“Don’t buy that, I could make it for so much cheaper.”
“We can find that cheaper somewhere else.”
Everytime my roommate and I go shopping, I find myself saying these two things at least once throughout our shopping excursions. She, like most young people, likes nice things. I do too, however, if there’s anything I hate, it’s spending money. So when it came time to decorate our apartment, I took over full duty of that job, assuring her I could do it, make our apartment look fantastic, and save us hundreds of dollars in the process. By making most of the decorations, and bargain hunting for the rest, we ended up with a very trendy, well decorated apartment that all of our friends compliment us for. Here’s how I did it.
Pick a color, any color. Unless you want your apartment to look like a frat pad, I suggest you pick a color scheme and stick to it. For my apartment, I chose pink, black, and white. I figured black and white were very classy colors that never go out of style, and pink would add a nice feminine touch and brightness to our otherwise sterile apartment. Having a color scheme will make every step in the money saving process a little easier, as it will make it very simple to pick out decor items and will help you from refrain from buying extra things that will not match your color scheme. I suggest choosing a two to three color scheme. If you only use one color, it will look overloaded and tacky.
Make Curtains. Making yourself some good curtains will save you money in two departments. For one, buying fabric by the yard is far cheaper than buying premade curtains, for another, curtains will keep the amount of sunlight pouring into your house down to a minimum, keeping it cooler and causing you to run your AC unit less. This will save you money on your electrical bill. Making your own curtains is an extremely simple process. Choose fabric that matches the color scheme you have chosen.
Homemade Decorative Pillows. I made several two sided decorative pillows for my living room. Using a silk type material I picked up at Hobby Lobby for about $2 a yard, I made different sized pillows to throw on my sofa that are pink on one side, black on the other. These only took me about an hour to make all of them, and cost me under $15 for the entire set. All you need is 2 colors of fabric, a needle and thread, and a large bag of batting. You can get all three at any craft store. Start by measuring the size you want each pillow to be, and cut a piece this size out of each color. lay the squares (or rectangles) flat on top of each other with the silk material touching each other. This was the dull side of the material is facing out to you. Pin the material together. Measure 1/2 inch from the edge and sew the fabric together all the way around three sides. On the fourth side, sew across just enough until you have an opening large enough to stick your hand in. Take the pins out and stick your hand in the opening to grab an inside corner of the material. Pulling this corner through the opening will turn the material right side out, so the silk is now on the outside. Next, stuff the material with batting through the opening until it feels firm enough to your liking. To close the pillow off and finish, tuck the material and circle stick it all the way closed. This will hide all of your seams and leave you with fashionable decorative pillows to give your living room a homey feel.
Go Thrifting. While I can understand why you might not want to buy things like your couches and reclining chairs second hand, most of your wooden furniture can be picked up for super cheap at stores like ARC and Goodwill. For example, my roommate and I found a huge black entertainment stand that holds our television, our record player, our VCR, DVD player, and game systems for only $25. As if those savings weren’t enough, it was on a Goodwill 50% day, so we only ended up throwing down $6 each for it. It was in nearly new shape with only a few scuffs on the shelves, and even has extra storage at the bottom and bookshelves built into the sides. This was only one of many fun finds we purchased that day. We also got some hanging shelves and candle holders for only about $2 each. We picked up some black spray paint at Home Depot to make them match the rest of the furniture, and ended up with a fully furnished apartment for only about $30 aside from the couch we had already purchased. If you find something you like but don’t like the color, buy it. Spray paint is super cheap and can create a whole new look for it.
Check out the Dollar Store. These are actually treasure troves for small home decorative things. I’m a huge fan of the Dollar Tree franchise because unlike most other dollar stores, all of their inventory actually costs one dollar. We picked up tons of decorative candles, oil reed diffusers, picture frames, and other odds and ends at the Dollar Tree up the street from us. We also got almost all of our dishes there, as well as some wine glasses, champagne flutes, and shot glasses for us to keep on hand for our housewarming party.
K Mart and Walmart are far cheaper than Target. We bought an entire coordinated pink and white bathroom set at K Mart for under $30 all together. This included a soap dispenser that looks like an old fashioned perfume bottle, a rug, a hand soap holder that looks like a clawed bath tub, a pink trashcan, among other things. We also picked up all of our bath towels there, with full towels only costing us about $4 each and wash cloths in a pack 12 for $6. Walmart made all of other decorative needs super simple. We still window shopped at Target but found their prices to me much, much higher than the other two stores. We got two cute little pink rugs for our kitchen for only $3 each at Walmart as well as a welcome mat for about $5. Both these stores have a wide selection of colors and themes to choose from for kitchen and bath accessories, making it easy to stick to your scheme and keep your apartment looking coordinated and in style.
Throw a Housewarming party. This may seem a little strange, since an apartment is not a house, but this is a great opportunity for your friends and family to see your new place, and for you to pick up some sweet gifts at no cost to you. We picked up a coffee maker, pots, pans and a vacuum as a result of ours, as well as some gift cards to use to finish up our last minute decorative needs. We used those to get some shadow box picture frames. These look classy, and add a personal touch to your place if you fill them with pictures of you and your friends and loved ones.
In total, we spent less than $250 to decorate our entire place. We picked up some wall decorations from Gordman’s for fairly cheap and those were our highest single expense aside from our sofa. By making what we could and bargain hunting for everything else, we ended up with our ultimate bachelorette pad. Walking in, guests would assume our budget and income were far more disposable than they really are, because everything in our place looks perfectly coordinated and expensive, when in all actuality, we spent hardly any money at all. If you follow these tips, you will be sure to make your apartment look high class and trendy.