Skip to main content

Whether you’re a recent grad starting out in your first apartment or you’ve been living in the same place for a while and are ready for a change, this blog post is for you! I’ve gathered 10 cheap and easy ways to make your apartment look better – without spending a lot of money. From simple changes like adding new artwork, curtains, rugs, or flowers to your space to bigger projects like repainting the walls or overhauling your furniture arrangement, we’ve got you covered. So read on and get inspired to give your rentals a cozy and fresh look!

Have you ever been on a budget so tight that decorating your apartment doesn’t really seem to be workable?

If so, don’t worry. I have been there. I have some amazing inexpensive and FREE ways to make your apartment look nice. Styling your apartment the DIY way will create a lot of conversations about your unique decor when you have people over.

A little about my own experience with decorating with little to no budget…

I moved home after college because I have about 10k in credit card debt. Thank goodness my parents were so willing to help me fix this situation because I was drowning financially. It took about a year and a half, but I did it. I paid it all off!!

After getting myself out of the debt, I was so ready to be out of my parent’s house. I love them, but our relationship is better when we live under separate roofs. Ya’ll hear me on this one? 

What Arts & Classy is all about is proving that you do not have to have a large budget to get the room of your dreams! This includes problem-solving when in an apartment. I am a renter and I have to work around limiting rules to still achieve the look I want!

10 Cheap ways to make your apartment look chic and nice! You do not have to spend a lot to make your apartment feel more like home

Here are 10 tips on some cheap ways to make your apartment or home look nice!

*This post contains affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I have linked directly to products to help you tackle these projects in your home. If you make a purchase through my link, I will earn a small commission which goes towards keeping A&C running and operational. Thanks for your support!

1. Reuse items you have around your house for other useful things.

Anyone who has ever tried to improve the appearance of their home on a budget knows that it can be a challenge. But with a little creativity, it is possible to find stylish ways to reuse the items you already have around your house.

For example, an ugly lamp shade can be transformed into a chic pendant light with some fabric and wire. Old newspapers can be used to make paper-mâché bowls or vases. Even something as simple as rearranging your furniture can give your home a whole new look. So before you go out and spend money on new decor, take a look around your house and see what you can recycle into something beautiful.

Here is a great example of reusing an Amazon prime cardboard box:

  • Cardboard box cut off flaps on the top.
  • Use a hot glue gun, hot glue sticks, and rope, and wrap the entire box row by row.
  • Create a liner for the interior.
  • Use as bathroom storage, blanket storage, or shelf storage.

2. Create a coffee & tea station

If you’re anything like me, your coffee and tea collection has been growing out of control. Whether it’s bags of beans from that new trendy spot around the corner or half-used boxes of tea from when you were trying to be healthy, they’re all taking up valuable space in your kitchen. But rather than getting rid of them, how about putting them on display?

Creating a coffee and tea station is a great way to make your apartment look more organized and put together.

Plus, it’ll save you time in the morning when you’re trying to find what you need. To get started, clear off a shelf or section of the countertop.

Then, arrange your coffee and tea products in an attractive way. If you want to get really creative, you can even add some decorations around the station. A few candles or a vase of flowers would look great. So go ahead and give it a try – your morning routine will thank you!

Creating a simple station for you and your guests gives off a sophisticated and homey feel. Make your apartment look more sophisticated with a station like this one, or you could also use a small part of if you don’t have enough counter space.


SHOP COFFEE BAR ACCESSORIES


10 Cheap ways to make your apartment look chic and nice! You do not have to spend a lot to make your apartment feel more like home! Follow these easy and simple DIY and decorating tips to create a home you are proud to show off to guests!

If you are looking for a fun DIY project, you may enjoy my wooden tray repurpose DIY for my coffee station in my apartment.

3. Create some wine bottle crafts instead of spending money on expensive vases.

So you want to know how to make your apartment look better without spending a lot of money? One way is to craft your own wine bottle vases. All you need are some empty wine bottles, some paint and a little bit of creativity. You can start by painting the bottles in solid colors or patterns. Then, add some flowers or greens for a pop of color.

Not only will your vases be unique, but they’ll also add a touch of elegance to your decor. So save your money and get creative with your wine bottle crafts. Your guests will be impressed, and you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you made them yourself.


SHOP WINE BOTTLE CRAFT SUPPLIES


You can do a lot with this idea. Here are a few examples of the route you could take.

4. Organize your bathroom with cheap containers.

If you’re looking for how to make your apartment look better without spending a lot of money, one easy way is to organize your bathroom with cheap containers. You can find containers of all shapes and sizes at your local dollar store, which means you can get creative with how you organize your space.

Plus, using containers to organize your bathroom will help keep things clean and tidy. So if you’re looking for some inexpensive apartment decorating ideas, organizing your bathroom with containers is a great place to start. Storage space is everything!

