I Decided *Not* to Move in 2021 — Here’s How I Made My Home Feel Exciting Again for Less than $200

published Sep 5, 2021
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Credit: Minette Hand

If you’re reading Apartment Therapy, you likely have a “thing” for peering into other people’s apartments. Personally, I find great joy in scrolling through rental websites, perusing all of the local places available near me. Exposed brick living room? Yes, please! Renovated kitchen? Sign me up. High-rise balcony with good views? A girl can dream. It’s exciting to look at all of the options out there, but when it comes time to renew your lease, the possibility of starting anew becomes a very real thing to consider, and then the question becomes: Is it worth the effort of moving?

When my lease renewal came around in August, I decided to stay where I am for another year for several reasons: I live close to work, most of my friends are nearby, I’m paying a decent rate, and I’m finally feeling like my space is becoming my own. While the endless black hole of available apartments always calls my name, I had no real reason to pick up my life and start over, especially considering the hassle and cost of moving. Instead of throwing down money for movers and wasting time seeing apartments, I scratched my itch for change by sprucing up my apartment in small, affordable ways. Here’s what I did to make my space seem exciting again, and I highly recommend any or all of these ideas.

Credit: Kailey Hansen

Stylish storage for reorganizing

Upon renewing my lease, I tried to brainstorm a few practical ways to freshen things up. I have been stowing cleaning supplies above my washing machine, which is the perfect storage spot, but a little bit of an eyesore. I problem-solved with adorable Threshold wicker baskets from Target and am so pleased with how organized it has made this space feel. Similarly, I purchased the small version of this Hearth & Hand with Magnolia Wire Storage Basket so that I can prettily display some of my toiletries.

Buy: Hearth & Hand with Magnolia Wire Storage Basket, Starting at $8.99 from Target

Credit: Kailey Hansen

New art for the win

What better way to spruce up a room than with new decor? I didn’t go wild with redecorating my whole place, but I did allow myself to choose two new prints from the wonderful world of Etsy. My walls are still too bare for my liking, but the few pieces I have found tend to gravitate toward city-inspired art. I love a good three-flat, storefront, or brownstone, so I decided to find something aligning with this theme that also honors my favorite city. Enter this $28 Chicago Home Styles print from the seller WonderCityStudio.

The pride and joy of my living room is my TV stand-turned-decorative piece, where I often rotate knick-knacks. I switched things up here with an Etsy print from one of my favorite movies of all time, “You’ve Got Mail,” created by Etsy seller elliedawndesigns. Remember how I said I love storefronts? How gorgeous is this sketch of The Shop Around The Corner? Kathleen Kelly would be proud. You don’t even have to frame prints if you aren’t ready to. Just lean your new additions up against a surface, and you can worry about hanging them later.

Buy: You’ve Got Mail Shop Around the Corner Print, Starting at $13.00 from Etsy

Credit: Kailey Hansen

Refresh your bed linens

I have a confession to make: For the last year, I have been living off a singular set of bedsheets (that I wash regularly — please don’t come at me!) During this mission to spruce up my home though, I decided it was time to be an adult and invest in new sheets. I’m happy to report that I retired my beloved striped set and upgraded to two brand new sets of bedsheets: ultra-affordable Room Essentials sheets from Target and comfy, highly-rated Sonoro Kate sheets from Amazon. Yes, they are both gray. What can I say? I am a creature of habit!

Credit: Kailey Hansen

Give your home a signature scent

New season, new candle! If there’s one thing I do right in this life, it’s that I usually wait for a candle to burn out before replacing it with a new one. I finished burning a $5 summer candle from Target and decided that, amidst my splurging, I’d invest in a new one from Anthropologie. Behold the Boulangerie Jar candle from Illume! I love burning the whipped cream and pear scent in my kitchen, and I’m happy to report that the scent wafts nicely throughout my entire 600-square-foot space.

Buy: Boulangerie Jar, Stating at $18.00 from Anthropologie

Credit: Kailey Hansen

Clean and purge what you can

This $0 investment was probably the most effective in rekindling my apartment love. Yes, I tidy up often, but I’m talking about a big purge followed by a deep-cleaning journey. After getting rid of old clothes, shoes, and items I never really use anymore, I felt like my freshly scrubbed home was as good as new. It also helped me to feel better about the possibility of investing in new things as needed.

These minor changes, which cost me a total of $155, really renewed my appreciation for my cozy little slice of heaven, and made me excited to spend one more year in my home!