apartment decorating on a budget


The fifth and final part of the “Moving Out” series, we can finally focus on the fun, but necessary stuff! If you haven’t checked out the rest of the series: Part One: Guide to Your First Apartment; Part Two: Understanding Lease Agreements; Part Three: Moving Out: How Much Will It Cost; and Part Four: How to Emotionally Prepare for Moving Out, click on the links to read more.

If you have read the rest of the Moving Out series, you have probably second guessed if you are ready to move out. There is a lot of financial planning and emotional readiness needed to go out on your own. However, if feel that you have a plan and are finally ready, CONGRATULATIONS! Although I may have made it seem scary so far, the truth is that if you are financially and emotionally ready, moving out can be the best decision you can make. You will finally have the freedom you desire, the space to do what you want, where you want, and the ability to make all your own decisions. So, let’s get to the fun part — decorating your new place.

Whether your first apartment is a studio in the heart of the city or a whole house in the countryside, you are going to want to make it your own. There are probably some cherished things from your childhood bedroom that you want to bring, and some furniture from home that can be recycled at your new place, but that doesn’t quite add up to furnishing an entire living space. You may already know your aesthetic and be excited about creating a certain feeling or mood, or you may not care, and just want it to be casual and comfortable. Deciding your style, or no style at all, can be overwhelming when you start shopping around for stuff. Just remember, this is only your FIRST apartment, and whatever you spend your money on, should be something that you love and that you want to keep for a long time. It is a waste of money to re-decorate a new place every time you move. Definitely budget for the items that you love and that you know you will love in the future and go ahead and splurge if you can afford it!

Budget for those expensive items you love and need to have!

If you are not in a financial situation to buy brand new items, there are many more creative ways of decorating on a budget. Let’s check out a few:

  1. Ask friends. Or your parents friends, or any one you may know who has been wanting to get rid of their old furniture, but didn’t know what to do with it. A lot of people will give it to you for free or for a small fee just to get it out of their house. Before you agree to take anything, though, check it out for comfort, functionality, and wear and tear. There is no point in taking Grandma’s old couch from 1970 if you hurt your back sitting on it! But be appreciative if she offers it to you! If someone offers something for a small price, make sure you see if it something you can use or maybe refurbish. Don’t pay for anything that you won’t be able to use.
  2. Look around your neighborhood. Okay, so I have never done this, but I have gotten rid of a lot of stuff this way. A lot of times, people will put stuff out on the curb with a “FREE” sign on it. All you have to do is take it! I got rid of the largest and heaviest china cabinet I had many years ago (before selling online was a big thing) by setting it out on my curb. I don’t know who or when, but it was gone the next morning! That saved me the hassle of trying to find a buyer or trying to haul it somewhere myself. If you know how to sand and paint or stain, you may be able to make something beautiful out of something no one wants anymore.
  3. Local online sellers. These days, everyone uses Facebook marketplace to list items they no longer need. Most of the time, you will have to be able to pick it up and haul it yourself, but this is a good way to find lots of different items, included the small ones, such as utensils, tools, etc. Always be careful when dealing with people online. Yard sales, garage sales, and estate sales are also good places to look for things that others no longer want at a reasonable price.
  4. Dollar stores. Yes, even the Dollar Tree (where everything is $1 or less) can be very useful when it comes to decorating your space. If you don’t believe me, go to YouTube and check out all the videos that use dollar store items to create beautiful decorations and useful storage solutions (I love “Do It On A Dime on YouTube). I love the Dollar Tree for all of my cleaning and medicine cabinet items, I also use a lot of their products at my job as a nanny, as they even have a teaching section. From fake flowers to actual matching plates, cups, and mugs, the Dollar Tree has a ton of stuff at a discount price. You probably haven’t even thought about needing a spatula or oven mitts, but if you make your first stop the Dollar Tree, you can browse through their entire selection and buy everything you think you need, without spending a fortune. And if you are living alone, their selection of food packaged in smaller sized may be just what you need to eliminate food waste and save even more money.
  5. Ask for help. Your parents and other family members may want to help you by buying you what you need. You can set up a wish list on Amazon and let people know that if they want to get you a housewarming gift, they can choose from there. This will guarantee you get what you need and want, that matches the look you are going for.
  6. Thrift shops. “I’m gonna pop some tags, only got twenty dollars in my pocket…” Yep, checking out your local thrift shop can yield some pretty good finds. Again, use your imagination and get creative if something is close, but not quite up to your standards. Some items may need a small repair, if you think you can handle that, then go ahead and grab it. If you have no desire to fix or refurbish an item, you can still usually find good quality items if you look often enough. Find out what days they put out new items and what days they have sales on certain items. My daughter found a decent enough dresser for $20 and when we got to the register, we found out it was half off on Sundays, so we got it for $10. Did it last forever…no. But for that price, who cares. It wore out its purpose and we set it out on the curb where someone took it for free!

As you can see, there are tons of ideas for saving money when furnishing your new apartment. Because you haven’t lived on your own before, you are going to need a lot more stuff than if you had stuff from a previous place, but learn where to spend your money and where to save. After all, as you saw from previous posts, it is expensive enough to be out on your own. Click the link to download your own Moving Out Checklist for a list of things that you don’t want to forget when moving into your new place! Have fun!

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