How to Make Your Sad Apartment into a Stunning Space
Decorating can be intimidating if you’re not sure where to start! Today I’m going to give you a few trick and tips to make your apartment feel less like a rented space and more like the dream home you’ve always wanted.
I know we all secretly hope that Chip and Joanna will just show up at our door one day and offer to redecorate our spaces, complete with shiplap on the walls and a custom table in the dining room, but in case that dream doesn’t become a reality, here’s a few tips to help!
1. Start simple. This is especially true if you are dealing with apartment living. You can't start knocking down walls or making major changes to get the look you want. While it may be frustrating that you can't get new counter tops, or install hardwood floors, there are tons of things you can do to make your apartment feel more stylish. Some simple ideas to start with are wall hangings, curtains and accessories. You can completely transform a space just by changing up these minor things.
2. Look for things that speak to you. It could be a color you love, a figurine that reminds you of your first pet, or a teapot like the one your grandma used to have. You’ll enjoy your décor so much more if at least some of the pieces have some meaning to you. It doesn’t even have to be something with a lot of thought, it could just be vase that you thought was unique and pretty and that was calling to you not to leave the store without it.
3. What are the basic design rules? Honestly, there really are no wrong answers! Remember you’re the one who has to look at it and live with it, so unless you think it looks terrible or it isn’t functional for you, it works!
If you are the type of person who just needs some rules to follow, Pinterest will become your best friend. You can find all sorts of diagrams about how to make a gallery wall, or what heights of candlesticks go best together, or what you should put on your mantle. There are some general design rules that work in most spaces, but your personal taste trumps any rules you may hear.
I think the most important thing to know is just what kind of feeling you want in your space. Do you want it to feel modern, sleek, warm, cozy, girly? The list could go on. If you can identify a feeling you are trying to capture this will go a long way in directing what type of things you should buy and what colors you should use. Again Pinterest can be a great inspiration here. You don’t have to copy a Pinterest idea exactly, but it can at least give you a good idea of where to start to get the apartment of your dreams!
4. Decorating on a budget is always a tricky thing. Here’s my best piece of advice: Check multiple stores. Some items will need to be higher quality if they get a lot of use (pillows, couch), but you may be able to save on some pieces that won’t get too much use (side tables, wall hangings). Shop around so you know what your options are.
TJ Maxx, Marshalls or even better- HomeGoods- So many good things at these stores! You can also find a lot of different things that you don’t see everywhere. The only problem is they tend not to have a lot of stock. So if you see curtains you like you may have to drive all over town to find as many matching panels as you need.
Target- Let’s be honest, no one goes to Target looking for home décor items. You go in looking for eggs and milk and leave with candles and picture frames you didn’t know you needed. Target is a great spot to find home stuff! They have a great selection of staple pieces that you need. Also- if you’re still dreaming of Chip and Johanna decorating your apartment, their collection at Target might be as close as you get!
BigLots- Not my favorite place to shop but it can be good for seasonal decorations if you don’t want to spend too much. I especially like to get ornaments here because they’re really cheap.
Walmart- I have similar feelings about Walmart as I do about BigLots, but one thing I have bought there is window treatments. Curtains are way cheaper at Walmart than at a lot of other places. They have a decent selection of nice options, and if all your curtains are going to do is hang above the window, why spend more than you have to?
Hobby Lobby- Who doesn’t love the Hobby Lobby? Some of the décor at Hobby Lobby can be pricey but they have an excellent selection of great pieces. There is almost always a 50% off coupon on their website so check that out before you shop. Hobby Lobby also has an excellent clearance isle where you can find a ton of great deals.
Boutique and craft fairs- I love picking up special things at smaller boutique type stores or craft fairs. It’s always nice to be able to support someone running a small business. I don’t buy too many things from these types of places simply because of the higher cost, but it’s always nice to have a few extra special pieces that no one else has.
I don’t buy too many home decorations online. I just think it’s better to be able to see the things in person, to touch the pillows, see the texture on that vase and get a feel for the exact dimensions of wall hangings.
5. My second biggest piece of advice to decorating on a budget is: Don’t be afraid of returning things! If I can’t decide between two items I often buy them both and take one back later. Of course this only keeps costs down if you actually return the items you don’t want! Make sure to keep your receipts all together until you finish decorating your space! Sometimes you just need to buy both comforters and see them both in your room before you can decide which one is best, and that’s okay!
6. Don’t do it all in one day. Decorating is an ongoing project. I am always picking up things. If you see something you love just buy it. This will give you a more eclectic collection of decorations. If you buy everything from the same store on the same day, things tend to get a bit too matchy-matchy.