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Our Tiny Apartment Makeover

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Our first place as newlyweds was a tiny apartment in Phoenix. With almost no budget for new furniture, I had to get creative and find a way to give our place a a makeover. All we had was a dorm room couch and crates for side tables! Check out what I did to our living room, dining room and master bedroom to update the look and make way for our (almost) honeymoon baby. -Katherine Wandell Blog Homemaking By Design. Apartment therapy, budget decor, yellow living room, home decor,

If you’ve been following me for any length of time then you know that I am a home decor and DIY freak. My dreams are filled with my next project. My days are spent looking for something to paint.

It’s an addiction and I seriously need help. However, I wasn’t always this way. I was once a newbie who didn’t know the difference between flat and satin paint. By the way, I hate flat paint with a passion.

This post is about how I took our first apartment from basic to stylish. This makeover had to stay under a strict newlywed budget of $300. I’m going to talk about what I did to make over the place, however, this is not a full tutorial on how to makeover any apartment. This is about how to add style make everything look put together.

Our Apartment Was Tiny!

After our honeymoon, we lived with my mom. Josh and I were married only 3 months when we found out we were pregnant. We needed to find a place fast, so we moved into a teeny tiny apartment in central Phoenix.

This apartment was only 635 square feet. We had the furniture from my bedroom at my moms, which consisted of a couch, entertainment center and two shelves. My dorm room Ikea couch took up most of our living room.

My husband started decorating right away when we moved in. He hung up this huge American flag signed by the guys he was deployed with while he was a Marine. I admired his willingness to make our new place feel like home. However, I didn’t really want an Americana themed living room.

In our apartment, the dining room was right off the kitchen. It was just big enough for a table. The kitchen was tiny. We had the basics minus a dishwasher. It was just what we needed at the time. You can see above the space we had to work with.

Our apartment was livable but didn’t feel organized, functional or put together. It really needed to have a cohesive look. It needed to look bright, cheerful and uplifting. I talked to my husband about decorating but, we decided we would do it later.

An Opportunity To Decorate

After a month or two husband Joshua left for a six-week course in Cali. Leaving me and my pregnant growing belly behind. Finally I had a chance and reason to work on things. It being our first place together, I wanted to surprise him and make over our dining room table. That project is what led me to do the entire apartment.

You can see My Dining Room Table Makeover Post Here

I also made some signs to go with the table. You can see those above. The colors were inspired by these  “Happy Days” by Corelle Plates you see below. These are amzingly durable and we got them off our wedding registry.

One of the reasons I was really into bright colors at the time, was because we were living in a very poor area of central Phoenix. The apartment walls were gray and dreary and we weren’t allowed to paint them. Attempting to bring the sunshine inside, I made yellow my main color and gray secondary for this makeover.

An Apartment Makeover For Under $250

Here is the cost breakdown for what I spent on the apartment makeover :

  • Bought A New Couch ($80)
  • Paint For Our Old Entertainment Center ($5)
  • Bought and Painted A Desk For My Mini Office ($20)
  • DIY-ed Some Art and Signs For Behind The Couch (Paint Cost $5)
  • Paint For The Dining Room Table & Chairs ($30)
  • Bought Crib + Night Stands For Our Bedroom ($50)
  • Silver Spray Paint For Two Old Thrift Store Lamps I Also Bought New Shades ($35)
  • Bought Fabric and Sewed Pillows For The Couch & Slipcovers For The Side Tables ($15)

To start this makeover I purchased a new (to me) Ikea couch for $80 and DIY-ed some decor. Some of the DIY projects I made to makeover the apartment included the black “W” and yellow frame pictured below.

Our first place as newlyweds was a tiny apartment in Phoenix. With almost no budget for new furniture, I had to get creative and find a way to give our place a a makeover. All we had was a dorm room couch and crates for side tables! Check out what I did to our living room, dining room and master bedroom to update the look and make way for our (almost) honeymoon baby. -Katherine Wandell Blog Homemaking By Design. Apartment therapy, budget decor, yellow living room, home decor,

These I cut out of FREE abandoned plywood I got from Home Depot and shaped with a jigsaw. For the yellow frame I blew up a wedding photo of us at staples for $4 and decoupaged it onto a poster board. The posterboard was glued onto the frame.

