College Grad | Designing on a Budget

Graduating from college is a somewhat overwhelming time. You are moving, getting a new job, sometimes living in a new city, and you suddenly have an empty apartment that you can make totally your own. The catch? You aren’t making that “big boy” cash just yet, so you are faced with a dilemma. How do you make your apartment yours while also being wise with your budget (no more credit cards from mommy and daddy for those few extra things)? Check out these tips for personalizing your new”adult” home while sticking to a budget.


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Know When to Splurge and When to Save

This is probably the most obvious tip when it comes to decorating on a budget, but I thought I would repeat it anyway because it’s so important. Not everything is better if it costs more, so know what items you can save on (which is a large majority of them). The key is to focus on the items that will make the biggest impact and then cut costs with the other filler items! As a rule of thumb, at least for myself, I only believe in splurging on larger furniture pieces like sofas and bed frames. Secondary items that I would spend middle range on would be rugs and any other furniture items. For everything else I shop clearance or at more affordable stores. This may be because my budget is tight right now, but I don’t anticipate my my love of TJmaxx changing anytime soon.

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Learn Your Store Options

For everything besides the furniture (all the fun stuff!), it’s great to know all of the options you have for shopping, and the options are truly endless. From the obvious options like Target and Tjmaxx  or even IKEA and Ross, there are so many affordable options for various styles of decor. Here are some online shopping options that you may not know exist and offer a great selection of trendy decor options to add to your new appointment.

  1. H&M – One of my favorite fashion stores offers a small selection of home decor items, for incredible prices! Even better? They are offering 80% for their winter sale right now. Go check it out!
  2. Society 6– This site is newer to me but I am so excited to make an order! They have some of the most popular patterns right now and offer pillows, blankets, duvet covers, and some other miscellaneous items to mix into your space.

Think Outside of the Box

Putting together a room on a budget is a fun challenge for me! I love to get good deals and I encourage you not to accept the typical stores as your only options. Think outside of the box for items you can give a facelift to or things that people are getting rid of that are in nice condition. Here are some ideas to get your brain going:

  1. Local Thrift Stores: Good Will and Salvation Army are my favorite go-to options, but I also love to check out local thrift stores as well. Typically they are loaded with great furniture projects, picture frames, and lamps that have character and can be easily transformed with a paint job. I bought a gorgeous, tall lamp at Goodwill a couple years back and after a glossy black spray paint and new lamp shade it looks brand new, and it only cost $5!
  2. Garage Sales/ Flea Markets: If you can give up one of your Saturday mornings to head to local garage sales or a large flea markets you can find many things similar to thrift stores but many times these sales provide more variety in the styles of the furniture and decor and can also have great antique pieces for those with more eclectic taste.
  3. Craigslist: Don’t underestimate Craigslist! I just recently got open IKEA shelving from craigslist for half of the original price. They were even painted gold already, so I didn’t have to do anything with them! I’ll be sharing their new home in my upcoming office post, so stay tuned! Point in case, craigslist may not always have the best options, but keep you eyes open when you have something in mind. You never know when you are going to get lucky!

Want more tips for what you should focus on first? Check out this post filled with tips for decorating in a rental space, or this post geared towards working with small spaces.

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