If cooking is my first passion, interior design is a close second. I love decorating spaces and hunting for treasures, so when my sister moved to a new apartment in the Fall, I had fun helping her pick out some new items. She’s in grad school, so naturally she doesn’t have a ton of extra cash to spend on decor. I know we all love Ikea, but there’s so many other affordable and stylish furniture stores to choose from. Branch out, so that you end up with a unique apartment that doesn’t look like all of your neighbors’. Some of my favorite stores are CB2, World Market, Target (I love the Nate Berkus line), Urban Outfitters, and Zara Home. Here’s some tips and links to help you transform your space, on a budget.
1.Decide what style you like. This might sound obvious, but have you ever been to an apartment where the style/design is all over the place? It’s better to stick to one style, especially in such a small space. If you like Scandinavian white, don’t mix in a cheetah pillow and a chevron rug. It won’t work. Stick with a color scheme throughout your apartment. It will feel larger and more cohesive.
2. Art & Plants make all the difference. There are so many resources for amazing, affordable art! I like Artfully Walls for unique prints- my sister bought a couple of prints from there and mixed them with some of her own travel photographs to create an awesome gallery wall around her TV (pictured below). There is also a ton of free printable art, or you can blow up some of your favorite pictures at Walgreens for pennies. Plants are cheap at home improvement stores like Home Depot– pot them yourself to save some cash. Here’s a great guide to indoor plants that will work in your apartment, so you know what to ask for when buying!
3. Less is More (Make sure everything in your apartment has a use, and buy pieces that have multiple functions). Apartments can feel cramped when you have too much clutter. Either buy a functional storage solution (that doubles as a coffee table) or consider donating stuff that you’ve been holding on to but don’t need.
5. Thrift! If you live in a big city, chances are there are a ton of thrift stores and second-hand furniture stores. Check them out before you splurge at one of the big retail giants.
6. Use accessories to incorporate color into your overall design. Most landlords are against their tenants painting the walls. If the walls must be white, use accessories like these colorful Turkish rugs on Ebay. There’s a ton for under $100, and they’re the perfect way to add color that doesn’t involve painting or buying a colorful couch.
7. Lamps, Lamps, Lamps. Most apartments I’ve lived in had awful flourescent lighting, or no overhead lights at all! I opted to buy some floor lamps and table lamps to give the space a soft glow, rather than feel like I was living in a laboratory. HomeGoods always has interesting and affordable lighting options.
We are moving from our house in Antigua at the end of April to a different one that’s brand new, so it will be an empty canvas. I can’t wait to decorate the space, and will be sure to document the process! I save all of my ideas and designs I like here. Check it out!
Want more? Here’s 8 house tours that are all under 500 square feet!