Our first place as newlyweds was a tiny apartment in Phoenix. With almost no budget for new furniture, I had to get creative and find a way to give our place a a makeover. All we had was a dorm room couch and crates for side tables! Check out what I did to our living room, dining room and master bedroom to update the look and make way for our (almost) honeymoon baby. -Katherine Wandell Blog Homemaking By Design. Apartment therapy, budget decor, yellow living room, home decor, apartment therapy

To brighten up the grey couch I made my own throw pillows.  I found some fabric with yellow, grey and white patterns. I bought 5 yards for $10. Having some material left over, I also made fabic covers for our side tables.

Our first place as newlyweds was a tiny apartment in Phoenix. With almost no budget for new furniture, I had to get creative and find a way to give our place a a makeover. All we had was a dorm room couch and crates for side tables! Check out what I did to our living room, dining room and master bedroom to update the look and make way for our (almost) honeymoon baby. -Katherine Wandell Blog Homemaking By Design. Apartment therapy, budget decor, yellow living room, home decor,

On the wall behind the couch I also framed a puzzle that I made for my husband. While we were separated for two months back when we were dating, I would mail him two pieces of the puzzle every week until he could finally put the whole thing together. It has a poem on the front and a special message on the back.

Our first place as newlyweds was a tiny apartment in Phoenix. With almost no budget for new furniture, I had to get creative and find a way to give our place a a makeover. All we had was a dorm room couch and crates for side tables! Check out what I did to our living room, dining room and master bedroom to update the look and make way for our (almost) honeymoon baby. -Katherine Wandell Blog Homemaking By Design. Apartment therapy, budget decor, yellow living room, home decor, apartment therapy

Our first place as newlyweds was a tiny apartment in Phoenix. With almost no budget for new furniture, I had to get creative and find a way to give our place a a makeover. All we had was a dorm room couch and crates for side tables! Check out what I did to our living room, dining room and master bedroom to update the look and make way for our (almost) honeymoon baby. -Katherine Wandell Blog Homemaking By Design. Apartment therapy, budget decor, yellow living room, home decor,

These state signs above were made with my silhouette cameo cutting machine. I made Washington state where I grew up and my husband and I met. Then Wisconsin where my husband grew up and is from and last Arizona where we were married and settled.

In our living room, there was an awkward corner that I used for my office/craft area. I bought an old desk on craigslist and decided to paint and stencil that too.  You can see my desk makeover HERE: $15 Craigslist Desk Makeover

Our first place as newlyweds was a tiny apartment in Phoenix. With almost no budget for new furniture, I had to get creative and find a way to give our place a a makeover. All we had was a dorm room couch and crates for side tables! Check out what I did to our living room, dining room and master bedroom to update the look and make way for our (almost) honeymoon baby. -Katherine Wandell Blog Homemaking By Design. Apartment therapy, budget decor, yellow living room, home decor,

Our entertainment center was boring and plain, so I painted that as well. With a touch of paint and some left over fabric, it got the facelift it needed! This was actually painted in place and you can see the before and tutorial HERE: Media Cabinet Makeover.

 

Our first place as newlyweds was a tiny apartment in Phoenix. With almost no budget for new furniture, I had to get creative and find a way to give our place a a makeover. All we had was a dorm room couch and crates for side tables! Check out what I did to our living room, dining room and master bedroom to update the look and make way for our (almost) honeymoon baby. -Katherine Wandell Blog Homemaking By Design. Apartment therapy, budget decor, yellow living room, home decor,

In our entry I hung frames from places we’ve been, which were also the centerpieces at our wedding. Each frame had a picture of us at the destination and the name of the place on the frame.

The picture below is not the best quality but it is the only picture I took of the wall. In the top left I made a little decal that says “Places We’ve Been”.

