So you found an apartment and now you want to make it feel more like a home without spending a fortune. The trademark white walls and overhead lighting in some rental properties leaves much to be desired and decorating can be a challenge when your options are limited by rental rules.
So, what is a renter with style and a small budget to do? Whether your taste is traditional, eclectic, minimalist or kitschy it is possible to create a desirable living space on without spending a fortune when you use a little bit of creativity. Here are 5 ways to decorate your apartment on a budget.
1. Decide on your color scheme and stick to it to give your apartment a polished look. Blending colors that contrast with white walls will make the space feel more open. Cool colors like green, turquoise, blue, and purple can make a room feel more spacious and elegant. Warm colors like orange, yellow, and red can make the space appear cozy and intimate.
2. Make your windows a work of art. There are numerous ways to creatively dress up your windows without it costing a fortune.
Before you begin, measure your windows (starting from where you will install the curtain rod). This will help you determine how much fabric you will need (consult with a local fabric store to help you determine how much fabric you will need for this project)
- Look for a basic medium-weight fabric such as cotton or a cotton-linen blend so it is easy to work with. Bright colors or patterns will give a refreshing contrast to the monotone white walls in your apartment.
- To make your ceilings seem taller, hang the curtains 6-10 inches above the window.
- Consult with a DYI website to get easy sewing tips on simple curtains. If you don’t sew, you can always use an adhesive fabric tape.
- Hang your homemade curtains with inexpensive clip rings which can be purchased at most hardware stores or any Target or Walmart.
- If you want an even easier window treatment, you can of course purchase inexpensive pre-made curtains at most stores. Fabric shower-curtains are another option, and are easy to install. You can even make a window valance using a scarf or a tablecloth.
2. Bring in area rugs to add more color. If you are decorating on a budget, an area rug (or 2) is a big purchase. Look for bargains online and at discount stores like IKEA, thrift stores or resale sites like eBay or CraigsList. Once you find the right rug that fits in with your color scheme, place the rug in the middle of the room to frame your space.
3. Choose light and functional furniture (if possible).
Chances are, you probably do not have a budget to buy all new furniture. For many of us apartment dwellers, our furniture chooses us when we inherit pieces from our family members. Despite popular belief, you don’t need as much furniture as you think.
- Remember- what you move in, you will eventually need to move out. So go light and stick with the essential pieces- a few living room pieces for seating and storage, a dining room table, a bed and a dresser is really all you need to get started.
- You cand find great deals on used furniture at thrift stores or resale sites like CraigsList.
- If you get a thrift store sofa, consider covering it with an inexpensive slip cover in a soft or muted color that blends with your accent colors. Repurposing furniture from a thrift store is also great way to go green.
- If you must buy new furniture, find some that you can assemble yourself (IKEA is a great place to find this). This will make moving in and moving out easier.
- Make your own throw pillows in the same color scheme as your curtains to pull together the look in your living room and bedroom.
- Go to the local discount store or dollar store for more basic items like kitchen utensils, trash cans and more.
4. Get creative with storage. Rental properties typically do not have a lot of space for you to work with and storage is frequently a challenge.
- The first step is doing a big inventory of your things before moving in. If you have an object or article of clothing that you have not used in over a year (and has no sentimental value attached to it) then donate it, give it away or sell it.
- Consider using the kitchen counters walls for storage by hanging a line of hooks close to the ceiling to organize pots and pans. You can also mount a magnetic strip to store for knives.
- Pay a visit to the Container Store or IKEA and make a small investment for attractive storage containers that can be displayed openly on shelving units.
- Add asymmetrical shelving along one wall to provide ample storage for books and home accents (as an added bonus, it will also be a design piece in itself).
- When choosing your furniture, try to find pieces that also have storage such as ottomans, side tables, coffee tables, trundle beds or benches.
5. Cover up those standard white walls and ceiling lights with DIY artwork ideas!
- Add soft lighting throughout the apartment with inexpensive lamps with lamp shades rimmed with ribbon for a personalized designer look.
- Tack a scarf or square of neat fabric to the ceiling over a drab boring light fixture. The fabric hangs far enough down that it won’t heat up or scorch, and the pretty colored light shines through below.
- Staple fabric over a bulletin board. Hang on the wall and pin your favorite pictures on it.
- Plants add instant life into an apartment and are easy on the budget. Consult with a local nursery to for suggestions houseplants that best suit your space. An added bonus- plants clean the air giving your apartment a fresh smell.
- Hang DYI framed artwork at eye level with inexpensive frames from a crafts store. Use disposable hooks like 3M Command picture hanging strips.
- Create instant art with high-resolution digital photographs; a display of artsy postcards in matching frames or scrapbooking paper in trendy colors and patterns.