Decorating your first apartment is a very exciting job! Your first chance to put your stamp on a place that is truly your own. You get to express your creativity, and create a place that reflects you. But, as you’ll soon learn, decorating an apartment is expensive. There are some first apartment essentials you need. Furniture, appliances, shelving, to small things like throw pillows for the living room -the cost can add up quick, even in a small space!

In this article, we’re going to give you some apartment decorating ideas that are actually affordable, but that won’t compromise on your vision. We’ve got some tips on cheap apartment decor without the cheap appeal! Let’s get started.

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first apartment essentials


Go Second-Hand for first apartment essentials

Our first piece of advice is to go second hand. If you want quality furniture without buying at top-tier prices, then buying reclaimed or vintage furniture is your best bet! If you keep a keen eye on second-hand markets, then you can find some quality stuff for bargain bin prices. A lot of the time, people will be happy just to get the old furniture out of their house. You can find anything from a new coffee table or dining table for your living room, to a vintage bedframe for your bed. There’s also a ton of second hand home decor that can bring a vintage or boho chic look to your living space.

So, keep an eye on online classifieds, garage sales, Facebook Marketplace, your parent’s basement, and anywhere that old furniture can be found! Sometimes, all it takes is a sanding or some spray paint to have it looking good as new!


Display Something Meaningful

A great, inexpensive design idea is to display something that is meaningful to you. Not only will this help develop a nice theme, but it will give your place something that is representative of who you are.

first apartment essentials with books and plants

Take something you are passionate about, and display it in a nice, organized way. It could be your book collection, your vinyl collection, memorabilia from your travels, or anything that you enjoy! Lay it out nicely on a shelf, on a bookcase, on a side table, or wherever it fits. If you have a lot of photos and art, consider displaying them in a gallery wall style in your dining room or entryway. And since you have likely started this collection already, it won’t be something you have to put a big investment into.


Wall Decorations

Hexagon Wall Stickers

Another easy way to add some character to a room is to hang things on the walls. From pictures, to decorative plates, to paintings, to anything in between, wall hangings are a great way to spruce up your place on a budget. And you can find cheap wall hangers almost anywhere.

They’re also a great way to add a touch of personal character to your space. Settle on a theme for your wall decor, and really run with it! First apartment essentials like this, are a great place to start.


A Nice Rug

Yoshie Persian Floral Area Rug

Investing in a nice rug might not be super cheap, but it might also be the best way to stretch your dollar! An area rug goes such a long way in tying together your whole decor scheme in your living space. It presents a focal point for all the furniture to organize around, and provides a comfortable space for you and your guests. Plus, rugs come in all shapes, patterns, and sizes. You can find an area rug that really complements the rest of your furniture, and really elevates the entire space!



How about a fresh coat of paint? First apartment essentials that are visual, are import too. We’re really focusing on simple things that make a big difference. Painting your space isn’t the most fun job, but you’d be amazed at how much it can change your space. Plus, as with everything on this list, it’s an affordable option!

Paint is also a great opportunity to get creative. You can go light, dark, or even go wild! The possibilities only end at your creativity. Plus, a fresh coat can take an old apartment and have it looking like new.


New Curtains

Curtains are another great way to put a personal touch on a room. Curtains are relatively inexpensive, and they’re big. This means you’re adding a big design feature on a budget.

Curtains are often overlooked when it comes to a new apartment, and we think that’s a shame. First apartment essentials like this are a good first choice as well. A nice pair of curtains actually goes such a long way in accenting the entire room, and there are a lot of options available! Not to mention that they’re form and function, and it’s nice to be able to keep the harsh sun out of your eyes!



Self Watering Planters Plastic as first apartment essentials

Houseplants are an awesome decoration, and they fit pretty much any design scheme. Houseplants are an easy, affordable way to add a splash of color and life to any room. Any home store probably has a houseplant section, and you can find all sorts of different plants to suit your personal style. Cacti, potted plants, hanging plants, droopy plants, flowers, there’s so much to choose from!


Focus on a Theme

So far in this article, we’ve focused mainly on specific recommendations, but it’s good to think about general design principles as well. Simply put, it’s a lot easier to decorate if you first plan for an overall theme. Decorating is all about tying everything together. It’s how each piece comes together and works to build an overall impression of your home.

So, before you start decorating, think of what your goals are! Think of how you want your home to look and then decide on what you need to make that happen. This way, you have a clear idea of what you want, and can simply focus on working within your budget to get everything you need.

This also allows you to prioritize. You can settle on the most important things, and purchase in order of importance. Because let’s face it, you aren’t going to have your dream apartment right away! It’s a process, and you’ll likely spend years perfecting your home. So, budget for the important stuff right away, and worry about the rest later!

first apartment essentials in red and white



Thanks so much for checking out our decor ideas on a budget! These first apartment essentials can open up a world of possibilities. Decorating is such a fun and creative expression of your individuality, and you don’t want that fun to be soured by budgetary concerns. We focused on affordable design ideas that don’t compromise on quality. We are confident that, with a little bit of planning and research, you already have the budget to create your dream apartment!



Read More Here – 12 Perfect Studio Apartment Decor Layouts That Work