You’ve just moved into an old apartment because you love the bones of the place. It’s all about retro architectural details, sash windows, and hardwood floors. But how do you make this place look “fancy”?
Let’s explore some easy ways to add a luxury vibe to your new place. If you’re renting your old apartment, remember to check in with your landlord about changing the paint color. But don’t worry! If painting or minor renovations aren’t permitted under your rental agreement, there’s plenty in this article to draw inspiration from.
Add a Sweet Amenity
Check your rental agreement but don’t rule out negotiating with your landlord to install a cabin sauna in your apartment. During the pandemic, saunas enjoyed a renaissance, with housebound virus-avoiders relaxing in the soothing heat of their home saunas.
A corner of the room is all you need to add a home sauna, giving yourself the gift of detoxification and healthy, glowing skin. And if your old apartment features a large, period bathroom, you can even make space for a small-footprint cabin sauna next to your shower. These units are inexpensive and simple to install.
What could be better during the winter months when you come home cold and tired? Imagine the comfort of a sauna in your own home. Tell me that’s not extravagant and glamorous! Bonus points for a cold shower in between sweaty sauna sessions!
Wall Treatments and Colors
Before you start the transformation, take a good look at the spaces and features of your apartment to devise a plan for its transformation. If you’re permitted to change the paint color, that’s your first move. Painting the walls for a high-end look is about creating a background for the extravagance and glamor to come.
If your apartment’s small, stick to lighter colors that visually expand the space. A feature wall can create a focal point in the living room. If you’re in a studio, use art to create the focal point or highlight an architectural feature like an old fireplace. Paint it in a feature color like marine blue or even a more attention-grabbing color like red or turquoise. Add contrast in items like throw pillows and decor pieces for tonal and textural interest.
If your rental agreement doesn’t allow painting, try a removable wallpaper on the feature wall or a large-scale art piece to do the job of creating a focal point in any given room.
A beautiful aquarium filled with colorful tropical fish instantly adds color, movement, and living art to your interiors. Filled with beautiful saltwater fish, coral, and unique underwater elements, an aquarium brings an extravagant touch of elegance to any space. And the reflections of the water on the walls and ceiling add even more artful texture to your glamorous DIY efforts.
The limited work involved in aquarium upkeep and the start-up costs of aquariums are well merited. For the cost of an aquarium, some gorgeous fish, and a few key aquarium supplies, you gain a window into aquatic life and an artful touch of extravagance to boost the glamor of your apartment through the roof. And the right aquarium becomes a key focal point in whichever room it’s placed, acting as a source of light, color, and movement.
Columns create an ambiance of age and distinction. You can create your own columns, serving only an aesthetic purpose. A column or columns in your apartment signal luxury rooted in Ancient Rome expressed in decorative elements for the sheer beauty they bring to your space. You can use wallpaper to decorate your columns, but I favor paint as a finish for this purpose.
Sponge your finished column with your feature color choice, then add “veins” in a metallic color to mimic marble. If you’re allowed to paint other architectural details like existing molding, tie the color used to your column or columns. You can even use an unexpected, ultra-bold color if that’s your style.
Add painted molding for the look of a Corinthian column, the most ornate found in Ancient Roman architecture. Molding needn’t be carved of wood for your column capital (the top portion). Use styrofoam molding, which is lightweight, inexpensive, and paint-friendly. You can even make an archway flanked by two columns, creating the arch from styrofoam as well. This classical touch is bound to completely transform your old apartment.
Whether your apartment is a studio or not, where you sleep should be a priority. You spend fully one-third of your life sleeping, so shouldn’t your sleep space be sublimely extravagant and beautiful? Of course, it should!
The bed you sleep in should be arrayed in the best quality bedding you can afford to buy. The thrill and comfort of sleeping on quality bedding cannot be overstated, so invest in quality and ratchet up the glamor quotient a notch.
A beautiful, high-quality comforter larger than your bed doubles as a bedspread when covered in a gorgeous fabric. A down, goose down, or a vegan alternative fill inside your comforter adds extravagance you can feel. Choose a delectably touchable fabric for your comforter cover that ties in with your feature color theme.
For those in studio apartments, think about investing in a screen to section off your boudoir area. Placing your bed in a partially hidden space adds Bohemian intrigue, especially when your screen is draped with a vintage, tasseled silk scarf. Large palms (artificial or real) can serve the same purpose as a screen, especially set in brass or clay pots. Whatever you do to define your sleeping space, make it a unique decor element that adds glamor and mystery to your unified space.
There’s no question that smart lighting choices can make a tremendous difference to your home’s ambiance. Even if you can’t paint the walls – or tear them out – you can paint them with color and texture, using lighting.
Choose lighting that sets a mood. Rice paper floor lamps cast a warm glow that’s unobtrusive in the evening, also warming winter’s overcast, light-deprived days. Use colored bulbs in red and yellow to warm your space with subtle, enlivening colors.
Punched tin or glass mosaic lamps are even more subtle, with light shining through apertures or pieces of colored glass that cast beautiful designs and shadows on the walls. A swag lamp from the 70s can hang over an overstuffed chair in the corner of the room, the light filtered through shades of harvest gold and avocado green.
In your bedroom, an oversized chandelier gives the room gravitas and glamor. When controlled by a remote dimmer, your chandelier casts either a soft glow or light to read by. Scour second-hand shops for vintage chandeliers. They don’t need to be perfect as you can spray paint them, adding crystals and other embellishments to create a highly personalized statement lighting piece.
Vary the intensity of your lighting and the styles of fixtures used. Table lamps, floor lamps, chandeliers, and globe lamps placed in unexpected places create an ambiance of extravagance and the sense that your apartment has been touched by a practiced interior design hand.
Easy to Achieve Extravagance and Glamor
To make your old apartment the showpiece you know it can be, all that’s required is a little creative vision, an investment of time, and a few bucks to get the job done. Here we’ve talked about a range of solutions for making your old apartment a more extravagant, glamorous place. But I hope I’ve inspired you to come up with some of your own. Here’s to loving where you live and making it the most glamorously nurturing place on earth!