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This post shows you the best apartment decorating on a budget tips that are guaranteed to inspire you to decorate a space you love without spending a fortune. 

apartment decorating ideas on a budget

Moving into a new apartment is so exciting but also costs a lot of money. I know that first weekend I moved in I literally felt like crying because everything was so dang expensive. Once you buy all the furniture, it feels like there's not a lot of money for the decor. I was all about finding apartment decorating on a budget tips that looked expensive even though it wasn't actually expensive. 

There's actually a surprising amount you can do to an apartment without breaking the rental rules. It often can be really hard to think of decorating ideas for rentals but these tips below can make your apartment look SO good.

These apartment decorating ideas can make a dull and outdated apartment look refreshed and new. I'm sharing with you what I've done and my favorite apartment decorating ideas you can do in your own apartment.

This post is all about apartment decorating on a budget.

Tips For Apartment Decorating on a Budget:

1. Create a Budget

first apartment budget tips

To decorate your apartment on a budget, you first need to have a budget.

One of the first things I did when preparing to move into my apartment was put together a huge excel sheet going over every single thing I needed to buy and come up with a number that I felt comfortable spending on my apartment. I spent a lot of time going through and making sure that everything was accounted for while also comparing my monthly income to make sure that I was able to afford everything. It's no fun to have a perfectly decorated apartment if you're just stressed all the time, right?!

I then tracked it all out and planned accordingly. Once all the big apartment furniture pieces were accounted for, I was able to start considering what I was able to spend on the decor. You can download the exact Apartment Budget Sheet I used here to plan for your own apartment.

Obviously, everyone's budget is different but having an idea of what you can afford to spend is crucial in apartment decorating on a budget. 

2. Ways To Decorate Apartment Walls While Sticking To A Budget

apartment living room
Canvas + Frames
apartment decorating on a budget

(Also...isn't it fun to see how much my apartment living room has changed even from this picture versus the picture above?! it's FINALLY coming together!)

One of the easiest and least expensive ways to decorate a big wall is by creating a picture wall of sorts with a combination of canvases and frames.

I am really not the DIY type, but after seeing how expensive it was to buy a large canvas, I decided that getting out of my comfort zone was worth it in order to have a cute apartment living room. My apartment is full of big walls so I needed something that would be large enough to fill it, otherwise the proportion would be off. Obviously, the bigger you go for decor the more expensive you get and the most budget-friendly apartment decor I could think of was  DIYing this canvas. I was able to make this huge canvas for under $35. If I were to buy it, it would have been over $900! 

I then got black frames from Michaels that were on sale for $6 each (also an amazing price) to put up the sides of it. Because of it being an apartment, I hung all the picture frames with Command strips.

You can see how I created this whole wall by checking out this post here - How To Decorate Your Apartment Living Room Wall While Sticking To A Budget

Wall Decals / Removable Wallpaper

There are so many inexpensive ways that you can decorate your own apartment walls while sticking to a budget. Another idea I love is to use wall decals or removable wallpaper. You can find some of these that are really expensive so you'll have to do some research, but Target and Amazon have some really great options that will make your apartment look way more custom without spending a ton of money on it. Then when you move, you can just take it off.

apartment decorating
apartment decor

Another way I love to fill up wall space are with mirrors. The places where I have been able to find the most affordable mirrors are at Target, Ikea, HomeGoods, and Thrift Stores. Mirrors are definitely a more expensive option than the canvas and frames, but it will add a really cute detail to your apartment living room AND it will make the space look bigger.

You can see how I added two mirrors into my living room and in my bedroom. I had this nook in my apartment living room that was the perfect size for a little bench and after seeing this large circle mirror from Target, I knew it would be the perfect place to put it. I think every bedroom should have a full length mirror just for the fact to check out your outfit (hah!) and the cheapest place by far to find full length mirrors is HomeGoods. I actually got this mirror back in high school and just spray painted it gold to give it some new life. I love this Amazon full-length mirror with cleaner lines (honestly, I like it a lot more than the one I have).

