.  I wanted things to match and look nice.  However, I was also on a pretty tight budget.  I think I managed to do a pretty good job of making my place look nice without breaking the bank, so here are my tips for decorating your home on a budget:

1.  Ask friends/family if they have any furniture they want to get rid of.

I started stockpiling furniture early.  My grandparents gave me an extra coffee table they had in their basement.  When I was still living with a roommate my aunt told me she wanted to get rid of her dining room table that came with 2 leaves and 6 chairs.  We had my roommate’s table in our apartment but I knew I would eventually need my own, so I took it and put it in storage.  A few months later my cousin got married and used the wedding money to buy a new sectional so I took her old couch.  I was having trouble finding an entertainment center (I wanted one that fit into a corner so it saved space) so I went to Facebook.  It turned out my dad’s cousin had JUST bought a new entertainment center and sold me his old one for $20.  This furniture was all pre-owned but still in great condition (and nicer than anything I’d had in my college apartments).

2.  Be thrifty

I love going to garage sales.  Most of them are filled with junk (I went to one last summer that was selling candles that were half burned) but every once in a while you find some gems.  Last summer I was at a garage sale and found the most comfortable recliner I’ve ever sat in.  It was in great condition, and I managed to talk the owner down to $50 for it.  I vacuumed and Febreezed the chair and it was good to go.  

I also like going to thrift stores (the thing about junk vs. gems holds true for thrift stores as well).  I had very little in terms of wall decor, so I had to get creative.  At one thrift store I found this picture frame thing that had slots for 16 4×6 pictures and some swirly wire edging.  I popped the back off, removed all the glass (so the slots were just empty), painted the wood, and hung it on my wall (unfortunately I don’t have a picture).  Another find (this time on Craiglist) were a couple small endtables.  I bought them for $5 each, sanded them, spray painted them, and now have nightstands.

3. Pinterest.

Enough said.  Pinterest is an AMAZING source of ideas for decorating on a budget.  My projects don’t always turn out the way they look on Pinterest, but I will share a few of the success stories:

-Wall art: I don’t have a headboard so I wanted something large to hang on the wall above my bed.  The only prints that were big enough yet affordable were regular posters (and remember, no more college decorations) so I knew I would have to DIY.  I found this picture on Pinterest:


My ex found a discarded pallet, popped the boards off, nailed them together, and I painted it.  This is what the finished product looks like:


Not bad, and it looks really nice hanging above my bed.  The only costs for this project were the paint, so I got a wall hanging for about $4.

Another DIY project I did for wall art was painting my own canvases.  Trust me, I am not an artist in any sense of the word.  I cannot draw/paint.  Instead of creating magnificent works of art, I created something much more simple.  I bought two 12×12 canvases at Hobby Lobby (for like $7 total).  On one canvas I measured out a chevron pattern.  I didn’t even want to mess with painter’s tape, so I just made a grid of 2×2″ squares and then used a straight edge to draw diagonal lines through the squares (for you visual learners it looked like this:)

Displaying photo.jpgI painted half the stripes a mint green, then used black paint to freehand the word “joy” across the top.  Simple, cheap and adorable.  I used the second canvas to make a similar piece of art (this time using red spray paint over a criss-cross pattern and wrote the word “faith”).

-Table decor:  I found that I needed to have something centered on my dining room table or else it became cluttered with junk (and it looked really naked).  I found this simple and inexpensive idea on Pinterest, and it made my apartment smell amazing:


I did a lot more DIY when it came to Christmas decorating, but seeing how that’s not really seasonally relevant right now I’ll leave that off.

These are just a few ideas that I had time/funding for before I left my apartment.  As soon as I find a new place I’m sure I’ll be embarking on a few more projects (can I keep a wall hanging my ex and I made together, even if I reallyyyyyy like?) so I’ll be sure to post along the way!


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