Use dramatic, lush curtains to make your apartment feel bigger.

It’s a given: you don’t own your apartment. But who says you can’t make it your home? Follow these eleven tips to transform your new apartment into a space you can call your own.

Get Some Backbone

As long as you return the apartment back to its original shape before you move out, most landlords are okay with changing the curtains, painting or adding light fixtures. So ask your landlord what you can and can’t change. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Brighten Up the Place

New light fixtures can be an inexpensive way to immediately change the ambiance of a room. Dim lighting creates a soothing and romantic cast. Canister lights are perfect for washing light up a wall. And make sure you add fixtures that express your style.

Combat the Rectangles

New York apartments typically combine the living and dining rooms into one long room. If you’re not careful you could end up with a bowling alley. To break up the monotony, introduce irregular shapes to the rooms. Round tables, curved chairs and rugs with shapes are great solutions.

Replace the Curtains

You shouldn’t have to live with the bland venetian blinds standard in most apartments. Replace them with dramatic, lush curtains that make your apartment feel bigger. Think bold colors and height—like floor to ceiling.

Open Up the Dining Room

One quick way to make your apartment seem more spacious is to use a glass dining table and Lucite chairs.

Scale Your Space

When decorating your apartment, keep size in mind. If it’s on the small side, a large stuffed couch or massive bookshelf could create an unwelcome imbalance. Choose furniture appropriate for your space.

Embed Your Bed

Even though there are some great Murphy bed options on the market, one way to really make a statement with your new apartment—and signal that this is indeed your home—is to put it out in the open. Create depth and luxury by layering it with linens and fabrics and a sophisticated mix of colors, prints and pillows.

Showcase Your Shelves

Bookshelves are a great way to put your passions on display and turn your apartment into a home. Their height allows you to stack and hang crafts and objects that define who you are and reflect your everyday life.

Maximize with Mirrors

Since you can move mirrors just about anywhere your decorative options are limitless. Mirrors allow you to accentuate and reflect characteristics of the room that add depth and color.

Power with Flowers

Even a simple shelf hung in the living room with four flower arrangements can add elegance and style on a budget.

Enliven with Paint

Last but not least, you can give your apartment that overnight makeover with a paint job. But if painting the entire apartment will break your bank, then choose one room at a time—preferably the space you will spend the most time in.

With these eleven tips you can turn any apartment into an amazing home you can be proud of.