You know those days when you just feel gross? You're having a bad hair day, your clothes don't seem to fit right, so instead of exercising or working on your attitude you go out and buy some new clothes? We've been there, and it usually ends in buyer's remorse. The same thing can happen with your home. Although you might think a new sofa or a flatscreen TV will get your apartment out of its frumpy slump, you might be better off starting with a few cheap strategies for home improvement...
- Clean your home. It's usually the single best way to improve your environment, and it costs nothing. Plus, even a new sofa won't fix a dirty house.
- Get rid of something. It's free and free-ing. The bonus? Helping your apartment lose weight is a lot easier than dieting.
- Lay off the shelter porn. Just as ads make it seem like everyone's a beautiful underweight 21-year-old, shelter mags and blogs (yes, us too) often feature beautiful homes that can make your own space seem like it doesn't measure up. Work on learning to love your home for what it is.
- Paint. Nothing perks up a room like a fresh coat of paint, and the right color can offset things you already own, elevating your whole apartment to a new level.
- Rearrange your furniture. It's a really effective way to change your outlook on your home, it's free, and it gives you a good workout.
- Upgrade something. This doesn't necessarily mean you need to buy something new - you can revive an old piece of furniture with a coat of paint, reupholster a chair, or make a slipcover for something.
- Fix something. You know that drippy faucet, torn window screen, or broken doorknob? You'll feel better once it works again.
(Photo: Meg and Ross' lovely, non-frumpy Logan Square home by Evan Thomas