With all the costs that come along with moving, decorating can seem like an out-of-reach expense. The problem is, nobody wants to look at blank walls all day, or hold onto old, outdated furniture. Truly transforming your apartment into something you can call your own involves putting your personality into it.
You don’t need to shell out thousands at a high-end home furnishings store to find decor that reflects who you are. Wonders can be worked with just $500! Here’s how you can turn a relatively small sum of cash into apartment magic.
1. Change your furniture, piece by piece
Start reinvigorating your apartment with small furniture changes. A simple upgrade of your current couch or area rug can drastically change the mood in your suite. Start by looking for mid- or end-of-season sales or clearance events at online furniture stores, or at popular home furnishing chains. If you crave the thrifty steals, used furniture shopping will be sure to please. Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace are just a few of the online hotspots for secondhand gems. Don’t forget to peruse the selection at local thrift furniture stores for some great deals.
2. Go for small, standalone objects
Vases, picture frames, throw pillows, and even books can make great affordable room decor pieces. A small vase on an end table can add a much-needed splash of color to your room, especially if you fill it with flowers. Picture frames come in all sorts of adorable colors and patterns; why not grab a couple and create a miss-matched collage on a bare wall? Throw pillows are totally underrated, but they are very versatile and they can add that sparkto an old, lumpy couch. A good book can be great for your brains and your bookshelf. These items can be very inexpensive and are guaranteed to make your space pop!
3. Get art that you’ll love forever
You don’t need to be an art collector to get a few interesting pieces for your walls. Sure, some paintings are sold for hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars, but more affordable ones at home furnishing stores (like Homesense), can make you look like an art and decor expert (hold the beret). Set aside some money for a few art pieces, which can last for years and move with you, from apartment to apartment. Framed prints and paintings will be well worth the investment.
4. Buy plants
Plants, especially small ones, can affordably add extra decorative flair to your apartment. You can find cacti, aloe, and other tiny plants — some pots can be as small as four inches across — at any plant store, home improvement stores (during spring and summer seasons), or even a supermarket. With just a small budget set aside to bring some green friends into your home, you might find yourself with a new favorite way to spruce up an otherwise uninspiring space. Be sure to water your plants as recommended and expose them to a proper amount of sunlight — read up on plant care if you don’t opt for fake plants.
5. End with removable wallpaper
Removable wallpaper is far more low-maintenance than traditional wallpaper, which can leave damage. It’s also trending like crazy! Incorporating removable wallpaper is an easy way to brighten up an accent wall or transform an entire room, no matter the size. Once you’ve applied it to your walls, your room will look entirely different, and if later on, you decide to redecorate or need to move, you can remove it without damaging your walls.
How should you split your $500 budget?
There’s no one proper way to split your budget among these categories. You might find yourself only wanting to buy enough plants to take up $25 of your budget, freeing up more money for the less affordable categories. Maybe you’ll creep into the triple digits on wallpaper costs, or maybe you’ll stumble upon the perfect sofa bed that costs more than half of your $500. Ultimately, as long as you prioritize capping your decorating budget at $500, then no matter how you divide your money, as long as you’re investing in the changes most important to you, then you can drastically change your home without breaking the bank!
Originally published in My First Apartment blog.