If walls could talk, your new apartment’s walls would be screaming, “Dress me up!” But your modest bank account’s retort would be, “With what money?” And although you might have some lofty design ideas in mind, you are caught in the middle.
Decorating your apartment can admittedly be a challenge. After all, if you’re like most renters, your home’s existing floors, walls and finishes are much more blah than beautiful. Fortunately, you can dress up your rental space without breaking the bank — and losing your mind. If you love your new Boston apartment but are on a tight budget, here’s a rundown of design ideas for furnishing your apartment for cheap.
Let’s get started!
Apartment Design Ideas: Start with Your Furniture
Is your beloved rental space a little on the small end? No worries. Just choose furniture that will pull double duty. For instance, try a loft bed, sofa bed or murphy bed. These pieces can be particularly handy if you have a studio apartment.
You may also want to spring for ottomans with storage capability, or a coffee table you can transform into a dining table. Be sure to get a new mattress — trust us, you won’t regret it. But for everything else, you can easily find them at yard sales, on Craigslist or at flea markets for cheap.
Do you have a hideous chandelier you’re dying to get rid of in your apartment’s dining space? You usually can’t do this on a rental property. But perhaps you could ask your landlord about it. A quality landlord might surprise you by offering to replace the ugly fixture or at least pay you back for replacing it.
Also, in addition to tackling your apartment’s overhead lighting, consider adding lamps to brighten up your drab rental space cheaply. You can incorporate floor uplighting as well for a more attractive living space. Even something as seemingly small as accent lighting for highlighting bookcases, art or cabinets can do wonders for your apartment.
Your apartment may have already come with window treatments. However, if you don’t have any, why not try creating your own? Oh, you don’t know how to sew? Sew what? Just buy bonding web at your local craft and fabric store. You can use this fusible material to make simple fabric panels to place over your glass doorways or windows.
Whether you like or dislike the floors in your apartment, a throw rug is your best friend. Throw rugs protect your floor, which means they ultimately protect your renter’s deposit, too. But they can also quickly add a pattern, warmth, and color to a space that would otherwise be bland. You can also use throw rugs in a large room or studio apartment to define your separate living areas.
No apartment’s ensemble is complete without some wall art. Fortunately, art for your wall can look great without necessarily costing you an arm and a leg. And that’s true even if you wouldn’t call yourself an artist by any means. Plain canvases aren’t expensive, and you can easily apply paint to them. You could even frame beautiful scrapbook papers or fabric colors together to go with your apartment’s d?cor in a simple way.
Decals for your walls are also a great option, as they are easy to find and aren’t too pricey. In addition, most of them are designed to be easily removable — again, a great thing for your deposit. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could even try creating your own wall decals. Shelf liner with adhesive backing can simply be trimmed into a variety of designs and shapes and then removed for your use.
You may even want to add some inexpensive fabric or a cheap curtain along one of your apartment’s walls for a neat feature that will give your space texture and color. You can also use a curtain to divide two parts of a big room. In other words, curtains are made for more than just windows. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box when brainstorming for apartment design ideas.
Want to add a bit more personality to your living space? An easy way to do this is to accessorize. Just as you would add jewelry or a scarf to your ensemble to complete your look, why not add book covers, photo frames, pottery or throw pillows to add pizzazz to your rental space?
You may also want to use houseplants to breathe new life into your home. Just use succulent plants, which are relatively easy to care for, if you don’t spend a lot of time at home.
Also, mirrors can be an inexpensive way to give your rental space a visual boost. Mirrors can help small apartments to look bigger and dark rooms to look brighter. You can find cheap mirrors at home design stores, or you could even check an estate sale for a bargain find.
When it comes to your apartment design ideas, remember that a more complicated look isn’t necessarily a better look. Look for a simple design — for instance, stick with neutral hues, such as white, brown, tan and black. This is true for your furniture as well as for your paint colors — if your landlord allows you to paint. If you are stuck on finding a cherry red recliner, a blue suede sofa, or a pink sapphire paint color, for example, you’re likely going to have to pay more for these specialty items.
Also, shop for your furnishings online. Retail shops have overhead costs to pay, so naturally, their prices are generally higher. If you order online, you don’t have to worry about those overhead costs, which means lower price tags for you.
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Published February 5, 2018
Demetrios has pulled together the largest apartment leasing team in the Greater Boston Area and is responsible for procuring more apartment rentals than anyone in New England – with over 130k people finding their housing through his services. Demetrios is an avid real estate developer, peak performance trainer, educator, guest lecturer and motivational speaker.