There's no denying the fact that where a person lives has a tremendous impact on their day to day life. After all, if they're surrounded by a space that makes them feel calm and happy, they'll be more easily able to tackle their day. If the space is cluttered and chaotic and just plain ugly, that will impact daily life, whether people like it or not.
However, there's one big issue that many people face—the budget. After all, even if they'd love to live in a Pinterest perfect space, all those home decor costs add up. Plus, many people are in rental apartments where they don't want to invest too much of their own money in a space that they'll just leave someday.
Even for those with a super limited budget, everyone deserves a gorgeous space that makes them feel like they can thrive. So, rather than giving up entirely, a person may just have to focus on some budget-friendly options that can transform the space.
Luckily, there are plenty of them! From tips targeted towards the overall space to specific additions that can make a huge impact, there are a ton of ways anyone can totally change their space without having to spend major dough.
25 Add A Coat Of Paint
No matter what type of paint you get, you can pretty much guarantee that a can will be less than $50—and paint has such an insane impact on a space.
You might not be too bothered by the boring beige walls of your apartment, but trust us—the moment you slap on a new coat of paint, it will seem like an entirely different space.
If you're just looking for a refresh, go for a beautiful soft grey that'll make your space look luxe. Or, pick a smaller section of your apartment and select a bolder color for a major style statement.
24 Hang A Mirror Or Two Throughout The Space
Mirrors are an amazing addition to your apartment for so many reasons. First of all, many mirrors are basically works of art, with stunning frames that can fit into your apartment's overall decor. Whether you prefer a glam metallic frame or a more rustic weathered wood one, there's a mirror out there for you. And, as an added bonus, mirrors offer a great optical illusion, making your space look bigger than it is. If you have a teeny tiny apartment, it can make a huge difference. Plus, you obviously need some place to check your outfit and overall look every day!
23 Change The Handles And Drawer Pulls
Many people assume that the only way to change a kitchen is to entirely swap out the cabinets. Well, we're here to tell you that you don't need to make a huge investment in putting in entirely new cabinets in order to transform your kitchen.
Simply swapping out the door handles and drawer pulls can make a huge difference.
And, it doesn't damage the cabinets—so, if you're in a rental, you can simply keep the original hardware and replace it when you're ready to leave the space. You can easily swap them out yourself, and it can transform your kitchen from simple to stunning.
22 Upgrade Light Fixtures
If you've ever watched any kind of home renovation show, chances are you've heard an interior designer wax poetic about lighting. Well, they're not wrong—lighting has a huge impact on your space, and it's relatively simple to swap out. If you're looking to totally transform your apartment, all you need to do is upgrade your light fixtures from the standard builder grade boring to something with a little more personality. Depending on the type of fixture you get, you may need a little help installing it, but it'll be totally worth it—and you can find fixtures at all price points, including budget-friendly options.
21 Add Chic Drapes Over Top Of Boring Blinds
So, your rental apartment came with some ugly plastic or metal blinds, and you're not really sure what you can do about them. After all, custom blinds can be super expensive, so you don't want to swap them out. However, you still want some kind of blinds for when you need a little extra privacy. What's a girl to do? Well, install some drapes, obviously!
You can keep the regular blinds, but simply install a curtain rod, if there isn't one, and hang some gorgeous curtains on top of them.
The blinds will just blend into the background and your eye will be drawn to the beautiful fabric.
20 Use Temporary Wallpaper
Temporary wallpaper is an absolutely incredible solution for renters—and it packs a major style statement. There are a ton of temporary wallpaper options on the market, and it's basically exactly what it sounds like—sheets of wallpaper that you can stick on your wall or wherever you want it, and then peel off when you need to return your apartment to its original condition. You can add a pop of visual interest to a small space like your bathroom, you can create a little accent wall, you can use it to line bookshelves for a fun look—the options are endless.
19 Invest In A Great Area Rug
Okay, we will admit, you may need to look around a little bit and wait for some sales in order to find an area rug that is truly budget friendly. However, if you manage to find a great rug on sale or at a reasonable price, you should absolutely pounce on it.
Even if you're not all that bothered by your boring hardwood or laminate floors, trust us, an area rug can totally transform your space.
Whether you want something classic or something with a bit of color to brighten up the space, it's a great way to introduce a little texture and color to your apartment.
