Alternative and DIY Home Decoration 101 – A Primer

When you’re young and living in an apartment or a dorm, chances are, you can’t do much to make that space feel like your own. Especially if you want to do really interesting, alternative things, and even more so if you don’t have a ton of money. Does this mean you’re bound to live with bare white walls and ugly furniture? Absolutely not! Here are some alternative/ punk/ emo home design tips for the DIY-inclined.

Color and ambience:

Most apartments and dorm rooms come with standard-issue white walls. Boring! Want to add some color, without much hassle? Christmas lights. Truly, there is no easier way to change the color, look, and feel of a room than by using these lights. They’re simple to hang: you can just tack them up around the border of your room’s ceiling. Put all red lights up, and your room will appear to have a red hue to it. You can even put up more than one color, and choose which set to plug in. Blue today, green tomorrow. It’s simple and affordable. To further add to the effect, you can switch the bulbs in some of your lamps to colored “party bulbs.”

Since a lot of emo kids like to have ambient lighting, this is a perfect choice. Even plain white Christmas lights can change the look of a room, without providing too much light.

Floors:

Do you have boring floors? Ugly tiles or nasty carpet? No problem. Buying an area rug can be expensive as anything… but many stores sell large, but affordable bath mats that you can use as smaller area rugs. It may sound strange, but there are plenty of stylish, large bathmats out there to choose from, including ones made of fake fur. Bonus: they’re meant to be slip-proof, and tend to be easier to clean if they get wet than an area rug.

Further, a DIY/punk type could easily buy and cut what is known as remnant carpet to either carpet smaller rooms or to make their own area rugs. The whole idea is to be creative!

Futons:

Did you inherit an old futon that isn’t the nicest ever? Futon covers are expensive, but you can find bed sheets that fit the futon for significantly less money. At “mall punk” stores, the average emo or punk kid could find all kinds of neat things, like Nightmare Before Christmas sheets… and even in the kids’ sections of regular stores, there are plenty of interesting and cute things. Halloween is a great time to seek out things like spider webs and pumpkins; Valentine’s day is great for hearts. Be creative! Throw blankets – usually cheap and made of fleece, are an affordable option to finish out your fun, personalized futon. Oh, and pillows! Don’t forget the pillows! You can usually find them for affordable prices [along with pillowcases of your choice] at major discount stores.

Your kitchen:

Craft store, craft store, craft store! I can’t stress this enough! You can find all kinds of things cheap and ready to customize, at almost any craft store. Storage tins, jars, and containers can be customized to hold anything from spoons and spatulas to food items or napkins. These stores, as well as major discount stores, also usually have affordable towels – though the holidays are a great time to stock up on ones you like. Craft foam can be used to make kitchen [or dining room] place mats – and you can customize them however you want, to boot!

Furniture

While you’re at the craft store, you may notice some unpainted, boring wooden furniture. Or maybe you’ll hit a thrift store and find some hideous looking, but functional, furniture. Your easy solution? Paint. Just buy some paint and sealant [that part is important; it will protect the paint] and make furniture that suits your needs and personality. Want a purple dresser? There’s nothing stopping you! You can paint your DIY furniture with a brush, or en try different techniques, like stencils or sponges, to get different effects or multiple hues.

General supplies:

If you are going to get into alternative and DIY home design, it is important to have some basic supplies:

It is always good to have a bucket and strong cleaner on hand, just in case something spills.

If you’re painting furniture or other items, an inexpensive drop cloth is a good idea. You can use a cheap plastic table cloth or shower curtain liner for this.

Pencils are good for sketching out designs, marking tack holes, or for jotting down measurements. Scissors and a sharp utility blade should also be in your bare basics kit, as should glue. A hot glue gun is great for decorating, especially if you will be adding things like jewels or stones to items [such a plain storage boxes or canisters]. A hot glue gun can also be used for small repairs on wooden items.

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