Create a Style-Savvy Room on a Budget

Posted By on September 21, 2015

Moving into a new apartment is a major milestone for a young adult. After floating between dorms and parents’ houses during one’s college years, there is a sense of accomplishment that comes from finally signing a lease and committing to staying in one place for a while.

After that excitement settles, a new kind of anticipation sets in. Decorating a first apartment is one of the smaller thrills of modern adulthood. It is the first time that one has full and complete control over how her living space looks. It is also probably the first time that she has had to consider how much it costs to buy furniture and decor.

Before spending money, make a list of every possible item that is needed. Do not leave anything off of the list, even if it is small. Things like wall clocks and lampshades can beĀ purchased inexpensively, but they still need to be factored into the budget. Decide which items can be scrimped on and which ones are non-negotiable in terms of quality. For example, some people think nothing of buying the cheapest bookshelves possible but will not budge on wanting the most comfortable couch possible, even if it costs more money.

Map out where you want things to go, and take accurate measurements. The size of the space might end up doing the work of budgeting for you; if the more expensive option cannot fit into the room, it gets crossed off the list. Ikea is the gold standard for inexpensive furniture, but check out Target and Walmart first. They carry soft furniture in bright colors for hundreds of dollars less than Ikea’s comparible offerings. The trade-off is that this furniture is lower in quality and will not last more than a few years. However, if you intend to upgrade to a bigger apartment in a few years anyway, you will probably end up replacing this starter furniture too.

Kitchen carts are essential pieces for small apartments. Wayfair stocks several options with collapsible leaves and stools that tuck underneath the structure. When the leaf is up and the stools are out, one of these stands looks like a small kitchen table. When the leaf is folded down and the stools are put away, it looks like a small drink cart or mini kitchen counter. Look for one with wheels for maximum versatility.

Browse secondhand shops for wood, plastic and metal furniture that can be easily refurbished. Wood furniture is usually workable after some minor repairs and a coat of paint. Try to avoid dorm-esque decor like posters and bean bag chairs. These items are cheap and easy to arrange, but they are not appropriate for an adult’s apartment. A better option would be to purchase cheap secondhand picture frames, paint them quirky colors and use those to display artwork.