Getting your own place can bring on so many different feelings. It can be exciting to have a say in your own place, but managing the finances and upkeep is hard.
When most people start out, they will not have a home that they plan to live in forever. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t decorate.
Creating a space that you love and set up for your success will change how you operate. Having enough storage for your needs in small apartments is always trouble. But with clever storage and DIY apartment upgrades, you can decorate well on a budget.
Creating a Plan
When looking for a space to live, it’s important to figure out what you actually need space for in your day-to-day life. I like plants and cooking, so lots of natural light and functional kitchens are important to me. If you need space for exercise or special hobbies, you might what to measure how much space you actually need.
When looking at your space, evaluate everything. A lot of times I’ve tucked shelves close to the ceiling, or re-done the inside of closets to make them exponentially more functional.
Places to Shop
Resale marketplaces – Facebook marketplace and Kijiji – this will be your cheapest way to get your hands on beautiful mirrors. They open up a space and help bounce more light around (meaning you can have more plants!).
Thrift stores such as The Salvation Ary and Habitat for Humanity, you can even check for things like curtains and rugs that are usually pricey brand new. Baskets make great planters when lined with a garbage bag, and are much cheaper than pots over 10″.
Keep your eye out for good crafting pieces at thrift stores. DIY headboards, side tables, and benches are easy to make and can be covered with thrifted fabric for some drama and luxury.
Ikea – this global player has big sustainability goals, and there is endless inspiration for Ikea furniture upgrades (see below). They also have great affordable lighting and lots of light bases that can be upgraded with thrifted or DIY lampshades.
Structube – if you’re Canadian, you may have heard of this Ikea-like store. Their sale section has great steals, and their furniture always looks much higher quality.
Insperation for Apartment Decor on a Budget
Sometimes the best way to save money on something is to build it yourself. Try some of the channels below for inspiration on how to use tools and navigate the hardware store.
The Sorry Girls – phenomenal and inspiring Youtube channel by some great Canadian women.
Domino – an American site that has a very clear focus on interior design, but lots of all apartment and Ikea hacks to try.
Fia Garcia – This cute youtube channel looks at projects that didn’t go to plan, and how to re-use them. They also have a whole section called ‘decorate for free’ which is worth the watch.
A Good Budget for Apartment Decorating
A good budget is whatever you can afford really. Don’t overstretch yourself of a piece of trendy furniture that you can make yourself in a weekend. You can rent power tools from Home Depot to help out with your projects if you don’t have the space to store a collection of power tools.
While you may be tempted to buy a couple of paints to spruce the place up, it can sometimes be a couple of hundred dollars to properly coat a big room. Also, if you live in a condo and not an apartment rental, you may have to paint the wall back to white before you move. If you want to add colour but are on a budget of less than $100, consider looking at Etsy for some cute wall art.
If you’re looking to buy furniture, you should budget $100-$400 apiece, and if you can thrift real wood pieces over MDF Ikea or Structube, It will last you much longer.