Decorating an apartment is a blast, but it can do a number on you financially.
If you’re a student who is already paying for tuition, rent, and books, chances are you don’t have a huge budget for decorating.
If that’s the case, don’t sweat it.
The good news:
There are plenty of ways to decorate and achieve the apartment of your dreams. All it takes is a little bit of creativity and resourcefulness!
If your goal is to stick to a budget and still come up with an apartment you adore, it’s possible.
We have five unique ways to decorate your apartment without breaking the bank!
1. Take Your Time Decorating
While gearing up to decorate your apartment, you might feel tempted to go all out.
It sure is fun setting up everything in your place, but don’t pressure yourself into thinking everything has to look “perfect” right away. Otherwise, you may end up spending too much money.
No one ever said you had to decorate your apartment immediately. You’re likely already dealing with student loans and expensive textbooks. Why not stick to the basics at first and then add decorations over time?
Gradually decorating will give you time to get used to your apartment. You’ll have time to decide what living room furniture would work best or if that large art piece will really look good over your bed.
You might actually like how everything turns out better by waiting.
2. Find a student decorator
You may or may not know someone who is majoring in interior design. If possible, find a student designer from your local university’s interior design department. If the school doesn’t offer interior design, call a local interior design school.
Student designers are looking for experience. They might be able to use your project as internship hours. Even if they can’t use the hours as an intern, they'll likely want to add to their portfolio.
The choice is up to them, but generally speaking, the more experience they have, the better!
If they decide to help decorate your apartment, make sure you tell them you appreciate their help.
A student decorator will also likely know where to find good decorating deals. If you have a specific decorative style in mind, they can tell you where to look.
They can also show you some online sites or local businesses that have affordable decor.
Odds are, there are interior design students who are seeking experience. And if you’re a student, you can help one another out!
3. Get more bang for your buck
With the craziness of school, sometimes it isn’t feasible to make or buy things for your apartment. Not to mention, it can also get expensive.
The good news is that you can get more bang for your buck at secondhand stores!
Secondhand stores like thrift stores and flea markets are fun to browse. And, you should be able to find furniture at a reasonable price that’s perfect for your apartment.
Below we go into further detail as to why visiting thrift stores and flea markets should be on the top of your list.
Head to the thrift store
There are a lot of treasures you can find at the local thrift store. Whether you’re looking for furniture or decor, you never know what you may find.
To have the best chance of finding what you’re looking for, get to know your thrift store. Ask when they accept new inventory and become familiar with the store.
Chances are if you show up when they put out new items, you’ll score a unique secondhand treasure for your apartment.
One example is you may find a wooden ladder you can use as a magazine rack. And what about secondhand clothing? In particular, vintage clothing might be fun to hang as wall art!
Not everything will be in excellent condition, so inspect items carefully. You should decide whether you’d be comfortable having them in your apartment.
Thrift stores have a lot of items, and they’re an excellent place to find something unique or vintage.
Use your imagination as you search for ways to decorate your apartment. We have no doubt you’ll come up with creative and beautiful ideas to breathe life into your interiors.
Check out flea markets
Another place to find creative pieces for your apartment is at flea markets.
Find out if there’s a weekly flea market in your area. Depending on where you live, there will probably be a few that take place once a week.
Flea markets are a great way to find decorative elements that’ll look fantastic in your apartment. A few secondhand items you might encounter are black and white photos, books, and magazines.
Are you looking for a game console that may not be brand new but still works well? A flea market might be an excellent place to score a treasure like this.
Getting exercise while you roam around doesn't hurt either!
Some of the flea markets are quite large and take a while to see everything. If you find a few accessories you like, think about how you can use them first.
Also, make sure they’re in good condition. You wouldn’t want to buy a lamp that is missing major parts or has terrible scratches. You don’t want to go home with an accessory you won’t end up using.
Consider your purchases and look over them before buying anything. It’s great to save money, but it’s also smart to think about a purchase, whether you buy it used or not.
It can be a lot of fun meeting new people while searching for new elements that’ll go well in your apartment.
When you do go to a flea market, chances are you’ll find plenty of useful and fun decorative pieces.
4. Decor swap
One more idea is to ask some friends to see if they’d like to do a decor swap.
Wondering what a decor swap is?
Set up a time and apartment where friends can show up and swap their decor. Both you and your friends will bring items that are still in good condition, but no longer want.
The decorative elements may still be “in fashion” but no longer fit in with their apartment themes and colors.
When you meet, get ready to swap decorative items that deserve a new home! Swapping decor is a free and fun way to get “new” accessories in your apartment.
Was your swap a success? If so, repeat it again during the holiday season so you can get some fun new holiday decorations.
5. Creatively add plants
Would you like a little bit of greenery in your space? We don’t blame you!
Plants add a calming energy to any interior and look fantastic.
Since plants can get expensive (like anything else), think of creative ways to add them.
We recommend starting small. You can do that by investing in smaller plants that will get bigger. Another idea is to buy some seeds and plant some on your own.
Your friends might have some flowers you can take off their hands or another plant that’s growing wild in their apartment.
Instead of getting large plants, it’ll still look nice having some smaller plants throughout your apartment.
Making the most of your space by having a tall bookshelf or dresser is an excellent idea. Put in place a few of your favorite succulents, red prayer plant, or small fiddle leaf fig tree.
Decorating an apartment allows you to express your personality uniquely.
There are no set rules for decorating your apartment.
The good news is you can get home accessories wherever you’d like and decorate to your heart’s content. Though it’s nice knowing you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on decorating.
You've got to love thrift stores, flea markets, and the like. They all offer several alternatives to buying everything new!
So before you head out to a popular home decor store, think of ways you can affordably decorate.
Chances are you’ll end up liking the elements you found as much, if not better than what you’ve seen in stores.
is a great townhouse-style community located about a mile from Eastern Carolina University's campus. The community consists of 2x3 and 3x3 apartments and contains a full amenity suite including a fitness center, pool, business center, and game room. The community is the best value in the Greenville NC student housing market.