Apartment Guide Editorial Team

When you live in an apartment, sometimes it can be difficult to make it really feel like home — especially if you don’t want to spend a fortune. You usually don’t have the option of changing a lot of things in the apartment, since you don’t own the place.

However, if you get creative, there are still a lot of ways to decorate your apartment, personalizing it in a unique and interesting way. Here are some unique ways to add spice to an apartment, all without lightening your wallet too much.

On the Walls

Photographs: What do you do when you can’t paint a wall? Fill it up with something that’s better than paint.

Image: George Hodan, Public Domain Pictures
Image: George Hodan, Public Domain Pictures

Photographs of fond memories make a perfect substitute for wallpaper. If you print out a bunch of photos and hang them edge-to-edge, left to right and top to bottom along your wall, it will cover up any bland or unattractive wall space that you’re trying to hide. You can even get creative with how you arrange them, or the different photos that you use. For example, you could add a few landscapes to give it more distinction, or arrange them into a certain shape, like a heart.

Art: Another good way to fill up empty space on a blank wall is with art. Even the word “art” sounds expensive, but it really doesn’t have to be. You don’t have to be especially crafty or creative to make some art of your own. Find some nice wallpaper (wrapping paper is cheaper, but won’t hold up as well), and cover a large canvas or a few smaller canvases with it. If you do a few canvases, perhaps use two different types of wallpaper — one plain and one patterned.

Cost breakdown:

  • Photographs: 9 cents each
  • Canvas: $11-$35
  • Wallpaper: $20-$30 per roll
  • Total: Less than $70



Organizing cooking utensils: One of the best ways to decorate a kitchen for less is simply to use the items that are already there — and you’ll tidy things up in the process.

This idea uses a garden rake as a way to hang your cooking utensils. You could use an old rake, but a new one won’t set you back too much, so it might be worth spending the cash (if only for hygiene's sake!).

Organizing ingredients: Another easy, tasteful way to both decorate and organize is to use glass jars to store your dry ingredients and brightly colored fruit.

Cost breakdown:

  • Garden rake: $10
  • Glass jars: $10-$20 each
  • Total cost: Less than $50


Furniture, especially couches, can be one of the most expensive things to buy for an apartment. If you make one of these cool DIY pallet couches, you’ll have a brand-new sofa for a fraction of the cost of buying one.

All you have to do is:

1. Find some pallets. You can get them for free by asking around different stores.

2. Sand and paint the pallets.

3. Find some upholstery foam in your desired thickness. Thicker foam is more comfortable, but also more expensive.

4. Cover the upholstery foam with the material of your choice. Again, stronger material will last longer, but will be more expensive.

5. Stack the pallets against a wall and place the cushions on top.

Cost breakdown:

  • Pallets: Free
  • Paint: $10-$20
  • Sandpaper: $3
  • Foam: $30-$40
  • Fabric: Variable
  • Total: Probably less than $100, depending on your foam and fabric.

For more design inspiration, don’t forget to check out our Pinterest page!

What are your cost-saving secrets for decorating your apartment?



About The Author

Apartment Guide Editorial Team

The Apartment Guide Blog is your premier source for all things apartment related. From your initial search to your next move and everything in between, we’ve got you covered with all the tips, tricks and advice you’re looking for. We also sprinkle in a little industry news like rental trends and city lists from time to time if that’s your thing.