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Design Hacks: Simple Techniques for Big Impact on a Small Budget

By Staff Writer
Share to PinterestDesign Hacks: Simple Techniques for Big Impact on a Small Budget
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When a stylish living space is your goal, decorating your apartment can seem like an overwhelming task. The good news is that you can transform your home without breaking the bank. Whether you're looking to add a pop of color, create a cozy and inviting atmosphere, or simply make the most of your small space, there's a wealth of budget-friendly apartment-decorating ideas to inspire you.

01

Try different furniture arrangements

The layout of your apartment plays a big role in how it looks and feels. Think about the flow as you enter the front door and retreat to common spaces like the living room and kitchen. Consider how your guests will make their way through your apartment. Make sure people have enough room to get to seating or move through the kitchen and socialize.

By making small changes to the way your furniture is arranged, you can create the illusion of a larger space. For example, place furniture away from the walls and angle it towards the center of the room to emphasize spaciousness. Use a tape measure to ensure any furniture you purchase fits the space well. If you're shopping online, use painter's tape to lay out the measurements on your floor and better visualize how the piece will take up space in the area you want to put it.

Share to PinterestEmpty attic flat
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02

Use light to change up your space

Lighting can have a big effect on the look and feel of a room. Brighter rooms feel more open, while stark overhead lighting can make the space feel less welcoming. Consider the color temperature of the bulbs you're using as well. Soft white or warm white bulbs are great for cozy spaces like bedrooms or living room corners.

A bright white bulb emits a cooler color but can work well to illuminate the kitchen or bathroom space. Daylight bulbs can be ideal in a space with lots of windows, to complement the natural light. You can even purchase smart bulbs that emit all the different temperatures, along with fun colors like purple or red.

Use strategically placed floor lamps and table lamps to add light in different areas of the room. This can create a cozy and inviting feel. Remember, a nice-looking lamp can be a decoration too!

Share to PinterestLiving room in boho style
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03

Small changes can make a big impact on the kitchen

A small apartment kitchen can be a challenge when it comes to decorating, but there are a few ways you can improve the kitchen space. For example, removing the doors of your upper cabinets for some open shelving creates the illusion of more space and makes your kitchen feel more open and airy. (It also helps encourage organization!) If you have to remove cabinet doors, store them in a closet to put back on before moving out.

If you're living with an outdated kitchen, there are a few renter-friendly options. Contact paper is a great way to fake upgraded countertops on the cheap. Stick it on and peel it back off before you move out—just remember you can't put anything hot on it. You can also use contact paper to line your open shelves or find a peel-and-stick backsplash that fits your style.

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04

Create a focal point

Think about the first thing you want your guests to see when they walk in your door. Creating a focal point in your apartment can help draw the eye and create a better sense of flow. For example, a large piece of artwork, a statement piece of furniture, or a bold wall color all work as effective focal points. Think about what would make your guests say "wow" when they walk in.

Share to PinterestVintage unique living room interior with good vibes with white comfortable sofa with cushions and blanket and green armchair, cupboard, small table, red bicycle and lots of details including a poster with number five on gray wall
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05

Mix it up with texture

Adding different textures to your apartment can create a sense of depth and dimension and make your space feel more interesting. For example, using a mix of different fabrics, such as cotton, linen, and velvet, can create a warm and inviting feel.

Try neutral linen curtains behind a rich-colored velvet couch for a sophisticated feel.

Share to PinterestComputer at table in apartment. Bright modern room with furniture. Interior of home office.
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06

Use mirrors to mimic more space

Mirrors are a great way to create the illusion of more space in a small apartment. By placing a mirror in a strategic location, you can reflect light and make your apartment feel larger. The best part: this decor piece comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes and can often be found at thrift stores for cheap.

If your apartment lacks natural light, consider a mirror shaped like a window. Choose a funky, organic shape to do double duty, bouncing the light and acting as wall decor.

Share to PinterestColorful and cozy living room with a designer armchair and sofa along with a round decorative mirror and glass wall.
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07

Bring the outdoors in with greenery

Plants are a great way to add life and color to your apartment. Snake plants and peace lilies thrive indoors, as do many ivys that will drape your space in calming vines. If you don't have a green thumb, faux greenery has come a long way in recent years!

If you want something a bit more substantial, keep an eye on online marketplaces for an indoor tree to add interest in an unused corner. You can even add a faux plant panel to the wall as a statement piece.

Share to PinterestLiving room at a fashionable loft. Wooden floor and furniture. Grey cozy sofa, carpet and a lot of plants
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08

Invest in multifunctional furniture

Purchasing multifunctional furniture is a great way to save space and add style to a small apartment. For example, a bed with built-in storage, a coffee table with a lift-top, or a sofa that doubles as a guest bed can all help to maximize the space and hide your extra clutter. A clean space always looks more stylish.

Many people buy this type of furniture and upgrade long before the piece is at the end of its life. That means you can easily find quality iteems for a good deal from a thrift shop or online marketplace.

Share to PinterestInterior of a Scandinavian style attic bedroom with fireplace in a cottage house.
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09

Create a welcoming color palette

Color is a powerful tool when it comes to decorating your apartment, and a gallon of paint is relatively inexpensive. By using color in strategic ways, you can create an inviting atmosphere in your space. If you choose the right colors, your landlord might not even make you paint over it when you move out.

For example, a palette of blues and greens can give your room a spa-like feel. Neutral wall colors like white and light taupe can help reflect light to make the area seem bigger—remember there are dozens of different "whites" out there! A deeper color like charcoal gray or plum can give a sophisticated moodiness to your apartment.

Share to PinterestWide angle view of unoccupied modern kitchen with rustic style including wooden kitchen island and hanging pendant lighting.
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10

Get creative with wall art

Wall art can be a great way to add interest and texture. Whether you choose to go for a large statement piece or a gallery wall filled with smaller pieces, this is a great option for the aforementioned focal point. Try a DIY tutorial to create your own large-scale abstract art piece for cheap. String painting, for example, can create a neat look for minimal cost and effort.

Share to PinterestPatterned pouf, wooden chair and table on carpet in modern flat interior with settee against the wall with posters
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