So you just moved into a brand new place, or maybe you’re trying to redesign the layout of your current space… but you’re tight on cash. You might be wondering how you’re going to find the funds to buy furniture and decorate your apartment in a way that doesn’t look super tacky or cheap. In a rental space, you might not have the freedom to paint walls or renovate rooms. Wondering how to style your apartment on a budget? There are tons of ways to tastefully (and temporarily) decorate your apartment on minimal funds so you can live in a chic, cute place that matches your personality and feels like home.
I’ve lived in my own one-bedroom apartment for over a year now, and these are all of the things I did and continue to do to make my rental feel more like my own.
Welcome to my guide on how to style your apartment on a budget!
Where To Find Design & Decor Inspiration
First things first, you are going to need some design inspiration. Here are a few places where you can look to find apartment style ideas:
Pinterest: Pinterest is your one-stop-shop for all things design inspo. All you have to do is enter a search for absolutely anything apartment or home related, and you will find thousands of photos of beautiful, quirky, uniquely designed rooms and decor. Organize and save your favorite pins by creating boards for each room in your apartment so you can easily refer back when it’s time to go shopping.
Instagram: Instagram is the social media platform where influencers typically showcase personal, behind-the-scenes images of their lives and homes. Think of your favorite fashion or general influencers, then check out their Insta-feeds. Chances are there will be photos of them drinking coffee in their gorgeous kitchens and high-angle shots of them sitting on beds of cozy blankets and fluffy pillows.
Home design magazines: Yes, magazines still exist, and they are great resources for finding design inspiration. Next time you visit the store, locate the magazine racks near the cash registers and flip through a home design magazine to see what’s trending when it comes to modern decor. No, you don’t have to buy those exact items, because they are probably extremely expensive, but you can search for similar things online or in-store elsewhere.
Google: Google is the most popular search engine for a reason. It returns millions and millions of blog posts and image results that are ranked in order of how relevant and how much value they provide users based on their search query. Type in “apartment decor inspiration” or “kitchen design ideas” or “how to style my living room” and either read the recommended blog posts or click over to Google Images to view thousands of related photos. The internet is a wonderful thing.
Apartment Styling Tips & Guidelines
Now that you have the inspiration of what you want your dream apartment to look like, it’s time for you to follow these general tips and guidelines for how to furnish your place:
Don’t fill your apartment with “stuff.” Minimalism, a philosophy that adopts the idea that less is more, is in. Enrich your apartment with meaningful items like souvenirs from past travels or things passed on to you by family members. Don’t waste your money by spending it on useless decor that serves no purpose. Opt for special, functional furnishings that add character to your space instead.
Follow a set color scheme. Chances are that your apartment will have neutral colored walls, and that’s okay. That just means that it’s up to you to complement those grays, beiges, and whites with pops of color. However, don’t go too crazy with colors (unless you have a funky style, then do your thing!) because it might be too overwhelming. Strive to maintain a consistent color scheme throughout your place mixed with splashes of colored accessories, like artwork, pillows, and blankets. Remember that specific colors can change an atmosphere, enhance a mood, and help to make your space appear more uniform, so choose wisely.
Get creative with your storage. A little bit of organization goes a long way, especially if you’re willing to get creative with it. This could entail something as small as piling up your mail that is scattered across your place and storing it in a hidden drawer or crafting a DIY project like restoring an old cabinet or dresser that somebody on your block put out on the curb as junk.
Keep things clean and orderly. It might sound silly and simple, but keeping your apartment tidy and neat will actually make it appear larger (and much nicer). Something as easy as making your bed every morning before work or vacuuming once a week will make a noticeable difference in the way your apartment looks.
Little Things To Buy For Your Apartment & Where To Find Them
Here is a short list of little things that will help to spice up your bedroom, living room, kitchen, or hallway:
• Throw pillows
• Decorative blankets
• Plants (MY FAVORITE!)
• Wall art/decals
• Removable wallpaper
• Area rugs
• Couch covers
• Fake/removable tile backsplashes
• DIY projects
And here are some cost-effective places where you can buy those items:
• Home Goods
• TJ Maxx
• Bargain websites (like Brad’s Deals)
• Facebook Marketplace
• Dollar stores
• Thrift stores
• Garage sales
Ballin’ On A Budget
Last but not least, here are a few ways to score decor for as low as possible, or even for free:
Use coupons and shop around for discounts. If you shop at more popular, mainstream stores, then you will most likely wind up paying top dollar for things you can find way cheaper elsewhere. If you do wish to shop there, check for coupons and special offers. For example, Bed Bath & Beyond regularly sends out coupons in the mail for 20% off an item or $5 off a purchase of $15 or more. A simple Google search will also return a bunch of online coupons you can use on your phone at checkout. Don’t be afraid to shop around for less expensive options for items of similar quality and style. If necessary, you can always spring and buy the more expensive item that you love so much and can’t live without, then spend carefully on everything else.
Check clearance sections for reduced and/or slightly damaged yet 100% useable items. No matter where I shop or what I’m shopping for, my favorite thing to do is browse the clearance section. Yes, because I’m thrifty, but mainly because I don’t see the need in throwing so much money toward a brand new item when I can spend a fraction of the price on something that looks gently used. Rather than buying a perfectly untouched garbage can for my kitchen at full price, I bought one with a couple of dings and dents in it on Marshall’s clearance shelf for $10 instead. Save your money and spend it where it counts.
Ask your family and friends if they want to give away anything that they don’t need anymore. Sometimes your parents, siblings, or close friends are clinging to things in their basement or closets that they outgrew, don’t want out for show, or just don’t have a need for anymore. If you ask, you might be pleasantly surprised to find that they have a bunch of cool things in mint condition for you to take off their hands. As a result, they clear up space and get rid of something they don’t want and you gain something that you need for free — it’s a win-win.
Thanks for reading! I hope this apartment style guide helps you to figure out where to find design inspiration, how to decorate your apartment, and where to get the things to pull it all off. Please feel free to share your own tips and personal experience in styling your apartment in the comments below.
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