10 Super-Easy DIYs For A Better Apartment

So many projects, not enough time. That's our thought at the close of every weekend. Friday brings with it the best of home-decor intentions — let's redo a closet, and the outside trim could use a coat of paint! Then, life comes along and we have relatives in town, wedding showers to throw, and crucial fall TV to watch (priorities). Once again, our bed-building, kitchen-renovating ideas prove to be nothing but dreams. There's a lot going on, but those projects shouldn't fall off the bottom of the list.
The key to successful home improvement is choosing digestible assignments that, while only taking a couple hours to complete, still have huge impact. So, we picked 10 medium-level projects that don't require hiring a contractor or going all in at a designer furniture showroom. Even so, they'll produce the kind of results that'll make your friends think you've been DIYing in all your free time for months. From painting ceilings to reframing mirrors, these tasks are truly worth your precious, little time. Even better, see if those relatives can lend a hand.
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Photo: Courtesy of CB2.
Install New Kitchen Lights
Lighting might be the most important facet of any space — bold statement, we know. But, think about how unwelcoming a harsh, fluorescent vibe can be. If your kitchen and eating area are joined, the light you use has to work for both. You need to be able to see what you're chopping, but also have the ambience for a romantic dinner. Don't have time to switch out fixtures? Buy a softer wattage bulb.
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Photographed by Erica Gannett.
Rehang Your Curtains
The second most important decor move? Window treatments. Either switch out the color of your drapes or try raising them slightly. Better yet, do both. A small adjustment can dramatically change your room's feel.
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Photographed by Winnie Au.
Rearrange Your Art
So simple, but truly the most dramatic change you can make. Think about your walls as a gallery space and be sure to rotate your exhibits every so often. There will always be something interesting for your guests — more importantly, for you! — to check out.
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
Hang Succulents From The Ceiling
Installing hooks in the ceiling might be a slightly awkward reach, but the Zen benefit of these upside-down greens is huge. Having succulents or flowers hanging from above breathes life over the whole room. If you know you'll water less if you can't reach them easily, try air plants, like this one in our S.F. editor's kitchen.
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Photo: Courtesy of A Beautiful Mess.
Trick Out Your Dresser
There isn't a DIY from the blog A Beautiful Mess that doesn't wow us. These decoupaged dresser drawers add a playful and surprising element to a traditional piece of furniture.
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Photo: Courtesy of Welke.
Paint A Dramatic Ceiling
If you have low ceilings, opt for a softer hue. But, if you're blessed with higher heights, try a darker, dramatic color. Painting overhead can be tricky, so check out this video. The author's trying it this weekend, and will report back!
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Photographed by Erica Gannett.
Refresh All Your Baseboards
Often overlooked, the trim at the bottom of walls is usually a grimy situation. Give yours a good scrub, tape off the wall with painters tape, and then apply a fresh coat of white. The whole space will seem brighter.
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Photo: Courtesy of The Makers.
Reframe Your Mirrors
Adding a mirror to an entryway or small area can create the illusion of a more spacious room. Once you've got that taken care of, add a custom frame; it's a subtle touch that's less expensive than purchasing a brand new piece of glass. This tutorial by The Maker's Society is easy to follow and the copper manages to be both sophisticated and bright.
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Photographed by Gunnar Larson.
Install A High Shelf
If you live in a small space, chances are you don't have a ladder hanging around anywhere. Call up your super and ask to use that step stool in the basement. All those pretty but infrequently used dishes or cookbooks will look far better tucked away on a perch.
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
Repot All Your Plants
Putting your green friends in new homes will add instant cheer. We're obsessed with the offerings at Heath Ceramics. Replanting is also always a good opportunity to see what greens have outgrown their current homes. Some may need to upsize.
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