There are few things I love more than decorating a new apartment. I guess, in the same way that an artist gets a thrill out of filling a blank canvas or a writer a blank page, I get so much satisfaction out of taking four walls, a floor, and a ceiling, and turning it into stylish place to call home. Sure, you can fill any place with your things and feel happy coming home to it at the end of the day. But for me decorating is a creative challenge that drives me to think outside the box, especially when I have limited space and time to work with, an overarching theme of almost all of my moves. Having decorated not one, not two, but three different spaces in the last few years, I’ve built a pretty solid repertoire of stores to hit up when I’m looking for something new (or old) for my newest apartment backdrop.
Discovering the best places to shop for apartment decor is surprisingly not as easy as you’d think. There are plenty of stores out there than have fantastic options, but not all of them are great for apartments — sometimes the furniture is too big, too expensive, or just downright impractical for apartment-style living. After some haphazard purchases and reality-checking lessons, I now know exactly where to look when there’s a corner of my apartment that needs a makeover or a little sprucing up. When such an occasion arrives, you can bet that I’ll immediate head to one of the following 10 stores. (My fellow blogger Amanda shared her top 10 list a while back. Feel free to compare and contrast!)
IKEA — Just visiting this store is fun, so I’m not really sure how anyone on Earth doesn’t have IKEA on their list of favorite stores. Maybe I’m biased? In any case, what I appreciate most about IKEA is that you can find great apartment-sized furniture and decor here for a bargain, without having to settle for boring and basic designs. If you’re just starting out in your own place, then your nearest IKEA (or their website, if you’re unlucky enough to not have a local store) should be your first stop!
APT 2B – Their products focus almost entirely on apartment-friendliness, so you can feel confident that you’re making a smart buy with every purchase!
Target — There is a tendency to try to equate Target with other big box stores that sell generic, mass-quantity products. Although Target is definitely a big box store, what I love about them is that they’ve made a huge initiative to pair up with designers and bloggers and keep their decor section fresh and modern. Oh, and the prices are fabulous!
Urban Outfitters — You probably known UO for their hipster-eque clothing lines. However, what you may not know is that they also sell trendy, vintage-inspired apartment furniture and decor, too. I love their use of bright colors and funky patters, so if you love bold designs, be sure to check ’em out!
Overstock.com — I often like to describe overstock.com as West Elm’s more affordable sister. Everything is stylish, but you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to get what you want.
Vintage/Thrift Stores — Vintage and thrift stores are my all-time favorite places to shop for my apartment. No two stores carry the same products or are alike, which means that my place is filled with unique finds. And, best of all, the prices are usually a steal. As they say, “someone else’s trash is my treasure.” To find some of the vintage/thrift stores near you, check out this handy-dandy site.
Etsy — As a creative person, I often try to do my best to support the artists of the world when I can. Unfortunately, there isn’t a local craft fair going on every time I have a whim to add to my apartment’s decor. So, I often turn to the makers site to rule them all, Etsy. This site is not only an easy peasy way to find unique pieces for your home, it’s great for helping other pursue their creative passions.
Cost Plus World Market — Colorful, chic, and affordable! Need I say more?
Anthropologie — Alright, alright…I know that Anthropologie isn’t exactly affordable, unless you’re making the big bucks. But, there’s no denying that they’re a great spot to shop when you’re looking for something really special to add to your new space, especially if you have a soft spot for all things vintage.
FAB — If you have pricey tastes (ahem…like me), then consider FAB your new best friend. Similar to an outlet store, but online, they are a great place for snagging expensive decor pieces at a fraction of the price.