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Decorating a rented apartment on a thrifty budget

I’ve been renting since Methuselah was in short pants. Or at least that’s how it feels. I moved out of my family home in Roscommon when I was 18 and I’m now 31.

Renting brings independence and freedom but with it comes the responsibility of paying the rent, bills, cleaning/general drudgery, dealing with law-breaking landlords and horrible housemates.

I always tried to inject a little personality into my rented rooms, whether it was my carefully chosen posters from the college poster sale (James Dean and Garfield) or my Marilyn Monroe cushion and Breakfast at Tiffany’s canvas print (cringe) and a ‘Bang Head Here’ sign!

I’ve lived in 12 rented properties, one friend’s floor, and two wooden cabins when I worked at a summer camp in Pennsylvania but my current apartment is the first time I’ve had my own lease.

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My living room is a little drab but my plants and some fairy lights give it a lift

It was an exciting and scary move from casually renting a room and although I didn’t have another person to move in with me and split the rent with at the time, I jumped at the chance.

The apartment consists of two bedrooms, one double, one single, a large living room/kitchen and a bathroom.

When I first moved in, it smelled musty, opening the ancient sash windows required brute strength and it was lacking in character.

In time I found a roomie and I starting making my apartment feel like home.

 

 

 

 

 

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The living room when I moved in (I nicked that clothes hamper for the bedroom)

I made a few small changes, such as buying plants, canvasses in the charity shop and a mirror from H&M to give it a more homely feel.

 

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Metal edge mirror H&M. Pic: H&M.com

This mirror was €14.99 plus delivery but I saw a very similar one for about €11 in New Look.

I took my own photos of this mirror but unfortunately, my editing programme cropped it really weirdly and it didn’t look right.

 

 

It’s often a case of make do in a rented place as most have uniform drab furniture and haven’t been painted in years but a print on the walls or a throw over an ugly sofa can give the place a facelift.

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A slight facelift for the ugly sofa

My sofa is hideous and worn so I put a throw on top along with blue velvet cushions* I got in Penneys and another cushion I nicked from my family home. We got the throw from my boyfriend’s sister’s apartment after she moved.

Like many other renters, I don’t have much left once I pay my rent and bills so I look out for cute homewares in the charity shops.

I found these two little canvasses for €3 each and put them up in my bedroom on hooks that were already there.

 

For the living room, I picked up three other canvasses for roughly €9.

They are a bit crooked as the hooks aren’t all at the same height but they give the place a little character and as they are quite muted colours, they suit the overall tone of the room.

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Canvasses in the living room

I also found this seashell dish for just under €3 which I thought would be perfect for storing jewellery.

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Shell dish for storing jewellery

When my jewellery is stored away, I often forget to wear it so this is handy to grab earrings out of.

I also got several plants which I adore. One of my cactus plants came from my old office while the other two I bought in Lyon Loring in Stoneybatter. I’m also trying to grow an avocado plant on the windowsill.

Succulents are the best plants for an apartment as they’re not too high-maintenance.

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My beloved cacti plants

My apartment has large windowsills so I use these as a focal point. On my bedroom windowsill, I have a white rug* and palm tree light* from Penneys, along with some plants, candles and jewellery dish.

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Lamp and cacti plants

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My boyfriend moved in with us recently so while it’s great to have someone to share the rent and bills with, I also had to make room for his stuff and give up some wardrobe space!

I found this pretty Newbridge Silverware box left down by the bins one day so I salvaged it to store belts in. I used to hang them on the back of the bedroom door but they took up too much room there.

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A box for my belts

The bathroom was another area where we needed more storage, with three people’s towels all over the place!

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The bathroom
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Over-the-door towel hooks are a lifesaver!

We only had one hook on the door and one rail but I found these over-the-door hooks* in Penneys which proved to be the perfect solution.

All the towels are from IKEA.

Having two sets of bed linen has been an adult aspiration of mine for some time but I somehow never got round to it.

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Tropical duvet cover and matching pillowcases

I found this beautiful set in Penneys and it looks lovely on the bed (I don’t have time to iron bed linen so excuse the creases).

The flower lights at the top of the bed are also from Penneys but they aren’t much good unless the room is totally dark.

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Double duvet cover and pillowcases

I think this was about €25 for a double with matching pillowcases, can’t quite remember! I bought a pale pink fitted sheet to go with it for about €6.

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Tropical print duvet cover from Penneys

I decided not to put in full photos of the rooms as I’m not quite happy with how they look yet. The apartment could definitely do with a lick of paint and we nearly always have a clotheshorse out so, at the moment, I’m focusing on small areas!

DISCLOSURE: This is not a sponsored post but all of the items marked with an asterix were bought with a voucher gifted to me by Penneys. They did not ask for coverage or to feature items I bought in this post.

All other items, including Penneys items not marked with an asterix were bought with my own money. There are no affiliate links within this post.

I hope you all enjoyed this interiors post and if you’d like to see more of my apartment, leave me a comment below by clicking the grey speech bubble icon.

My next post will feature a thrifty haul from Bray’s charity shops so stay tuned.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to check out my InstagramTwitter and Facebook page.

Edel

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