7 Easy Small Apartment Decorating Ideas on a Budget (2023)

  • Make a plan when decorating your home, no matter the size, by focusing on fabrics and colors that most appeal to you
  • Add pops of color through decorative pieces like plants or painted furniture, as well as tackling your walls if you’re able to paint
  • Bring a cohesive decor throughout your place from the front door to the balcony for a more put-together look

Living in a smaller apartment, you may put most of your energy toward getting all your belongings to fit. While this is important, you should carve out time to decorate.

Even with a small budget, if you add some creative thinking, you can decorate an apartment to be functional, personal and, well, pretty.

How to decorate an apartment

With limited space to work with, it's important to have a vision or particular style for your decorations. Without it, you could end up making purchases you don't have room for or that end up not working with the rest of the space. This can lead to wasted time and money.

Craft a decorating plan by collecting fabrics and color inspiration from the internet. This helps ensure a design that's affordable and cohesive. As you begin planning, you may even find you have most of the pieces you want to display, saving even more money by repurposing and reusing.

When it's time to shop, follow the simple advice of Gabrielle Blackman at Real Homes:

“Don't rush into buying the first thing you see to match your vision. Consider your budget, how something will work in a space and most importantly, if you really need it. If you don't love it, don't buy it!"


Where you live can impact what you like

Once you decide where to look and what your decorative inspiration is, you have to decide what exactly you need to buy. According to reviewed.com, every state has its own popular decor item. This is the item that's searched for the most within the state.

7 Easy Small Apartment Decorating Ideas on a Budget (1)

Source: reviewed.com

A few ideas overlap, including wall decor or art, bar carts, mirrors, trays, throw pillows, frames and wallpaper. A few states have pretty unique design preferences, though:

  • In California, the top decor piece searched for online is centerpiece bowls
  • Georgians like diffusers
  • People in Pennsylvania like to decorate with slipcovers
  • Texans prefer figurines
  • In Wyoming, lanterns are the most popular decor piece

The easy, affordable ways to decorate an apartment aren't only based on what's popular in your area. Here are seven suggestions that work well in smaller spaces which are also budget-friendly.

1. Plant life

7 Easy Small Apartment Decorating Ideas on a Budget (2)

There's a long list of plants that need minimal maintenance. Position them in the right spot, water occasionally and you have a simple and affordable bit of decor. Not only that, but houseplants come in every shape and size. Some flower and others don't. You have the variety to pick a plant or two you like to liven up your apartment.

Some plants even do double-duty, providing health benefits besides looking pretty. The pot you put your plant in can add a pop of color, as well as creating an even more attractive decoration.


Terrariums, as well as cut flowers, also look great in small spaces. You can take a bouquet of fresh flowers and either display them as a large, single bunch or break down the blooms into multiple bud vases to stretch the decoration even further.

Terrariums can feature plants, as well as their own mini decorations. Organize one within a uniquely-shaped container, and it becomes a living knick-knack requiring minimal care.

2. Stick it

7 Easy Small Apartment Decorating Ideas on a Budget (3)

With limited wall space in a small apartment, you want to be deliberate with what you put up. You may also need that vertical space for shelving and storage, but save some for a little decoration.

Vinyl wall decals come as pictures, inspirational quotes and even images of your favorite characters. Applying them doesn't require any holes in your walls, and they're easy to remove and re-stick should you want to change up your space.

Installation is no problem, either, and you can use them to decorate cabinets and doors, too. Anywhere you want to stick them, they'll hold on, providing you with an easy and affordable decorating strategy.

3. Hardware update

7 Easy Small Apartment Decorating Ideas on a Budget (4)

You don't want to make any permanent changes in your apartment since you're most likely a temporary tenant. You can, however, focus on things that are easy to change back should you want to add design elements that don't add to the footprint of your space.

One suggestion is to switch out the cabinet and drawer pulls in your kitchen or bathroom. Replace what's there with something that reflects your own sense of style. With options under $10 apiece, it's not a costly change, and you get to bring the hardware with you for your next place.

The trick for this design idea is to match the footprint of the original hardware. You don't want to add new holes into your cabinet and drawer faces. If the current pulls attach with a single screw, don't buy ones that use two. Also, don't forget to keep your old hardware to switch it back before you move.


4. Comfort in a signature color

7 Easy Small Apartment Decorating Ideas on a Budget (5)

It's amazing how much a few throw pillows or a plush blanket tossed on the back of the couch can add to a room. They help create a feeling of comfort and relaxation. They can take a small space and turn it into a cozy haven. With a variety of colors, patterns, styles and materials, finding throw pillows and blankets in your signature color is easy.

