My first place, like many others, was an apartment. The feeling of finally having a space to call my own was unmatched and I was determined to make it all that it could be – as long as it was in line with what my new budget allowed of course. A month before the much-anticipated move, I scoured anything and everything for apartment décor ideas that would help make my new space mine.
What I found was a huge passion for home décor that was budget friendly and a style that was my own. Now, my style at the time was more heavy and rich with creams and browns. It has since changed to a much lighter fresh style. Though I still hold true to my decorative roots on a few things such as sheer curtains on a balcony or patio.
Even if your personal style does not look like how my preference did back then, you can still implement the ideas to your space with your own desired color scheme and style. Think of this post as a blueprint for creating a well-decorated and inviting apartment to come home to every day. All of these decorating tips and tricks below work cohesively to elevate your space. No matter how big or small, this is a great, guided formula to achieve a beautifully decorated apartment that reflects you!
Now, do keep in mind your apartment policy when decorating. You don’t want to pay a hefty fine when we are trying to save some money here! For instance, my apartment allowed us to hang stuff on our walls. Other apartments may not be that lenient. If they are a little more on the strict side, ask if command strips or other non-wall puncturing alternatives are okay before attempting.
1. Hang Balcony Curtains
My utmost favorite décor feature that I added to my new crib was a pair of sheer curtains for the balcony. I stayed on the third floor and was very lucky to get a view of the sunset each day instead of looking at neighboring apartment buildings. The last thing I wanted to do while sipping on my coffee in the morning was to awkwardly try to avoid eye contact with a fellow renter across from me on their balcony.
However, if you do have your balcony facing another apartment building, curtains can certainly help bring a bit of privacy! It also adds a soft, romantic look to any balcony. There is something relaxing about sheer curtains flowing gently in a breeze. Of course, they don’t have to be sheer curtains. They can be any curtains you like! Just be sure they can withstand the outdoor elements. I personally just chose the sheer type because I love that soft, translucent look they provide.
The best part about this décor project is how inexpensive and super simple it is! I just measured the length and width needed, purchased the sheer curtains online, and bought a curtain rod and curtain rod brackets. The total project was about $25-$30 and it was well worth it!
2. Add Greenery
Plants brought new life to my apartment. I enjoyed watering them every day after my morning cup of coffee and learning how to grow my own fresh herbs for cooking! My favorite plant was the hydrangea. The colors it added to my balcony were stunning! If you have any kind of green thumb, adding plants to your balcony will fill in the emptiness of the space and add beauty to a concrete slab.
I especially loved how the hanging ferns draped down the balcony rails. Plus, they were really easy to take care of as they were low maintenance. However, before selecting your plants, be aware of how much sun your balcony gets in during the day. Too much sun will wither a healthy plant fast and death isn’t very aesthetically pleasing.
3. Layer Different Textures
Mixing textures with throw pillows and blankets epitomize the word cozy as they bring instant comfort to any space. I love mixing it up a bit with different patterns, materials, and textures to make it more dynamic. It’s also a nice touch to add a faux lamb skin rug on the chaise lounge part of the couch. It just adds that extra oomph of coziness to your space. In my opinion, you can never have too many pillows! Though my husband would disagree with that statement.
4. Light Candles
I’m a candle person through and through! The ambiance they bring to a room is classically unmatched. All the different scents, sizes, and places you can put them are endless! I would usually opt for warmer, heavier scent notes such as cashmere, amber, and sandalwood for that cozy feeling.
In this photo, you can see how I implemented candlelight into the room via sconces. I love a good sconce as it can add a different look to a room and add drama. I found it at Marshall’s. Most of everything in my apartment I found at Marshalls, Ross, or Kirkland’s. Though Kirkland items were on sale or clearance because they can be a bit pricey. Anyways, I like to use sconces to frame either a window, like above, or a large art piece. That way they aren’t just randomly hung on the wall. There is a sense of order when they frame something.
And you can create a more dynamic look with a slight level change in the sconces like above. It makes for a more interesting look. It is not as uniform but also not chaotic. You can see the beautiful warm, cozy glow it gives to the room as well as the pretty light design on the wall. Also, pictured above is the cherry blossom table light I bought from Kirkland’s. It’s not a candle, but I love the additional twinkle of light that it gives to a room.
5. Hang Window Treatments
I can never express enough how important window treatments are if you want your space to look well-decorated. Besides the furniture, they anchor the room. The room would look very sparse, unfinished, and empty if you just had blinds on your windows. See all of the added potentials with a well-decorated window? The possibilities are endless with all the different looks you can create in your room with curtains. Here, I have a mixture of brown and cream to create a more interesting look. I’m a huge fan of valances on curtains as they create that romantic sway that adds so much drama to a window.
Again, you see we have the candles and yes…more pillows to create that cozy look and a mini window seat by the balcony because why not? This whole window section instantly made my small apartment look more furnished and relaxing. It truly elevated the space.
6. Buy Upholstered Furniture
The star of the show of the dining room in my opinion is the upholstered chairs. They look expensive, but they were only $200 for all four from Walmart.com. I was a little apprehensive about buying them because of possible or rather inevitable spaghetti stains, but I’m so glad I did! The material is easy to clean with a carpet cleaner. I still have them to this day, 7 years later.
