This Interior Designer's Brilliant Hacks For Fixing "Ugly Apartments" Are Going Viral, And They're Game-Changing For Anyone With Beige Carpets
If you've ever rented an "ugly apartment" — you know, the ones with questionable wall-to-wall carpeting, appliances that feel like they were manufactured in the Roman Empire, and finishes that disgust you to the soul level — you know how painful it can be to make it truly feel like home.
Truth be told, successfully decorating a rental with less-than-ideal finishes can seem altogether impossible. I know from personal experience living in New York City, the capital of questionable apartments, that most home decor tips and strategies tend to focus on blank-slate spaces instead of the ones that feel like they're stuck in the 1900s. Although converting these spaces into aesthetically pleasing abodes can feel hopeless, it actually might be more attainable than you'd imagine.
Recently, interior designer Tommy Landen Huerter went viral on TikTok for this exact reason. In his video, which has now been viewed close to one million times, Tommy offers design tips for people with, as one commenter specifies, "ugly" apartments, featuring everything from '80s-core oak cabinets to white appliances and beige carpeting.
"I get it, not all apartments are cute," Tommy says in the video, "but there's always things you can do to improve." These are some of the ugly-turned-stunning apartment tips that commenters most resonated with, along with a few that Tommy shared with BuzzFeed directly.
Just to reiterate: These are all renter-friendly! (And even though they're geared toward a very particular type of apartment, these tips can be applied broadly in most homes.)
ROOM #1: The kitchen.
1.Plain and simple: layering. Layer in lots of decor. As Tommy says, you'll make it "more of a canvas" by incorporating objects you might not expect in a kitchen.
2.Swap out the hardware on your kitchen cabinets for pulls and handles with more modern finishes.
3.If your kitchen is backsplash-less, Tommy suggests investing in a peel-and-stick backsplash, which can be easily installed without any specialty equipment or expertise and produce "very convincing" results.
ROOM #2: The living room.
4.Contrary to popular belief, you can (and should!) put a rug over carpeting. "It can make a big difference, especially if the carpet is bad," Tommy says.
5.And since lighting can make all the difference in how we perceive a room, both in the quality of the fixture and the light it produces, don't be afraid to switch out your ceiling light fixtures.
But importantly: Choose your fixtures wisely, and hang on to the old ones so you can swap them back on move-out day.
6.Beyond ceiling lights, it's important to layer and diversify the other lighting elements you have in your room. In other words: Yes, you need light fixtures beyond your ceiling lights to give the room dimension and character.
In his video, he recommends a pair of budget-friendly spotlights as uplights, since "you can stick them anywhere and they make a huge difference." But your other light fixtures should be a combination of floor lights, table lamps, or other light sources for the most decorative touch.
ROOM #3: The bathroom.
7.Pay attention to the smaller details that might not change a space on their own, but can make a massive difference when paired with all the other small elements.
8.Hang art in your bathroom, "especially if you have pieces that might feel too bold for other spaces in your home," Tommy added.
9.And finally: Optimize the items you'll use to store and organize your stuff for the most "spa-like" results.
For more renter-friendly home decor advice, you can follow Tommy on TikTok and Instagram.
If you try any of these design hacks in your own home, let me know how it turns out! And if you're a renter, what are the most game-changing, renter-friendly upgrades you've made to your space? Tell me all about them in the comments below.
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