Getting an apartment while still in college or just after graduating can be tough. College is not exactly the most opportune time to save thousands of dollars or working full-time, so when the time comes to get an apartment, the budget is usually pretty tight. After finding that perfect apartment, it is time to decorate and make the space feel as personal and comfortable as possible. The following tips can make sure you find the items needed to make the apartment happy and homey.
Stick to the essentials
When starting off on your own, it is important to start off with what is most important and work your way up. Spending loads of money on expensive art pieces, exquisite rugs and numerous decorative pieces is not necessary. Those items are always going to be available and are always easy to find, but they are not essential to living comfortably. Instead of focusing on decorating the apartment with all the things you want, just start with all the things you need.
Harness natural lighting
It is easy to forget that rent does not always include all the utilities. If electricity is not included in the rent, you do not want to run up the bill with excessively using the lights in the apartment. Instead of keeping all the lights on during the day, let the sun shine through the rooms and provide all the lighting you need. Not only will it help save you some money, but it will help you get that much-needed Vitamin D.
Buy used furniture
Do not lose the perspective that this is your first apartment. The furniture and items you collect now will most likely not remain in your life forever. Use apps like OfferUp, 5Miles and the Facebook Marketplace to find furniture. Many times, the furniture is in perfect condition and is only a fraction of the original cost. Family and friends often have pieces they no longer want, as well, so you can get some pieces for free.
Take on DIY projects
Let that creativity shine through and make all the accent pieces you need for the apartment. Pinterest offers some awesome ideas and instructions for creating beautiful portraits, building bed frames decorating the whole apartment on a tight budget. It usually does not take any special skill to construct beautiful pieces and it is fairly simple and cheap to do, depending on the piece of course.
Use the necessities as decoration
In apartments that college students can afford, space tends to be tight and storage scarce. Instead of fighting what is available, use it to your advantage. You can hang your coffee mugs on a beautiful backdrop to create a decorative wall piece, hang the mason jars used to hold your makeup on the walls in the bathroom or hang some of your favorite photos from those old Christmas lights.
Plan out washing schedules
Water and electric bills can get run high pretty quickly. It may seem like a huge perk to be able to wash clothes and dishes whenever you want, but that comes with a price — literally. If the apartment has a dishwasher, try to only run it when it becomes full to save water and electricity. For laundry, only use it once a week or less for the same reason. If you have a plan for when you use these appliances, it will help you save money in the long run.
Moving is expensive, especially when you’re working with a college budget. Although it can be a little difficult at first, it is definitely manageable to get settled into your new home. By doing a little planning and researching money-saving methods, you’ll find the perfect way to make the apartment home sweet home.