7 Easy Small Apartment Decorating Ideas on a Budget

No matter the size of your apartment — or your budget — you deserve to live in a stylish yet comfortable home. And you might be surprised how well you can implement some big ideas with just a few items, even if you’re a renter who is limited with what you can do to your space.  All you need is some inspiration and a few good tips.  

Shop for Multifunctional Pieces 

The last thing you want to do is fill your apartment with lots of clunky furniture that overwhelms your space. It’s just not practical, especially if you’re on a tight budget. What is practical, however, is to add furniture pieces that serve two or more purposes. This might mean an ottoman that opens up so that you can store items inside or stools that you can use for seating when you have guests and end tables when you don’t. It could also mean investing in a pullout sofa that doubles as your guest bedroom or a drop-leaf console table that folds out into your dining room table when necessary. 

Maximize Light 

The darker your apartment, the smaller it feels, so anything you can do to maximize light is necessary. Natural light is ideal if you have it. Avoid covering your windows with heavy drapes, and opt for shears instead. Another trick to making your small apartment look larger is to hang your curtains a few inches higher than you would normally place them. This tricks the eye into thinking there is more space in the room.  

If you don’t have many windows, brighten up your space with lamps and wall sconces placed strategically in each room. If you paint your walls, stick to lighter colors — save the dark colors for your accents if that’s what you want. When it comes to your larger furniture pieces, like your sofa, you’ll want to stick to lighter colors as well. 

Keep Clutter at Bay 

When we say keep clutter at bay, we don’t necessarily mean keeping your apartment clean, though that can help make it feel roomier too. By getting rid of clutter, we mean don’t go overboard with decor. For example, you may love your pottery collection, but if you don’t have space for all 80 pieces, don’t force them onto every surface you can find. Pick the seven or eight that mean the most to you to display. Pack the others away for another time, or, if they aren’t that meaningful to you, sell them to make a few extra dollars.

Stay organized with shelving as well. Taller, thinner bookcases and floating shelves can help you take advantage of vertical space and won’t overpower your room. 

Add Mirrors

This may be one of the oldest decorating tricks in the book, but it really works: Add mirrors to make a room feel larger, especially when you place them directly across from windows. They reflect the natural light into the darker corners of your apartment during the daytime. Keep in mind that the bigger the mirror you use, the more light you’ll add without raising your energy bill one penny.  

Just Add Plants 

When you have to decorate selectively, one of the best places to start is with plants. They don’t take up too much space, and they’re pretty inexpensive. You can sometimes leave them in the pots they come in or buy some that match your decorating style. If you don’t have a green thumb, stick to succulents. They don’t require too much care, and they come in all sorts of fun shapes and sizes. If you’re health-conscious, try plants that help purify the air, such as a spider plant, peace lily, or areca palm. 

Scale Your Apartment 

You wouldn’t put tiny furniture pieces in a grand mansion — they’ll just get lost. You’ll need to implement the same scaling logic when decorating a smaller home as well. Don’t choose big solid overbearing pieces that take up too much space. Look for chairs and sofas with thinner legs. Look for tables and desks with open bases. 

How you arrange your furniture can also help you create the illusion of more space. Ideally, you want at least a three-foot aisle between each piece. Your layout should be functional enough that you can walk through any part of your apartment without tripping, turning sideways, or stepping over something. If you have room, you may not even want to push your furniture against the wall. Keep about a foot of space between pieces like your sofa and a solid wall to make a room feel lighter and airier. If you feel like you have too much space between your furniture, use a nice rug or chandelier in the center to bring it all together.  

Rent Furniture Instead of Buying It 

One of the best ways to save money and avoid making a permanent choice for a smaller space is to rent furniture rather than buying it especially if you don’t plan to stay in the apartment long term. This allows you to experiment with different pieces and styles as your needs and lifestyle change. For example, if you find yourself working at home suddenly, you can turn that second bedroom or nook in the living room into an office by renting a desk, chair, and shelving. If you have a new group of friends and find yourself entertaining more, you can rent more seating or a nice dining table. 

How to do this with CORT

When you choose CORT Furniture Rental, we handle everything for you. All you need to do is visit our website, pick out the pieces you love, and we do the rest. We deliver them right to your apartment and place them where you want them. You pay a monthly fee for as long or as little as you need the items. When your lease is done, if you feel the need for a change, give us a call, and we’ll pick them up and even bring you something else if you like.