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How to Decorate an Apartment on a Budget

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Establish the Budget
Decorating can cost a lot of money, and it is a common, through avoidable, pitfall to suddenly find yourself over budget before the project is completed. The old carpenter’s adage says, "measure twice and cut once," and the same words of caution are well heeded when redecorating. Running out of money part way through will not only leave you with an empty wallet and an unfinished apartment, it will kill you spirit as well.

Ask yourself what really needs to be done; what must be replaced and what can be reused. Figure out what everything that needs to be replaced will cost, on paper, including paint and wallpaper, then do it again. Always round figures up to the nearest dollar to give yourself some leeway.

Clear Out the Clutter
Nothing gets in the way of creativity like clutter. By removing everything possibly from the apartment you will have a much better idea of what the space could be. If you don’t have the option of storing things off-site, move everything into one room that you can live without for a few days.

Release Your Inner Muse
Try to visualize what the space can become. Search through magazines, home improvement books and online for inspiration. When looking at photos, try to notice how the colors and furniture work to complement each other. Start with selecting new furniture and match the decor to it, instead of the other way around, which can get very expensive every quickly. Paint is cheap, colorful and the budget decorators best friend.

It’s Just Not New
Refining old furniture will get it a new lease on life while saving wear on your pocketbook. Think about new slipcovers to give the old living room set a makeover. A new coat of paint and some new knobs and handles will give the kitchen cabinets a rejuvenating facelift.

Hit the sales - the yard and garage sales that is. It is amazing some of the things people just want to get rid of for bargain prices. Full bedroom sets, rugs, shelves, TV stands and full length mirrors can all be had for pennies on the dollar. Don’t overlook thrift stores and check the classified ads daily for bargains while you are decorating. Also, check with friends and family members to see if they have any pieces they are trying to get rid of.

Set the Stage
Arrange furniture a way from walls in a way that traffic patterns flow from one room to the next. Center large pieces around area rugs, to give the space a feeling of definition. Leave entry ways uncluttered, adding only a small table and a mirror, giving the illusion of a large room.

Recoup Some Cash
Now that you have your new pad all spiffed up, hold your own sale to get rid of all the things you no longer need. With a little luck, and some haggling, you might even pay for most of the redecorating costs.

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