Organizing your bathroom storage and linens doesn’t have to cost a lot. You just need to create a system in your organization. Yeah, I know… The Container Store has a lot of pretty stuff. But if it isn’t in your budget, Dollar Tree will work.


SHOP HOME ORGANIZATION


5. Shop at TJmaxx, Ross, & Marshalls for really inexpensive accent pieces

Looking to spruce up your apartment without spending a lot of money? Head to your local TJmaxx, Ross, or Marshalls. These stores are known for their inexpensive home decor, and they always have a great selection of accent pieces. Whether you’re looking for a new throw pillow or a vase to fill that bare spot on your coffee table, you’re sure to find something to suit your style.

And who knows? You might even find a few things that you can’t live without. So next time you’re looking for some apartment decorating ideas, be sure to check out these stores – your wallet will thank you.

Also, they have a killer clearance aisle where sometimes you can find the perfect piece of decor or furniture. I love to purchase candles from these stores. They always have super fragrant candles for just a couple of dollars!!

6. If you have outdated countertops, cover them with contact paper.

If your countertops are looking a little worse for wear, there’s no need to replace them entirely. A simple roll of contact paper can give your kitchen a whole new look. Not only is it much cheaper than replacing your countertops, but it’s also a lot easier.

You can find contact paper in a variety of colors and patterns, so you’re sure to find something that fits your style. And if you get tired of the look, you can simply peel off the contact paper and start fresh. So next time your apartment is in need of a makeover, don’t forget the power of contact paper. It just might be the easiest way to transform your space.


SHOP CONTACT PAPER


This DIY works for both your kitchen and bathroom countertops. You can easily buy contact paper in marble, granite, or even solid color to cover your countertops. This project doesn’t cost much to do, but makes a big impact!

7. Use or create your own throw pillows.

Throw pillows are one of the easiest ways to spruce up your living space – and they don’t have to be expensive. If you’re looking for a way to make your apartment look better without spending a lot of money, try making your own DIY throw pillows.

It’s easy, and you can find all the materials you need at your local craft store. Best of all, you can tailor the design to match your personal style. So if you’re looking for a simple way to add some personality to your apartment, grab some fabric and get started on your own DIY throw pillows.

Accent pillows are great to use to add some class to your space and they are easy to trade out as the seasons come and go.

Why not make cute custom throw pillows for your home? Or make a plush accent pillow? No sewing machine is required!

If you wish to purchase, you can get an accent pillow insert and just purchase new pillowcases as the seasons change. This is also a cost-effective way to add class to your rental.

8. Use washi tape to add some class to your walls and doors.

Washi tape is the perfect way to add a bit of style to your walls and doors. If you’re looking for how to make my apartment look better, washi tape is a great place to start. There are so many ways to use this decorative tape, and the possibilities are endless. You can use it to create stripes, geometric patterns, or even words and phrases.

If you’re feeling really creative, you can even use it to make murals or portraits. And the best part is that washi tape is easy to remove, so you can change up your design as often as you like. So if you’re looking for apartment decorating ideas, don’t overlook the power of washi tape. With a little imagination, it can help you transform your space into something truly unique.

Washi tape is a renter’s best friend. I have seen it used in many ways in apartments I have seen on Pinterest. I actually used washi tape to spruce up my boring white doors in my apartment.

With a little gold washi tape and some imagination, you can turn a boring white wall into a chic art piece. First, decide on the spacing of your stripes. For a more organic look, try varying the widths of your stripes. Once you have your design mapped out, simply apply the washi tape to the wall in your desired pattern. And that’s it! In just a few minutes, you’ve created a unique and eye-catching piece of art that is sure to spruce up any space.

You can take black washi tape and create a chic striped pattern for a pillar candle to give this some pop!

Can afford frames? Just use washi tape to give the illusion of a frame in your apartment.

This DIY project goes hand in hand with the coffee station. Use washi tape on mugs with a little mod podge to seal your design and you will have some custom mugs to charm your home.

You can use thicker black washi tape to create a classy striped accent wall!

9. Create a formal entryway that works for your space.

Whether you’re trying to make a good impression on guests or simply want to create a more inviting space for yourself, a well-designed entryway is key. But if you live in a small apartment, creating an entryway that works can be a challenge. Here are some tips for making the most of your space:

  • Use mirrors to create the illusion of more space. Placing a mirror near the door will help reflect light and make the space seem larger.
  • Keep it organized. A cluttered entryway will only make your space feel smaller. Invest in some baskets or bins to help corral your belongings.
  • Choose furniture that serves multiple purposes. A bench with built-in storage, for example, can be a perfect way to make use of a small space.
  • Add some plants. Not only will they add life to your entryway, but they can also help purify the air.

With a little effort, you can create an entryway that’s both stylish and functional – no matter how small your space may be.

Everyone needs a place to put their shoes and their stuff when they walk in the door. By creating an entranceway, you will instantly make your guests feel more at ease and you will have less clutter around your home.