Our first place as newlyweds was a tiny apartment in Phoenix. With almost no budget for new furniture, I had to get creative and find a way to give our place a a makeover. All we had was a dorm room couch and crates for side tables! Check out what I did to our living room, dining room and master bedroom to update the look and make way for our (almost) honeymoon baby. -Katherine Wandell Blog Homemaking By Design. Apartment therapy, budget decor, yellow living room, home decor, apartment therapy

I didn’t have a before of the bedroom, but this is how it looked when my husband came home. Before it was just a bed and lamp. Adding night stands and a crib for our soon to be born son, the room finally felt complete. The name sign above our son’s crib was the last thing I put up before my husband came home.

My Husband Finally Came Home

While my Husband was gone for the six weeks, I didn’t tell him anything about the makeover. I wanted it to be a complete SURPRISE! So the photo below show his reaction when he walked in the door after being gone . I also included the rest of the pictures from the makeover.

Our first place as newlyweds was a tiny apartment in Phoenix. With almost no budget for new furniture, I had to get creative and find a way to give our place a a makeover. All we had was a dorm room couch and crates for side tables! Check out what I did to our living room, dining room and master bedroom to update the look and make way for our (almost) honeymoon baby. -Katherine Wandell Blog Homemaking By Design. Apartment therapy, budget decor, yellow living room, home decor,

Below is the  little command center I created on a wall in the dining room. Since I was pregnant I needed a place to keep all the appointments and reading material.  You can tell below, my husband was super enthusiastic about the command center.

Our first place as newlyweds was a tiny apartment in Phoenix. With almost no budget for new furniture, I had to get creative and find a way to give our place a a makeover. All we had was a dorm room couch and crates for side tables! Check out what I did to our living room, dining room and master bedroom to update the look and make way for our (almost) honeymoon baby. -Katherine Wandell Blog Homemaking By Design. Apartment therapy, budget decor, yellow living room, home decor,

Well that is the story of how a very pregnant lady accomplised wayyy too many painting projects in a short amount of time. I’m happy to say no unborn babies were harmed in the making of these projects. I made sure to wear a professional painting mask the whole time.

My husband was really impressed with his newlywed wife’s DIY skills. I was astonished at what I could do too and was even more excited to start my next big adventure…..giving birth for the first time!

Our first place as newlyweds was a tiny apartment in Phoenix. With almost no budget for new furniture, I had to get creative and find a way to give our place a a makeover. All we had was a dorm room couch and crates for side tables! Check out what I did to our living room, dining room and master bedroom to update the look and make way for our (almost) honeymoon baby. -Katherine Wandell Blog Homemaking By Design. Apartment therapy, budget decor, yellow living room, home decor,

I really enjoyed making over our apartment and surprising my husband. If you were curious about what paint colors I used in our apartment, here are the color codes and brands below.

 

This makeover was easy and cost less then $15 bucks! Paint and a stencil easily transformed this boring desk into something amazing!-Find the tutorial at katherinewandell.comCheck out this yellow media cabinet / entertainment center makeover. Sunshine living roomYellow tv cabinets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you think of this apartment makeover? Is there anything you would have done different?

Have you completed any big projects like this before?

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( This post contains affiliate links. Which means I make a small commission for purchases made through links in this post. The price of each item is the same for you whether you use the links or not. Using affiliate links helps me to maintain this website. You can read my full disclosure here)

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Our first place as newlyweds was a tiny apartment in Phoenix. With almost no budget for new furniture, I had to get creative and find a way to give our place a a makeover. All we had was a dorm room couch and crates for side tables! Check out what I did to our living room, dining room and master bedroom to update the look and make way for our (almost) honeymoon baby. -Katherine Wandell Blog Homemaking By Design. Apartment therapy, budget decor, yellow living room, home decor,

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This Post Has 11 Comments
  1. I love your decor, the yellow really brightens the place up! I actually have to think about doing something like that. We have brown EVERYTHING. I feel like I really need to brighten my house up with some other colors! Lol

  2. Oh my gosh, I’ve been looking forward to reading this since I first saw you post about it on Instagram! You did not disappoint!!! <3 This is so amazing, I wish I had skills like this! I love crafty stuff, but you definitely know more than I do. You should come decorate my home πŸ˜‰

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