apartment interior image by Arkady Chubykin from Fotolia.com
One of the most enjoyable aspects of getting your new apartment is decorating it to reflect your personality. Staying within a budget can be a challenge, but you can furnish your place cheaply if you keep to a plan. If you can be a little creative, your place will be interesting and feel like home without you spending a lot of money.
Make a plan. When you look around the rooms, ask yourself what style will complement the structure while satisfying your style. Pick up decorator books from your local library that contain photos that reflect many styles, including contemporary, traditional, chic and eclectic among. Choose a style that will work for you, and avoid buying things that don’t fit in with the rest of your decor.
Set up a budget of how much money you have to spend each week or month. This will restrict your shopping to practical levels. You might have to save up for a few weeks for special items like a bed frame that might cost a little more. Use the budget to fill the apartment with your basic furniture like a table, some chairs, a bed, maybe a desk, couch and even a television or stereo.
Do your research. Before you buy anything, take the time to find out what is the best price for that object. What might be marked as a sale price in one high-end store might still be more than the normal price in another store. Go online and compare the merchandise on websites of different stores for the best price.
Look at lightly damaged items or floor models. Many times stores will sell these at a greatly reduced rate. Make sure the damage does not affect the function of the object–like a broken chair leg. A cosmetic flaw can often be hidden and no one will be the wiser. Some larger store chains have storefronts simply for all the seconds and damaged goods.
Visit thrift stores for older items that you can clean up. Often older pieces of furniture, or picture frames are in good condition and with a little sanding and polishing can be a highlight of your apartment. Look for solid wood items. This is also a good way to find kitchenware. Glass and metals like stainless steel, brass, copper and silver can be cleaned and polished to look spectacular. Vintage books like the classic novels add a sense of hominess to an apartment.
Do some trash picking. Although this sounds risky, if you travel to an upscale neighborhood the morning that they throw out their bulk items, you can find some treasures. Be very picky and look for quality, like solid wood chairs or dressers and strong metal objects. It costs you nothing to grab it and if it ends up being worthless, you can throw it out again.
Get creative during the whole process of decorating. As you go through the steps listed, add the items that make an apartment reflect your personality like window dressings, photos, plants and lights. These things can evolve as you live in your apartment and from season to season. Don’t try to get them all at once, but enjoy finding them, one or two at a time.