I will say a big faux pas I see is that my dining room rug was a bit too small for the table set. The room could have looked larger with a larger rug. It was a common newbie mistake. It can be a challenge buying décor online if you are not familiar with how large or small measurements are.
7. Set Table Décor
A beautiful table setting can elevate a dining space fast! All you need are some placemats, decorative dishes of your liking, some candles, and a flower bouquet in the center. At least that’s my formula. Easy peasy! No need for any fancy furniture if you have a well-decorated table top. And it looks like you always ready to serve and entertain any guest.
I found these Pfaltzgraff dishes at my local Ross store. It turns out that brand is really well made and I got the set for only $30. And yes, just like the dinning chairs, I still have them to this day!
So if you are ever shopping around and see some Pfaltzgraff dinnerware, snatch em’ up!
8. Implement a color Scheme And Style
At the time, I was really into decorations that pertained to Paris. I love this little snapshot. We’ve got the bouquet of flowers peeping in the background, the wine rack filled with my favorite wine at the time, (Roscato) and the iconic Eiffel Tower to boot! Not pictured, I also had a 3 tiered glass dessert tower on the bar filled with macaroons.
Decide on what your personal style is by looking at sites such as Pinterest or Google Photos. See what grabs your attention and brings you comfort. Make sure you keep that same theme, style, or color scheme flowing through your apartment for a sense of harmony.
9. Don’t Skimp on Bathroom Decor
The bathroom décor was super simple. I just went to Marshalls and picked out some floor rugs that I fancied, a nice bathroom curtain, candles, and a few trays to set staging décor in. The bathroom curtain was only $20 and it was my favorite part of the bathroom by far. It was like having decorative curtains in the bathroom with that tie-back feature which made soaking sessions even more relaxing! For a moment you forget that you’re in an apartment. Again pictured you see my coveted bottle of Roscato. A bubble bath in rose petals was never complete without a glass!
As you can see the Paris theme is carried into the bathroom with a canvas print of the Eiffel Tower. In addition, I wanted to add a little spa feel to my bathrooms and I did this simply by displaying crisp white towels neatly rolled up as well as lit candles.
10. Invest In Art
This canvas was quite the statement piece in my apartment! Everyone that came in always complimented it as it was large, bold, and eye-catching. I can be very picky about art, so when I find something that grabs my attention in a good way, I snatch it up! Especially when it’s on sale at Kirkland’s…like this one was.
Art as a whole enriches your space. It can set the tone of a room and it’s a great way to implement yourself into your home. Add a bit of “you-ness” to your sanctuary.
Of course, some apartments do not allow you to puncture your walls. If this is your case, then as mentioned above, ask if you can use command hooks. You can always buy a sculpture instead as well. Any form of art that speaks to you will certainly add to your home.
11. Create Vignettes
Vignettes are a great way to add personal style to your home and make it look more “put together” like a picture straight out of a magazine! They can be added on virtually any surface in the home such as the kitchen counter, dining table, ottoman, coffee table, bathroom counter, nightstand, etc.! All you need is a tray of your liking, add a few vignette staples such as a candle and flowers, and then add something that pertains to the area that it is in.
For example, the bathroom vignette above has a bathroom mirror and a decorative soap dispenser. I and washcloth. If you have one on a coffee table, add a couple of your favorite books to it. Don’t be hesitant to make it your own and try something new!
Think about the theme you are going for. For a more glam look, you can get a mirrored tray; for a farmhouse/rustic look, you can get a washed wooden tray.
12. Add Flowers To Any Room
Flowers can instantly uplift a room. They add an organic touch to your space as you bring the outdoors indoors. They can add pops of colors, and fragrances, and add to the theme of your home.
Just like vignettes, they can go on any surface and look great! And if buying fresh flowers is not in the budget, don’t disregard quality faux flowers! They may not carry the fragrance, but they will add that pop of color just the same. For hacks on creating a unique faux bouquet click here!
13. Buy Area Rugs That Fit Your Space
A large area rug ties in a space. Without one, the room looks empty and unfinished. It’s also another great way to add your personal touch and reinforce a room’s color scheme/style. If you have to choose one room for an area rug, go for the living room. It’s most likely the largest room in the apartment, therefore it would look the most empty without one. Area rug hot spots also include the dining area and bedroom.
Some common rug sizes include:
Typically for an apartment living room, an 8X10 rug will fit perfectly. 5X7 goes well in the bedroom unless you want the rug a little bit under the bed then you would want to size up to an 8X10.
As always, ensure the rug is large enough and goes past your furniture. As previously mentioned, it can visually shrink your space if it’s too small. A general rule of thumb is to have 6 inches past your furniture at all angles. For dining room tables, I like to do a foot out from the chair legs to account for chairs being pulled out. You don’t want half your chair off the rug!
Also, you can find large-area rugs on Amazon that won’t break the bank in various textures, shapes, styles, and colors!
All of these ideas together can truly elevate your apartment. Think of what kind of feel and theme you want in your home and keep it consistent throughout the apartment. Whether you are going for glam, boho, urban, contemporary, coastal, etc. You want to have a good flow in your home and sticking to a theme and/or color scheme will create that harmony.
You can implement all of these apartment décor ideas into your chosen style, and they will all work cohesively together to make your home look well-decorated. Who says apartments have to be drab and bland?! Not I.
Anywhere you call home you can make it your own. So make it all that it can be.