How to Decorate Your First Apartment on the Cheap

decorate your first apartmentMoving into your first apartment is a very exciting time. You are the master of your new space, and you get to decide where everything goes and what style you pursue, at least to a point.

But if you’ve blown your budget buying food and shelling out money for your utilities deposits and your first month of rent, plus a deposit, what are you going to do if you need to buy furniture and accessories too? I’m going to answer that by telling you how you can decorate your first apartment on the cheap.

1 Used Furniture is OK

Sometimes when friends and family find out you are going to be moving, they will offer second hand furniture to you for free (or nearly free). If the pieces are useful to you and not junk, accept them gratefully keeping in mind furniture and lamps can be painted and some pieces can be recovered. I have been living on my own for over 6 years now and I still have some of these hand-me-down furniture pieces in my home. Don't let your pride get in the way of accepting these free items to help you furnish and decorate your first apartment.

2 Flea Market Style

Shop at thrift stores, flea markets, and garage sales to look for pieces that have good structure. If you buy an item inexpensively, you can afford to try your hand at recovering it, even if it’s the first time you have ever done so.

The internet has plenty of DIY information to help you out. I once bought a cheap thrift store lamp, sanded it, spray painted it, and recovered the lamp shade for a whole new look. It was the first time I have ever attempted such a project, but it turned out great and I still have it in my bedroom today. It's even sitting on a second-hand side table that I spray painted a fun green color to match with my bedding.

3 Buy Multifunctional

Storage can be an issue if your apartment is a small one, so whenever possible, think about storage in your pieces. For example, a trunk makes a great coffee table and can store extra linens and blankets. A basket under a side table can hold books and magazines. Two short shelving units or two drawer filing cabinets with an old door on top could become a work table or desk. Multifunctional pieces offer storage and help cut down on the amount of money you have to spend to decorate your first apartment.

4 Accessories

One you have your larger furniture pieces, it’s time for the icing. Cheap paintings that are large make great wall art. Put them in frames of the same color or mat them with all black, or white, mats to unify them. Or, Hang three recovered bulletin boards close together and pin photos to them.

I recently made my own wall art for my home office by painting two canvases from Hobby Lobby and Mod Podge-ing peacock feathers to them. They turned out great and everyone that comes into my space asks me where I bought them because they look high dollar. In reality, they cost me less than $20 to make!

5 Group like Items

If you have a collection of cheap thrift store vases or candle holders you want to display, group them in odd numbers on a tray on your table for a visually pleasing center piece. When arranging inexpensive art or photos, put one oversized piece in the center, or even slightly off center, and group smaller pictures around it.

How you furnish and decorate your first apartment is entirely up to you, but I hope these tips will help you. Remember, you don’t have to buy everything at once, so get what you must, take your time with the rest, and have fun with it. You'll never get another chance to decorate your first apartment.

Can you think of any other ways to decorate your first apartment on the cheap?


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