How to Decorate Your First Apartment on a Budget

Recently since I’ve moved into my studio apartment, I’ve been really into home décor and finding great pieces to decorate my apartment. Before I was living with roommates, and I didn’t want to full out decorate in case someone didn’t like my style or ruined a piece from being clumsy. I just always felt like nobody is going to treat your items as carefully as you do so I never really decorated until this year.

Now that I’ve been in the decorating mood, I decided to tell you guys some helpful tips for people who are decorating their first apartment or first home by themselves. The skies are truly the limit for when it comes to how you want to decorate. Just remember that a great layout or great design either takes a lot of time or a lot of money so just be patient with the entire process.

Decorate Your First Apartment on a Budget

Here are my advice for decorating your first apartment on a budget:

Buy second hand furniture

When you’re first starting out in the world, money can be low or hard to come by, especially for extra pieces. When you’re decorating for your first apartment, go thrifting or check out some yard sales to find great pieces that are second hand. You’ll have some great sturdy pieces that you can customize later to better fit your color scheme or overall look. Paint can do wonders for a quick makeup over or spray paint.

Learn how to decorate your apartment on a strict budget, it's not as hard as you think! Click To Tweet

Buy cheap furniture from affordable places

Another option is to check out places, such as IKEA, for cute and basic pieces that are super easy to customize for your apartment. IKEA is one of the best places to buy furniture, especially when you’re just starting out in decorating your own place. They have a bunch of options and furniture types that are also easy to put together by yourself. Just add some paint or some fabric to spice it up and make it look like your own.

Decorate Your First Apartment on a Budget

Accessorize your apartment with pillows, rugs, door knobs, etc

The best way to really create a welcoming feeling in your apartment is to show your personality with your pieces. I love getting fun rugs, pillows, and adding art work on the walls. Target, HomeGoods or Marshalls all have great décor pieces that won’t break the budget, but carry great quality items all of the time. You can also DIY a lot of projects like printing out some of your favorite artwork online to place in some frames and paint some pillow covers to spice up your coach.


Create a faux headboard or get a real one

I personally love the look of a cute headboard. It just makes the entire room feel more home-y and more put together. I feel like most people have to skip out on some of the stand out pieces, like a headboard, but it’s totally worth it. There are plenty tutorials out on Youtube where people show you how to make your own headboard or you can just go ahead and buy one online.

Fake it until you can either make it or buy it later. Nobody will know, but you. Click To Tweet

Create a better light situation

A lot of apartments don’t come with great lightening or barely any lightening. If you can, switch out the lightbulbs for lightbulbs that don’t have a yellow tone to them. White light instantly makes your room look bigger and fancier. Another great tip is to purchase some floor lamps or night stand lamps to add more lightening to your apartment and to fill out the space. 

How to Decorate Your First Apartment on a Budget

Here are some extra tips for decorating your apartment on a budget:

  • Start with the most pressing needs first, like a bed and kitchen supplies
  • Set a budget and stick with it
  • Time is on your side. Be patient when it comes to decorating your entire apartment on a budget
  • Renovate or spice up boring or old pieces with paint or removable wallpaper
  • Envision the final product and work towards it
  • Create a statement piece such as a fun wall or a colorful coach

I also wanted to quickly mention some apps that could be helpful for finding great used furniture for cheap in your local area, especially if you don’t like going around your neighborhood looking for yard sales.

Some great yard sale type apps that are online in your area:  

  • LetGo
  • OfferUp
  • 5Miles
  • Close5
  • VarageSale


I hope that this post helped you when it comes to décor ideas and how to come up with a plan to start decorating your first apartment on a budget. As always if you enjoyed this post, please go ahead and give this post a share on your social media accounts. It really helps me further the success of my blog and it only takes a few seconds of your time.  Thank you guys! Talk to you next time!

  • These are some great tips. I love decorating my home & it has to be on a budget too!

    • Makaela

      Thank you! I’m so glad that you think so also. I’m a big fan of home decor and decorating, but I don’t have the kind of budget that I would love to spend on everything. These tips really help out for sure!

  • All I had in my first apartment in my living room was those POANG chairs from Ikea. My place was too small/could not afford a couch and they worked great! Great advice with this post!

    • Makaela

      Oh man! At least they worked out for the purpose and were comfortable! Thank you, I’m glad that you think so too

  • Thanks for the tips! Renting for the first time can be overwhelming!

    • Makaela

      Your welcome! It definitely can be, but an exciting adventure for sure.

  • Renting apartment for the first time can be tedious and stressful. Nice work

    • Makaela

      Yes it totally can!

  • Ana

    Lovee these tips! Thinking of redecorating my room and could really use not spending loads on it but I just want to buy everything haha.

    Thank you for sharing!

    • Makaela

      You’re totally welcome! I’m glad that you enjoyed this post, and I totally understand that. I want to buy every I see that is cute for my room.

  • Coming from an “old school”er – you gave great tips – heck I’m in my house and still only shop used items… – it became addictive – because you find so much great stuff so cheap..

    • Makaela

      Thank you! I’m glad that you enjoyed the post, and yes it does! You can amazing pieces for a steal when you go toking.

  • I love this! I’m moving in to a place with my boyfriend soon so this post came to me at the perfect time!

    • Makaela

      Perfect! I’m glad that this post was super helpful for you. Good luck with the transition!

  • These are super helpful tips! IKEA is essential to decorating your first apartment, its affordable but has cute stuff! I absolutely love the idea of creating a faux headboard, have you made one yourself? Thank you for such an informative post!!

    • Makaela

      Right? I love IKEA, I literally want to buy everything that I see, plus I love how you can customize each piece. I haven’t made one before because I don’t have the best step up for one, but I would love to. I’m glad that you enjoyed!

  • Great tips and they all help set the tone of a budget! We always need one! (I know I could go crazy)

  • Awesome tips! It seems like people are always trying to get rid of furniture. Make good use of that! Also, IKEA is great for a first apartment!

    • Makaela

      Right? Its a win-win situation, especially for a broke college student just starting out on their own.

  • Great Tips! Especially good lighting. That’s a must-have!!

    • Makaela

      Thank you! It’s a total game changer if you don’t have great lightning in your apartment.

    • Makaela

      Thank you! It’s a total game changer if you don’t have great lightning in your apartment.

  • I Really enjoyed your article Makaela!
    Now hopefully when i get my first apartment i will be more than excited to decorate it :D!

    Thanks for stopping by my Blog! Enjoy your day dear!

    • Makaela

      Thank you Queen! I’m glad that you enjoyed this piece and it brings great ideas for your future apartment

  • Thanks for including the garage sale apps, I didn’t even know that was a thing. Those will be super helpful. Lots of good ideas here!