18 Add Textural Elements Like Throw Pillows And Blankets
You don't necessarily have to change the actual apartment in order to mix up your decor. Even if you're not comfortable installing anything or painting anything, you can transform your space with a few accessories. Throw pillows and blankets are fantastic additions to any apartment, because they just provide such a pop of interest. You can pick from a variety of textures and colors and shapes to craft a space that truly reflects you. And, it automatically makes your place feel a little more cozy. What's not to love? Plus, it's a pretty low risk investment—if you decide you don't love a particular throw pillow after all, you can just pull on a new pillowcase!
17 Incorporate Some Plants
While you might treat yourself to a bouquet of flowers every now and then, you definitely need to have a plant or two in your apartment to liven things up.
Even if you totally don't have a green thumb, don't worry—there are plants that are super low maintenance, such as succulents, that have just as much of an impact as more gardener-friendly varieties.
Whether you want to place a large potted plant in a corner or add a few smaller pots along a window sill or ledge, there are a ton of options for ways that plants can breathe some fresh air into your apartment.
16 Hack Some IKEA Furniture
Ikea is a budget-friendly dream—there are a ton of options for really reasonable prices, and you can walk out with everything you need without your bank account taking too much of a hit. However, chances are you'll see countless friends of yours with the exact same budget coffee table or budget bookshelves, or the exact same budget entry way table. So, how are you supposed to make your space stand out? Easy—hack that IKEA furniture! There are tons of resources online that can help you swap out the legs, or transform the finish, or repurpose something for a different use, that will give you a totally custom piece for next to nothing.
15 Paint A Piece Of Old Furniture
It's not that hard to find really well-made, amazing pieces of furniture for a low price at thrift stores and garage sales. However, chances are, it'll be in an out of date wood that you don't really find all that chic.
There's a simple solution, though—paint it!
You can buy sample sized pots of paint or spray paint for next to nothing, and a coat of paint can completely transform something from old-fashioned to super modern and chic. You can either select a neutral shade, like white or grey, or even add a pop of color by painting a smaller piece turquoise or red.
14 Make Some DIY Art Pieces
If you're on a budget, chances are you aren't going to be investing in original pieces. Even artists starting out can charge hundreds for a single painting—so what's a girl to do? Well, hit up Pinterest for some inspiration and get your DIY on! If you're not particularly artistic, you probably won't want to tackle painting a landscape. However, you can absolutely create abstract pieces incorporating colours you love, or even just frame printed paper to create a great graphic look. The options for DIY artwork are endless, and having art on the walls definitely makes your space feel more cozy.
13 Cover A Bad Floor With Vinyl Stickers
Many rental apartments have floors that are just plain ugly, especially in spaces like the kitchen or bathroom. Sure, you can cover some of it with a small rug, but you'll still see all the icky pattern peeking out.
Luckily, there's a pretty easy solution—you can sticker over it!
You can buy vinyl stickers for a relatively low price, and if you pick a relatively simply pattern or solid color, you can just lay them over the existing floor to completely transform a space. It seems intimidating, but what's the worst that could happen? Especially if you really dislike the floors, you can only improve them!
12 Use Stick-On Tiles For A Removable Backsplash
Many apartment rentals, especially in the lower price points, don't even have a backsplash in the kitchen. It just goes from counter to wall to cabinets—and it can look really boring. Luckily, there's a simple solution you can buy at the hardware store or order online—stick-on tiles. You can even buy stick-on subway tiles to create a chic, simple look that will completely transform your kitchen. Unless you have a weird shaped area under your cabinets, it should be relatively easy to add a layer of the tiles and have it look clean, crisp, and totally professional.
11 Washi Tape A Design On The Wall
Okay, so there's a space in your apartment that you think would be perfect for a graphic accent wall, but you don't actually want to commit to putting a layer of paint on. It seems too complicated to trace out the design and you're just worried you'll mess it up.
Luckily, there's a great alternative—washi tape!
Yes, the same tape you use to add a little pop to your planner or agenda. You can get washi tape in every imaginable color and pattern, in a variety of widths, and create a completely custom look that will transform your space.
10 Put Up A Peg Board In The Kitchen
In many apartments, storage can be a bit of an issue, especially in the kitchen. While you can pretty easily find space for your pots and pans and plates, it can be tough to figure out where to stash some of the other stuff. You don't want to clutter up your drawers and cabinets and waste space, but you need to put them somewhere! Well, perhaps a pegboard just might be the perfect solution. Pegboard is relatively inexpensive, and it has pre-cut holes where you can add whatever you need and create the arrangement that works best for you. From smaller tools to slightly bigger kitchen gear, you can hang a bunch of kitchen accessories in a chic way.