Paint the Walls (if allowed)

The last way to decorate your apartment walls is paint. If your apartment allows you to paint, I would recommend using a lighter color so that it's easier to paint over and then add some pops of color into throw pillows or blankets. 


apartment decorating college

I am a huge fan of rugs and the impact they can make on a space. I got all of the my rugs for my apartment from Rugs USA because you can find some really cute rugs that are inexpensive.

They can add so much to a space and instantly make the room look more "complete." Plus, it's a really good way to define different areas in your space, especially if you're living in a studio apartment and everything is in one room. 

You can see the exact links to where I purchased my rugs here - Everything I Bought For My First Apartment


apartment living room decorating
apartment decorating

Curtains are expensive but they can make a huge impact on your space. Here's what I did to get cheap curtains that look custom:

When buying curtains, you want to get them as close to the ceiling as possible, and have them just sweep the floor. To get this exact, you normally would need to get custom curtains which you're probably not going to want to do because it gets expensive. I stalked websites like Target, Walmart, and Amazon to find curtains that I liked. For my living room, I ended up buying these curtains from Target (ps- if they say they're out of stock, just press the button to get notified. That's what I did and they literally came in stock the next day). Right now, my favorite style is to have them look pleated instead of on hooks.

I then hung them 3 inches down from the ceiling. Whatever you do, don't hang curtains right on top of the window! Your space will look so much more expensive if you bring it close to the ceiling.

Then (this is so extra of me haha) I had my mom sew the bottom so that it swept the floor like custom curtains. She just hand sewed them so you don't need anything fancy to do this. I KNOW this is going way above and beyond but I spent SO much less money on curtains and they look custom for my space.

Inexpensive Furniture

apartment bedroom ideas

One of my biggest tips for making your apartment furniture look really expensive while not spending a ton of money is headboards. I personally wanted a headboard with a base, but this usually costs a lot more money. However, I was able to find my beds for really good prices at Walmart + surprisingly Macy's (but Walmart has better deals).

When looking for a headboard, look for one that goes high on the wall. A taller headboard will make your room look much more expensive and larger.

Another way to make your bed look more expensive is by getting king size pillows. A tip for finding inexpensive quality pillows is to go to HomeGoods, Marshalls or TjMaxx and go to the back of the store in their clearance sections. The most expensive part of a pillow is the actual pillow. So what I do find the pillow size that I'm looking for and make sure that it has a removable pillow cover. I'll buy the pillow for really cheap, and then find a cute cover I like on Amazon for like $5. 

Kitchen Decor

apartment kitchen decor

Decorating an apartment kitchen is a beast of it's own and I am still in the process of decorating so I'll just tell you what I've done so far. I really haven't touched a lot in here so once I actually decorate, I'll come back in here and give some more apartment kitchen decor ideas.

3. Decorate The Space Behind Your Stove

apartment decor ideas

This is obviously dependent on how your stove is layed out, but if you have a similar stove to me where you can decorate the back wall, do it!

I really wanted to utilize the space behind my stove so I got a variety of cute cutting boards and layered them. I was able to find some for really cheap like $10 and then the larger one was pricey. The cheapest cutting boards I found came from HomeGoods. I also think they were the cutest :). AtHome also has some inexpensive ones too!

Store Your Serving Spoons In A Cute Holder
apartment kitchen

This is an extremely budget friendly way to add some decor to your apartment while also being practical. I got a really cute plant holder that I actually hold my serving spoons in. This one is from Target and was only like $11. They also have normal ones that are in the kitchen section. It's just an inexpensive way to add a little decor to this area. This one from Amazon is extremely similar to the one I have!

Hang Cute Dish Towels On Your Stove

Lastly, get cute dish towels to hang on your stove! My favorite dish towels come from HomeGoods but Target dollar section has really great seasonal ones. They are super inexpensive like literally $3. It's just a quick and practical way to add a little decor to your space.

This post was all about apartment decorating on a budget.


  1. Thanks for all the great tips, but I was waiting for information on those light sconces in the first photo! They look so nice. Where did you get them and how do they work without being wired? 🙂

    1. They are from Ikea!! I made them look gold with rub n’ buff. They just plug into a plug so I have them going behind the picture frames 🙂

  2. Hello, I was unable to download the budget spreadsheet. Would it be possible to send it to my email?

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