Small Apartment Decorating Ideas for Students on a Budget

By Danni White on October 31, 2017

So, you have your first place. At least a place you can call your own. Look at you! You’ve grown up a little or probably a lot since high school and your first few years of college. Good job!

But now you’re a little worried as to how you can make your place look like home — your home. On top of that, you’re on a budget as you are still a student and have real bills to pay now, not to mention student loans.

After all the initial excitement wears off, the enormous responsibility begins to hit you hard. Filling up space can be a daunting task by even the best people’s estimation. But, how do you go about making your new place look nice without breaking the bank remains a question that you don’t have to look too far for the answers. Here are a few tips to get you started.

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Think about what works for you in your space

The first step to anything is simple thinking and basic planning. What works for your friend’s new place may not work for you as you are two different people who like different things and have different tastes and feelings about your personal space. So, take a few minutes to identify things that you like and how you feel about your space.

For example, do you like things to be neat and tight or do you prefer for things to be light and airy? Do you like darker or lighter colors on the walls? Is the bedroom, kitchen, living room, or bathroom more important to you? Asking yourself these types of questions can help you figure out what works for you in your space.

Learn by doing

Some people learn best by doing. I am one of those people. You can tell me how a room could look or should look all day long, but I won’t get it until I actually make the room look that way or someone shows me. So, it is likely you don’t have your own interior designer right now in life, so take some time to do some experimenting.

Move furniture, rearrange storage bins, turn your bedroom around counterclockwise by moving things on the right to left and so forth. Sometimes, the best ideas come from actually moving forward in it. And it is okay if it is not right the first time. You have plenty of time to get it right.

Opt for mixing and matching

It is great if you already know what colors you like and want where and how you want each room to look. Actually, it makes decorating that much easier as you can simply search for exactly what you need. But rather than buying a complete set of bed sheets and blankets, for example, take a few minutes to decide what looks good together. Mixing prints such as light colors on the sheets, darker colors on the blankets, and a mix of colors on the pillows can look really pretty when it is all done.

Keep it simple

Personally, I don’t like a lot of junk in any room — bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, storage space — no clutter at all. Focus on keeping rooms and spaces uncluttered and connected to a singular focus. Don’t worry too much about not having space like your grandparent’s home where there is a room and/or space for everything. Focus on keeping each room centered around one or two main purposes.

For example, the kitchen would have typical kitchen appliances as well as utensils, a table, 4-6 chairs or stools if you have an island table, storage for kitchen stuff only, maybe a rug, and flowers centered somewhere on the wall or the middle table. It would not be used as a regular storage space for bathroom supplies or school books or pet beds and treats. The less cluttered your place is, the better you will feel about existing there.

IKEA is cheap and budget-friendly but have a plan before going there

IKEA is a perfect place for finding many wonderful and budget-friendly home items but there is no way you can make your place look just a little like a catalog model if you stick with IKEA items only. Before you head to IKEA just because it will fit into your budget, be sure to create a plan. If you know you’re going to move to a bigger or better place in the next 2-3 years, you may want to avoid some of the complicated units like the shelves and some dressers that must be assembled, which tend to tear up in between moves. Solid items that are typically one piece such as lamps or rugs can usually be included with other items that are more permanent.

Good luck decorating and best of luck sticking to your budget!

Danni White is a developmental psychology graduate student at Liberty University. She works in the digital publishing, media, and technology industries. After this degree, she will go on to work on a PhD in social psychology in which she hopes to do research on perception and social cognition’s impact on human behavior. She hopes to apply this research in corporate HR departments and community-based organizations. In her otherwise limited spare time, she blogs, writes and reads. She loves coffee, sports, music, cooking, meeting new people, and binge watching Netflix.

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