9 Disguise Your Ugly Fridge With Contact Paper
A fridge is a necessity, but chances are, you don't have a state of the art stainless-steel fridge in your apartment. More likely you have an older-looking model that still works perfectly but leaves a little to be desired appearance-wise. That's where contact paper comes in!
Whether you want a bolder look and opt for a subtle pattern, or simply select contact paper in a metallic finish, you can completely transform your kitchen by just adding a layer of paper to your fridge.
If you're super messy in the kitchen, you might need to change the paper every year or so, but that's a pretty small price to pay for a stunning fridge!
8 Add A Simple Picture Ledge
So, you want to display some pictures, but you don't really want to clutter up every available surface with picture frames? There's a solution for that—install a picture rail! Picture rails are really inexpensive, and fairly easy to install just about anywhere in your apartment. Once you have the rail in place, you can prop art all over the apartment, and it's a whole lot easier to switch out than it is to switch out something that's been hung on the wall and has left behind pesky nail holes. Plus, it's a great way to display art in smaller spaces where you can't exactly hang them all side by side.
7 Paint Just Your Molding And Trim
If painting your entire apartment seems like too big of a job to tackle, there's another great paint-related tip—simply paint your molding and trim! Most apartments simply have trim that's painted the exact same color as the wall, to blend in and create a neutral look.
However, you can transform your space and make a major style statement by choosing a bolder shade to place in those areas of your space.
Whether you go for a whimsical shade or simply a dark, bold color that defines the space, it's a great way to add some visual interest. And, when it's time to move, you can just paint right over it—simple!
6 Turn Your Unsightly Radiators Into Shelves
Radiators aren't exactly the most beautiful element in your apartment, but if that's how your space is heated, they're kind of a necessity. However, you don't need to just accept the fact that you'll forever have an ugly radiator. Instead, you can just invest in a radiator shelf. By simply getting a shelf to go above the radiator, and even painting it the same shade as the wall so that it blends in, you have a space to store things and a way to transform your radiator into what looks like a narrow self. It doesn't hide it entirely, but it's definitely better!
5 Find Cute (And Multi-Functional) Storage Bins
You might be tempted to cheap out and just get some plastic bins in which to store your stuff. After all, you'll probably just shove the extra things somewhere out of sight, right? Well, we'd urge you not to go down that road.
Instead, spend a few extra dollars and get storage bins that you think are totally adorable.
Then, you can display them on bookshelves, place them beside the couch, basically just put them anywhere in your apartment with no worries. They're definitely better to look at than those cheap plastic tubs, and will make your space feel more luxurious.
4 Install A Few Floating Shelves
Floating shelves are really easy to install, and they can make a huge difference in whatever space they're in. Perhaps you have a teeny bathroom that doesn't have much storage space—install a small floating shelf wherever it fits and you suddenly have the perfect spot to put all your products. Maybe you don't have a pantry in your kitchen and you can't figure out where to store your spices—install a floating shelf and you have the perfect spice rack! The options are endless, and you can find shelves in just about every length under the sun, from teeny tiny to super long.
3 Disguise An Ugly Countertop With Contact Paper
Is your apartment's kitchen totally ruined by the unsightly laminate counter? Well, luckily, there's a solution—and it doesn't involve springing for a new counter entirely.
Instead, just bust out your box of contact paper and begin measuring.
While contact paper probably isn't going to be durable enough to last you for a decade, as a temporary solution, it's pretty ingenious. You can even get contact paper in a marble pattern, so you can feel like you're living large with Carrerra marble countertops. Hey, there's nothing wrong with liking the finer things in life, especially when you can hack them with a faux countertop cover!
2 Incorporate String Light Accents For A Touch Of Whimsy
Some people associate string lights with the holiday season, but there's a reason that so many restaurants and patios incorporate them in some way—they add a ton of warmth and ambience to the space. After all, who doesn't want a soft glow in their apartment every single evening? Obviously, you probably don't want multi-colored blinking lights in your grown-up apartment. However, there are tons of string lights in shades of warm white, with bulbs that look a bit more high end. Adding them to your space can add a little extra glow, and a ton of whimsy—what's not to love?
1 Make A Gallery Wall
If you have a relatively empty wall in your apartment that's big enough to accommodate a few pictures, there's a simple solution to transform your apartment—gallery wall!
A gallery wall can be a great addition to any apartment, because you can pick exactly the images you truly love, and then you get to see them every single day.
It may take a bit of arranging to figure out the perfect layout, and you'll probably want to plan it all on the floor before nailing holes in your wall, but still—they're a stunning addition to any home and allow you to showcase your humble art collection.
Sources: StyleCaster, Architectural Digest, Jillian Harris