Decorating an apartment, especially a tiny one, seems overwhelming until you find helpful decorating tips and discover the much-needed inspiration that gets the wheels turning, bringing out your creative side. Well, that’s what I’m here for, because I decorated my small apartment by myself and I did it on a surprisingly low budget – but the final result was still chic and magazine-cover worthy. I realized that decorating on the cheap while still keeping it chic is easy as long as you’re resourceful and creative. It also helps if you’re good at choosing color trios and you’re aware that red and green don’t match.
I learned to find as much furniture as possible that doubled as storage, and that incredibly beautiful home décor can be found at places like HomeSense. HomeSense is a budget-friendly home decor destination where you’ll find items that look designer on the cheap. I literally furnished my entire living room with HomeSense finds.
Home decor can also definitely be found for cheap at thrift stores. You can even upcyle, re-paint and repurpose ugly thrift store crap and transform it into chic decor that people will think you spent a fortune on. However, certain items such as a bed should not be bought at a thrift store. You probably want your bed to be new, because gross. Luckily, I hit up my local Liquidation Furniture store and found a storage bed for only $299, and a bed that doubled as storage was super necessary considering the lack of space in my tiny bedroom. Here are some tips on how to decorate your small apartment on the cheap but still chic:
1. Use wall decals to decorate instead of buying expensive paintings
Wall decals are vinyl stickers that decorate a wall. With wall decals, you get a lot of bang for your buck and it’s super easy to stick them onto any wall you’d like to decorate (and they’re easy to remove, too.) I like Urban Walls because their designs are artsy, trendy, fashionable and beautiful. They keep up with the trends and their designs are chic instead of tacky. They don’t damage your walls and they’ll last for years and years. I love the look of one accent wall in a bedroom, in the form of a polka-dot wall (usually it looks best if it’s the wall where your headboard would be against.) However, I wanted something better than the generic polka-dots because I felt they lack uniqueness. Urban Walls, however, has watercolor polka dot wall decals that actually look as though they’ve been painted onto your wall. For only $60 you get a pack of 50 dots which is more than enough to decorate an entire wall.
The dots help your bedroom achieve a creative and abstract look because the dots aren’t perfect circles and the pack comes with a mix of different shades of one particular color to accomplish that beautiful watercolour effect. Instead of a polka dot wall, you can use the Urban Walls mini pineapples instead. You get the same cool look of a polka dot wall, but with pineapples in any color you want!
They even do quotes, so if you want to stick a big gold quote on your wall about life, love or dreams – they’ve got your back.
2. Window mirrors are your new best friend
No joke, I fell in love with the very first window mirror I found (I found one at a yard sale, thought it was unique and awesome, and bought it for $15) and since then, I’ve been collecting them. I always find them on Craigslist or at thrift stores, and they’re never more than $20. I even made my own window mirror once, by repurposing an old window frame that I found on Craigslist and gluing it to a cut-to-size piece of mirror.
Window mirrors are just like regular rectangle mirrors, but overtop is an antique wooden window frame, which creates the illusion of extra windows in your small apartment. Mirrors are known for making small spaces look bigger, but window mirrors do that and more – they create the illusion of windows. I could write an entire article about how much I love window mirrors and why, but I won’t.
3. Shop for condo-sized furniture
Lots of companies are known for having condo-sized furniture and having furniture that is scaled to the size of a small apartment. For example, most of the sectionals I liked were too big for my space. At 110 inches long, they would never fit in my living room, and they were also $1,400 at the cheapest. At Future Furniture I found a beautiful sectional that was the perfect size to fit in my small living room and it was only $550, new!
4. Buy multi-purpose décor items and storage furniture
As I mentioned, my storage bed frame saved my life because my bedroom has such limited space. But I didn’t stop there. My coffee table is an antique trunk from a thrift shop, and it stores all my blankets, books and home work-out gear. It’s so much easier to keep your apartment clean if you’re hiding all your junk in a cool piece of storage furniture – and nobody knows. Most of the time, when you have visitors, the first they think of isn’t to go and open up your coffee table. An example of a multi-purpose décor item is a mirrored tray. It can act as a centrepiece for a coffee table, but it can also be used to serve drinks when you have company.
5. Floating shelves are way better than a bookshelf
A bookshelf takes up space. But floating shelves, on the other hand, can be placed above your dresser or anywhere you like where there’s open space. You end up saving space and creating a chic look because these days, there’s cool mirrored floating shelves and unique triangle-shaped floating shelves that are multi-functional and add a stylish flair to your apartment. Plus, you know, you need somewhere to display your cute pineapple jar and you need a place to put your cool vintage globe.
6. Don’t underestimate how cute DIY home décor can be
The cheapest way to decorate is to be crafty and buy paint and create something cool instead of going out and buying things. I just mentioned how handy floating shelves are, and you can make them yourself. You can use old wooden wine crates or pieces of scrap wood, and buy a small bottle of metallic gold paint for $3 and paint some cool gold floating shelves. If you end up with extra pieces of scrap wood that you didn’t use, you can make coasters. Oh, and DIY book-ends created from two painted bricks is really cool and unique.