9 Affordable Ways to Decorate an Apartment

by | Jan 31, 2020

Whether it’s the difficult economy, a challenging job situation, or just the desire to upgrade, small apartment decorating on a budget can be a tough task. However, with the right tips and tricks, you can do a lot with a small space.

If you’re considering redecorating or just moved into a new space, we have some great cheap decorating ideas for apartments for you to check out. Liven up your home a little bit using these interior design techniques. 

Apartment Decorating on a Budget

While finding small apartment decorating ideas on a budget can be frustrating, you can implement tips and tricks like using mirrors to create the illusion of more space, placing strategic lighting for brightness, and applying accent colors in various forms for a pop of personality. With a good budget, a clear vision, and a minimalist approach, you can easily decorate your small apartment on a budget. 

Decorating a Rental Apartment on a Budget

Before decorating a rental apartment on a budget, it’s best to check with your landlord before making any major changes. Many complexes have rules about hanging nail, painting, etc., so it’s always better to be safe. Aside from that, the same techniques generally apply: hang mirrors, use plenty of accent colors, and implement multi-functional furniture – all within an established budget. 

1. Minimal Furniture  

Small apartments can sometimes feel a bit claustrophobic, but the upside is that you can fill it using minimal furniture. Not only is this an excellent interior design tip, but it will save you a lot of money on large, expensive pieces. 

For example, a small apartment usually means there are only one or two people living there. That means there’s no need for large kitchen tables, sectional couches, or multiple dressers. 

It’s easy to make a small space feel like home with just a few main pieces – a bed with a nightstand, a coffee table, a couch, and a television. A small kitchen table with a maximum of four chairs is more than enough, and an extra chair, a dresser, and perhaps a desk can add the finishing touches. 

2. Removable Wallpaper

Removable wallpaper is such a great decorating tool for anyone who lives in an apartment. Many apartment complexes do not allow renters to paint, and if they do, they require that you repaint it to the original color when you move out. 

Paint is not cheap, and it’s a lot of work.

Removable wallpaper allows you to change the color and design of your apartment without the permanence of paint. It’s super easy to apply, and it’s just as simple to remove. There are tons of brands, designs, and colors that you can choose from, and it’ll cost you less than several cans of paint and all the tools that come with it. 

3. Thrift Stores

When decorating on a budget, a thrift store should become your best friend. Many people will discount thrifting based on taste and the innate desire to have something new, but lots of thrift stores are loaded with hidden treasures that can make decorating easy, cheap, and fun. 

Visit a thrift store to look for furniture, area rugs, picture frames, and wall hangings. You can often find gently used dishes, storage containers, and kitchen utensils, but you can also get yourself lamps and curtains. 

Basically, you never know what goodies you’re going to find at the thrift store. There are tons of them around, so if you strikeout in the first one, try another. The savings will be worth the hunt. 

4. Throw Pillows and Blankets 

Nothing says cozy apartment quite like a bunch of fluffy and colorful throw pillows. Throw pillows are the perfect way to brighten up a room and make a plain old couch interesting and comfy. 

You can put throw pillows everywhere, too. Stack them up on your bed for a little more texture and dimension. Toss them all over your couch to make it an inviting place to sit and relax. Put them on chairs, on top of ottomans, and on window benches. 

You can find throw pillows in many different stores, from online shopping to your everyday department store. They’re a cheap and easy way to showcase your personality. 

In the same way, throw blankets also work on beds, chairs, and couches. Contrasting colors – like a white throw blanket on a navy couch – will be visually appealing, and your guests will feel invited to snuggle up. 

5. Mirrors

Decorating a small apartment can sometimes feel fruitless because adding decor doesn’t make the space any larger. However, you can achieve that effect by using mirrors.

Because they reflect everything, adding mirrors into rooms can make them appear larger. And these days, you can get pretty creative. 

You can go the standard route and add a floor-length mirror to your bedroom to give the appearance of a larger space. A mirror here is also doubly convenient, as you can use it daily to check out your outfits. 

Mirrors come in many different shapes and sizes. Buy a few round mirrors in different sizes to hang on the wall in your living room. The fun shapes add a unique touch, while the mirror will catch all of the light and color that’s already in the room. 

As a bonus, you can probably find mirrors of all kinds of shapes and sizes during your thrift hunting. 

6. Furniture as Storage 

Too often, a small apartment means very little storage space. You may have a closet or two, but you might also find yourself wondering where you’re going to put everything. 

These days, there are tons of furniture that double as storage. You can be strategic in the furniture you buy, making sure you can also use it to put clothes, extra blankets, books, and more. 

One prime example of this is under-bed storage. Many bed frames come with drawers underneath, or at least a space large enough to slide storage bins. You can also use ottomans and benches to store whatever you need to – just find ones that have removable tops and space inside. 

Vintage chests make great coffee tables and offer ample space, while bed frames with built-in shelving can store books, magazines, and other accessories.

7. Get Plants

The most homey-looking apartments that you see on the cover of magazines or in television ads almost always have plants. They add a touch of life (literally) to your space as well as a pop of color. 

Even if you don’t think you’re capable of taking care of a plant, you can almost certainly keep low-maintenance plants like cactus and succulents alive.

If you’re really that nervous that your lack of green thumb is an automatic plant-killer, you can also go for the fake plant look. Keep them up on shelves and in the sunlight, and no one will know the difference.  

8. Hang Curtains

You won’t believe the difference curtains can make until you see it for yourself. What was once a dull, square windowsill will turn into a luxurious, high-class area with just a rod and two sections of linen. 

Depending on the style of your room, you might consider going with a light a sheer curtain that still allows light to come through. You can push them to the side for some natural lighting, and in the bright afternoons, they will still offer a bit of minimal cover without leaving you in the shadows. 

Hanging curtains also gives you the chance to add more color to the room, which can be a great effect in a living room or bedroom with white walls. 

9. DIY Decor 

When buying becomes too expensive, you can always turn to making your own decor. Not only is this an excellent way to save money, but it can be a super fun hobby. 

DIY decor includes a ton of different things. You can try painting your own pictures to hang on the wall. You can also create cute wooden signs with your favorite quotes and saving.

Many people love to use mason jars in their DIY decorating. Create vases and centerpieces by painting the jars and filling them with fake flowers, colorful stores, and vines. 

If you’re handy with the tools, you can even try building things like coffee tables out of wooden crates or wooden blanket ladders. Check out this list of fun and easy options.

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