Before you start, make a list of what you want to buy or change. This will help you set the priorities and keep you from buying unnecessary things just because they’re cheap. Another advantage of making a list is that you can always come back to it after a few days and reconsider its items.
If you have to buy furniture: a couch , a bed , tables, closets, etc, always check garage and yard sales, second-hand and thrift shops, E-bay or free online classifieds. There you can find excellent, well preserved pieces of furniture at a low cost.
Some people avoid buying second hand goods (to tell the truth, I was once among them) but when you have a limited income, the idea of getting new and trendy stuff must be reconsidered. What can you do to refresh the second hand items? Wash them using a disinfectant (of course, go for one that can be safely used on wood and fabric) leave them to sun dry and they’ll be as good and as clean as new.
2. Old Furniture
Check with friends and family if they have some pieces of old furniture they don’t use. Most of them will probably be glad to give you something that serves no other purpose than to collect dust in their attic or basement.
3. Paint the Walls
Paint the walls if you have landlord’s approval and you will be surprised how different your place will look. The paint itself isn’t expensive and a brush can be borrowed. Choose colours that will bring light into your apartment (white, bright yellow, etc).
If you are not allowed to paint, you can put wallpapers or hang paintings, posters or framed photos to personalize your home.
4. Get Curtains
Hanging nice curtains would be an excellent way to decorate your apartment. They can be bought cheaply at Wal-Mart or Ikea and you can choose from a wide range of sizes and designs to match them with the rest of the furnishings in your home. Pick the curtains that are easy to maintain; machine washable and not in need of ironing.
5. Place Rugs
Placing rugs is and an excellent idea when decorating an apartment on a budget. They can not only make your flat prettier but can also be useful to cover possible holes or any kind of damage on the floors. Affordable rugs can be purchased in one-dollar, Chinese and Indian shops.
Big, green and healthy houseplants will bring life into every apartment. If you are a flower person you can take a step further and arrange a nice green corner in your living room by adding a few stones and a small fountain. Choose a cactus or a lucky bamboo if you don’t have the time to take care of your plants, they aren’t demanding.
Remember, when decorating an apartment on a budget stick to the “less is more” rule. First get basic furniture and then pick the details carefully. In time you’ll create a place that you’ll be happy with.