Pretty to look at, these items are also functional. Larger pillows can create extra seating. Added to a daybed, throw pillows transform the furniture piece into a couch. Mix and match patterns and textures to add depth and style. You can even rotate out pillows for special holidays or the changing seasons to keep things fresh.

5. Reflect your own style

7 Easy Small Apartment Decorating Ideas on a Budget (6)

Mirrors are a perfect decorative piece in a small apartment because they help make rooms appear bigger. Rather than buy a large, more expensive mirror, try to find smaller ones in a variety of shapes and sizes to create a mirrored collage on the wall.

Their reflective power helps spread light through the room. More brightness in a small space gives the impression it's bigger than it looks. The extra light also makes a space feel more cheery and happy.

6. Personality the easy way

7 Easy Small Apartment Decorating Ideas on a Budget (7)

If shopping for new items isn't in the budget, don't worry. You most likely have almost all you need at home to create your own decorations. Start with your own mementos. Pictures, postcards or dated art calendars can all transform into art pieces for your walls.

“Getting a few favorite photos up on the wall is one of the quickest and easiest ways to make a new place feel like home," says Forbes contributing writer, Laura Gaskill.

You can even transform a series of pictures into a collage for a unique, framed print. If you have a little money in the budget for decor, pick out some stencils, paint and a small canvas or two and create your own art.

(Video) small apartment decorating ideas on a budget

Repurposing items can also provide unexpected decor pieces. Put a fresh coat of paint on a drab piece of furniture to make it like new. Get creative with things like empty metal tea tins, coffee tins or even food cans. Once cleaned out, they make great planters or cute storage for smaller items.

7. Don't forget the balcony

7 Easy Small Apartment Decorating Ideas on a Budget (8)

If you're lucky enough to get an apartment with a balcony, don't forget to decorate that, too. How to decorate an apartment balcony isn't complicated. Place a small table with one or two chairs out there to start. You can even get ones that fold up should you ever need to free up some space.

Add a few of the plants from inside or decorate with larger pots. Herbs grow great in a variety of climates and do well on balconies. They can also make the area smell delicious and ensure you have fresh ingredients when you cook at home.

Toss in a small, outdoor rug and you've created an inviting space for appetizers and cocktails with friends, as well as an additional room to read a book or savor a cup of coffee.

The design you create within your apartment can extend to the outdoors to create a sensation in your home that's truly you.

Keep your budget in mind

You don't always have to buy new to find quality, decorative pieces that align with your design style. Check out your favorite stores, discount shops and outlets, but also make time to go a little off the beaten path.

Visit consignment shops, garage and estate sales and flea markets. Art fairs and craft fairs are yet another place to find unique pieces. They may be a little less affordable, but it can be part of your budget to splurge on one or two items.

A unique piece is something nobody can duplicate so it's a worthwhile investment if you find something that speaks to you.

Design for your entire space

Whether working with small or large spaces and a big or tiny budget, cohesive design choices allow you to show off your personality while establishing your home as your perfect space.

(Video) Decorating your Home on a Budget | DIY Apartment & House Ideas


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One one of the most effective things you can do is paint your ceiling or cover it with wallpaper.

How can I decorate my apartment fast? ›

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  3. Pick a statement piece. ...
  4. Use smart storage. ...
  5. Make a gallery wall. ...
  6. Use mirrors. ...
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How can I decorate cheaply? ›

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  5. Add life. ...
  6. Hang curtains. ...
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How do I rearrange my apartment? ›

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  3. Think Big. ...
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How do you decorate a small unit? ›

Small-space Design Tips
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  6. Create layers. ...
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2 Jan 2021

How do you redo a room without buying anything? ›

How To Decorate Your Room Without Buying Anything - YouTube

How can I decorate my bedroom with no money? ›

Rest easy, and take a look!
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What is the 60 30 10 decorating rule? ›

What is the 60-30-10 Rule? It's a classic decor rule that helps create a color palette for a space. It states that 60% of the room should be a dominant color, 30% should be the secondary color or texture and the last 10% should be an accent.

What makes a home feel inviting? ›

Adding natural elements like plants into your décor will bring life to your space, making it more welcoming. Also, make sure to vary the types of natural elements you add into your space. From tall leafy plants to fragrant flowers, experiment with different plants to bring life to the room and make it more inviting!

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What is a small apartment called? ›

studio apartment

nounone-room apartment. flat. garden apartment. small apartment. studio.

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  6. Hang Curtains. ...
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How do you rearrange your room if it's small? ›

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How do I make my rental cozy? ›

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How do landlords decorate? ›

Landlord decorating tips
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How do I update my home decor 2022? ›

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How do you make an aesthetic apartment? ›

11 Small Apartment Aesthetic Tips for Creating a Stylish Space - YouTube

How do I rearrange my apartment? ›

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  6. How to Know When You've Found the Right Fit. ...
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