How To Decorate Your First Apartment on a Budget

Mark this milestone without burning a hole in your pocket

Photography: Dairy Darilag and Mark Chester Ang

Just like how we can never forget our first love, our first home holds a special place in our hearts, too. After the challenging task of finding and acquiring an apartment, you now have the exciting job of completing it. While you can fill it with a mix of classic accessories, basic pieces, and must-haves that match your personality, the whole process can be intimidating, especially if you're on a strict budget. Where do you even start? If you want to achieve a pretty and functional space without overspending, here are tips you can consider:

Don't buy everything all at once.

The excitement of the big move can leave us with hundreds of pegs we'd want to work on immediately. Since it's a blank slate, it can be tempting to fill it with tons of pieces, decor, and our collections. Don't hesitate to take your time. Buy what you need first, study the space, and figure out what you want. This way, you can even save for a big purchase and you're sure you'll get what you really want rather than something you're only getting impulsively.


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Do away with unnecessary modifications.

Seeing your bare apartment for the first time can be underwhelming; it’s empty, usually dark, and painfully stark white. But this doesn’t mean you should start renovating or hiring a painter. Making modifications in a home is costly and if you’re on a budget, it might not be an option. Don't despair as you can always work with a professional once you've settled in and saved enough budget for a makeover.


Visit websites and save a few boards on Pinterest for inspiration. Some of the pegs you'll see prove that little or no modification is needed to make a space look great. White walls are a great backdrop for a variety of décor and colored pieces. Plus, if you change your mind later on, you don’t have to do a redo or strip away paint. You don’t just save now, you save later on.


Prioritize the furniture you need.

Furniture is just the tip of the iceberg in making a space feel finished. If you look through tons of interior design pegs, you’ll notice furniture is actually minimal. What really fills a space are the details, accents, and décor you pair the furniture with. This connects with our first tip wherein you take your time acquiring items to add to your space.

Maybe you can get a great area rug today, pick up some artwork the next week, or throw in a plant later. Not only do you control your expenses but you’re able to mix and match everything as well. Opt for a balaned look and avoid buying items that don't fit the theme you're working on.


Buy affordable pieces without scrimping on quality.

While you’re shopping for your home, it’s good to note that quality items don’t always come with a hefty price tag. All you need to do is look and have patience. Furniture warehouses, department stores, garage sales, and antique shops are just some places you can check. A good eye is necessary to really scour around for quality, budget pieces but it shouldn’t be long before you find something you’re happy with. It will be hard work but what’s exciting about this concept is you’re really able to build your home yourself and half of the satisfaction is the journey to finishing it.

Keep in mind that your taste can change.

Yes, your taste can and will change over time. Blowing off your savings on decorating your apartment won’t be a sound investment, but this isn’t to discourage you to personalize your space. Just think about what you’re buying or adding and wonder if this purchase will be something you will love 5, 10, or 20 years from now. Timeless items are always great options to start with and you can start from there.


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