How To Decorate Your Apartment On $500 Or Less

With all the costs that come along with moving, decorating can seem like the most frivolous spend you can make. However, nobody really wants to stare at the same blank walls day after day. To truly transform your apartment into something you can call your own, that involves putting a little personality on the walls, on the bookshelves, or anywhere else you can squeeze in a little trinket or two.

You don’t need to plunk down thousands at a high-end home furnishings store to find decor that reflects your taste and personality. You can work wonders with just $500! Here’s how to turn a relatively small sum of cash into apartment magic.

1. Change your furniture

If you want to reinvigorate your apartment, start with a furniture change. A simple upgrade of your current couch or area rug, depending on your budget, can entirely change the vibe of your apartment. Many online furniture stores, not to mention classic department stores and affordable furniture brands, sell these items at reasonable prices. You can also look for secondhand furniture to stay within whatever portion of your $500 you dedicate to changing your furniture. Head here for our advice on how to safely find new furniture at affordable prices.

2. Go for small standalone objects

Vases, picture frames, throw pillows, and even books can make great affordable room decor pieces. A small vase on an end table can add a much-needed splash of color to your room, especially if you place flowers inside it. Picture frames come in all sorts of adorable colors and patterns. Throw pillows are both super cute and can be really comfy and versatile. A good book is a great read and something that can make your bookshelf pop. These items tend to run only small amounts to buy as well, so these small pops are accessible at any level.

3. Get art you’ll love forever

You don’t need to be an art collector to get a few interesting pieces for your walls. Sure, some paintings are sold for hundreds of dollars, but more affordable ones at home furnishing outlets can be just as meaningful and gorgeous. Set aside some money for a few art pieces, which can last for years and move from apartment to apartment. Your framed prints, paintings, and the like will be well worth the investment.

4. Buy plants

Plants, especially small ones, can affordably add extra decorative flair to your apartment. You can find cacti, aloe, and other tiny plants — some pots can be as small as four inches across — at any plant store or even a supermarket. With just a small budget set aside to bring some green friends into your home, you might find yourself with a new favorite way to spruce up an otherwise-drab apartment. Just be sure to water your plants as recommended and expose them to a proper amount of sunlight — read up on plant care if you don’t opt for fake plants.

5. End with removable wallpaper

Removable wallpaper is far more low-maintenance than traditional, potentially property-damaging wallpaper. This clingy, yet impermanent hanging is an easy way to brighten up an accent wall or transform an entire room. Once you’ve applied it to your walls, your room will look entirely different, and if you wind up wanting to redecorate again later or needing to move, you can take the wallpaper down without damaging your walls. 

How should you split your $500 budget?

There’s no one proper way to split your budget among these categories. You might find yourself only wanting to buy enough plants to take up $25 of your budget, freeing up more money for the less affordable categories. Maybe you’ll creep into the triple digits on wallpaper costs, or maybe you’ll stumble upon the perfect sofa bed that costs more than half of your $500. Ultimately, as long as you prioritize capping your decorating budget at $500, then no matter how you divide your money, as long as you’re investing in the changes most important to you, then you can drastically change your home without breaking the bank!

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