When I entered my first ever apartment in Toronto I didn’t realize how much I would have to learn and unlearn as a renter. Still in university, living alone for the first time had its perks. I had the privacy that I valued deeply and finally the freedom to run things my way (these two are nearly impossible when you are from a South Asian household.)
Despite the overpriced rent in some areas around the city, a single bedroom in Toronto offers a comfortable space for student renters and single professionals. My new apartment was just renovated with newly painted white walls and a new bathtub. Although I was excited about the bathtub, I wasn’t thrilled about the walls. My idea of a nice wall is anything but white, so I began my DIY interior design journey. After countless trips to IKEA, thrift stores and 6,700 hours of Youtube videos about interior designing, I have learned some easy and affordable ways to personalize a space without breaking the bank.
1. Invest in peel-and-stick removable wallpaper/stick tiles
These will save you time and money. Most landlords in Toronto are picky about what you do to their walls. Some of them allow repainting as long as you change it back to the original colour before moving out. And if you are a hassle avoider like me, you know painting is a lot of work and will most likely delay the move-in process. However, there is still a way to make any wall look like it’s out of Architectural Digest.
Forget the boring old white walls and get an instant makeover using these removable wallpapers. Sticking some of these stick tiles on your bathroom or your kitchen backsplash will add an instant colour and character to space. Imagine being able to give the illusion of your walls being made of wood or your bathroom having a nice contrast with coloured tiles. Not only is this method more cost-effective, but the stickers are also easy to remove. Some of them are reusable and can be carried over to your new place. They are easy to install and come in a variety of patterns and colours, perfect for any design goal.
2. Replace the door knobs with something more elevated
A simple but effective way to add uniqueness to your space. Most apartments come with knobs that are not as eye-catching as you would hope. This is exactly the reason why you should invest in some good quality trendy knobs that will make your bathroom and kitchen cupboards stylish. Knobs are easy to install and only require a screwdriver. A new set of knobs can help you bring character to space and allow you to spend less on other more expensive decor items. This is also a hassle-free way to decorate as you can store the old knobs until it is time to move out.
Most rental apartments in Toronto allow for temporary changes done in the apartment as long as it is reversible. Apartments in Toronto can either be owned by individual owners or companies, so this is why it is always best to check in with your landlord before moving to make sure you know the do’s and don’ts. I would suggest using knobs that can be screwed into your cupboard without drilling.
Where to shop: IKEA, Home Depot
3. Thrift at consignment stores for decor
While it is nice to have new things, sometimes thrifting will allow you to find hidden gems for decor. For students like me, budget is important and that’s why shopping at thrift stores and consignment stores is a good way to buy distinctive items at a bargain. Meaningful decor is as important as having plants in your space. Using small home decor pieces for your tabletops and counters is an easy way to let your creativity flow without having to make major changes in the apartment, as you are working with what is already there.
There are many options in Toronto for furniture and home decor thrifting. While decor shopping may be time-consuming for some, it is a good investment in the long term. Most pieces you buy will probably move with you from apartment to apartment. A good design tip to keep in mind while shopping for decor is to look for one that can be adaptable to any space. If you are someone who likes to change up your space once in a while, this will ensure that you can restyle your decor to fit the new space.
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