Hanging art or decor to the walls is one of the best ways to add personality to a space. Art can also serve as a great source of inspiration for a color palette. Most tenants will allow small holes in the wall, especially since the damage is reversible with a little wall putty. If not, though, there are various 3M strips that work with different levels of hanging.
A favorite piece on my wall is a portrait of my dog Oliver that was painted by a friend. (You can contact her through her Etsy shop to request custom artwork!) I placed it in an ornate frame to add to the cheesy factor of, well, displaying a portrait of your own dog.
One of my earliest DIY projects was a frame collage, which has been with me for a few years now. Originally, I gathered an assortment of frames from Goodwill and spray-painted them a matte white. This past year, I added a gold gradient to the bottom third of the collage using--you guessed it--gold spray paint. I also hung a festive garland that I made over the winter holiday. The garland was a very simple project: I cut triangles out of pre-glittered paper from Michael's and used hot glue to adhere them to string. Garlands just look so joyful and fun!
Sometimes overhead lighting can be minimal and far from ideal. As a renter, I've been a victim of almost no overhead lighting for a while now. Another major pitfall of renting can be the color temperature of the light--for example, those dreaded fluorescent kitchen lights. Since lighting can be one of the most important factors in creating a mood within a space, it's something worth investing in. This customization is also fairly inexpensive. Look for desk or floor lamps at thrift stores, but be careful with old wiring; sometimes it can be a hazard! I bought this particular desk lamp from Target to put in my bedroom. This, along with the icicle lights, ensures that it's cozy and well-lit, especially considering the lack of overhead lighting!
Living in a studio apartment with almost no storage (apart from kitchen cabinets and a closet) has been an interesting challenge. I've found that it's almost always necessary to bring in additional methods of storage, the size dependent on the objects to be stored. In my bedroom area, I've been using a cube organizer, with the little fabric drawers. It's been a great value so far--great for storing magazines, smaller things like socks/undergarments and craft supplies. I'd imagine this particular organizer would be perfect for children's clothing, too.
Creating wall shelving is another simple way to make storage for books or other items you'd like to display. I must admit, most of my wall shelving is "cat shelves"--aka, carpeted shelves for a cat to perch upon. The one pictured is uncarpeted, though, and perfect for books and small objects. With only wooden planks and brackets, this project is pretty self-explanatory, but if you're curious, I used some inexpensive brackets, picked out the wood at a home improvement store and had it cut to the lengths I desired.