10 Tips for Decorating on a Budget

You might assume that it’s impossible to decorate your apartment without a big budget. Prepare to be pleasantly surprised by the following ten tips from Better Homes and Gardens for decorating on a budget.

Decorating on a Budget


Repaint old furniture: Have some old wood furniture? Instead of throwing it out, give it a fresh coat of paint. Even mismatched but stylish dining chairs look happy together when you paint them the same color.

Add greenery: Indoor plants are often underappreciated, perhaps because they require care to stay beautiful. If you don’t have a green thumb, try decorating with fake greens or vases full of fresh-cut flowers from the garden.

Make your own art: Framed artwork adds beauty to any room, but it can get expensive. If you have an eye for photography, snap your own photos, print them for a few cents each, and frame them yourself. You can even make your own affordable triptych by framing wrapping paper in three identical frames. Hang them a few inches apart to create the illusion of large, expensive artwork.

Redo lampshades: If your nightstand lamp shade leaves something to be desired, give it some pizzazz by splattering the shade with paint. Then, turn it into a bulletin board by wrapping twine in a crisscross pattern over the shade and tucking pictures, tickets, stamps and other paper mementos behind the twine.

Add a mirror: An oversized mirror over the mantle reflects natural light back into the room, making it look larger. If one mirror is too expensive, get creative with several smaller mirrors hung closely together.

Install floating shelves: Use the shelves to show off a prized collection, some of your favorite mementos or holiday decor. It’s easy to rotate through different decorations on the shelves based on the season or even your mood without paying to totally redecorate the space.

Get painting: If you can’t paint the walls in your apartment, paint the furniture instead! Newly painted dining room chairs, headboard, or nightstands can be just as impressive as a new color on the walls.

Use drapes: This nonpermanent change to your apartment is the perfect way to dress up a wall. You can also hang several layers of drapes far beyond the edges of a small window to give the illusion that the window extends across the entire wall.

Add lighting: When your apartment lacks overhead lighting, improvise with table and standing lamps. Get even more creative with plug-in wall sconces and under-cabinet lighting. These transform the room without expensive electrical work (which is probably out of the question in an apartment situation anyway).

Throw in some pillows: Liven up white walls and nondescript furniture with a few throw pillows. Later down the road, you can change their look by replacing the covers. These are easy to rotate since covers require little storage space. They also make taking out stains a breeze.

It’s clear that you don’t need deep pockets to give your apartment a personalized look; all you need is a little creativity.