I love how this blogger used command hooks for this mudroom.

10. Use pretty labels to organize your kitchen and bathroom.

If you’re looking for a cheap and easy way to make your apartment look better, you can’t go wrong with pretty labels. No matter how organized you are, cluttered cabinets and drawers are always an eyesore. But with a few strategically placed labels, you can turn even the most chaotic space into a work of art.

In the kitchen, label drawers for different types of utensils, spices, or appliances. Use labels to organize your makeup, hair products, or towels. And don’t forget the medicine cabinet!

If you take the time to label everything in your apartment, you’ll not only make your space look more stylish, but you’ll also save yourself a lot of time and frustration when it comes to finding what you need.

Everything needs a place. By labeling your storage and organization systems you can continue them. However, it does have to be boring. You can make your labels really pretty. Chalkboard labels are always my go-to.

These easy apartment decorating ideas will help you stay within budget and will help you transform your apartment into something you will be proud of! Something you will want to show off to your friends.

If you liked this post, you may also like:

Join the discussion 20 Comments

  • Melanie says:

    I love all of these ideas but my favorite is the rope covered box. I’ve been wanting some baskets but they can get expensive. Thanks for sharing these!

    • Meredith says:

      I completely agree with you Melanie! The rope covered box was one of my favorites and the most simple project to tackle! I hope yours turns out beautiful! Please share on social media and tag me if you do! 🙂

    • Micky Huot says:

      I get all these great boxes from Amazon and I hate throwing them away. I have saved some and had planned on decoupaging some cute fabric on them. But I like this too. I will do a few twine/rope ones, too. and make the liners with same fabric as the other boxes.

  • Linda - Make Do and DIY says:

    Great ideas! Thanks for featuring my kitchen counters 🙂

  • Sahar Sultan says:

    It’s a great idea to ‘create’ an entrance way when your place doesn’t have a real one.
    Thanks for the awesome tips!

  • Karen says:

    My favourite is the Washi tape stripes behind the toilet! So classy!

  • Raquel Guimaraes says:

    Hi I love everything u post so creative and passionate ..I enjoy each idea so great..thk you for sharing .

    • Meredith says:

      Raquel, You are so kind! I am so so happy that you are enjoying this post and others I have written. My blog is truly a labor of LOVE! I absolutely love it and I love helping others like YOU make their home beautiful! xoxo Thanks for taking the time to let me know. 🙂

  • Tami says:

    my favorite is the bathroom storage–q-tips etc…Loved the washi tape ideas as well since I am a washi fanatic! However, I would caution people who are renting to cover counter tops/sinks with contact paper. I personally don’t see that lasting long and as a ‘landlord’ I wouldn’t appreciate having to take that off…

    • Meredith says:

      Hey Tami! So glad you liked some of the ideas. Also, I actually have had contact paper covering my ugly brown tile counters for over a year now and it has actually worked out great! They make my kitchen look a lot better. The other great thing is all it takes it 5 mins to peel it off before I move out. I would never tell people to leave it for the landlord to remove. I am all about restoring to the original look prior to moving. Contact paper is a life saver.

      • Katie says:

        Hi Meredith, I have some seriously ugly 70’s tiles in my tiny rental kitchen. Think 1970’s horror film in the woods. The thought of covering them with contact paper is a dream come true. I was concerned that the spaces between the tiles which are rather pronounced and deep would cause the contact paper to bubble. Did you encounter this issue? Also do you mind telling me where you found your contact paper? Thank you! You’re styling is so smart, so glad I found your website!

        • Meredith says:

          Hello Katie! I am so happy you found me and I understand your struggle! My tile countertops are also from the 70s and are hideous. I am also happy to announce that I no I didn’t experience any bubbling in the space between the tiles. I have had contact paper on my countertops for about 2 years now and have had no issues. I purchased mine from Home Depot. I got a stainless steel and black suede contact paper. Works great! Hope this helps. Best – Meredith

  • Jill Lloyd says:

    Love the three-tiered makeup caddy and also your use of washi tape, especially the striped accent wall. Great article! 🙂

  • Kezzi says:

    This is fantastic i have soo many ideas now!
    My favourite is the designated Tea and Coffee area, that makes it look so much more inviting and fun, especially when having guests over!
    <3 it!

  • fadiyah says:

    coffee & tea station is much needed,, love the way you design it. The presence of those coffee & tea station is eye catching. The accent wall and the makeup organizer just awesome.

    • Meredith says:

      Thanks so much for the awesome feedback! I completely agree with you. I have to have one in my kitchen or dining area! I am such a coffee and tea lover. 🙂

  • Rishia O'Neill says:

    FIRST…. LADY YOU ROCK! All great ideas and you had me with the pillows. Actually, you had me with the paragraph you wrote before these great DIY ideas. With that said, I pinned this and pretty much told all my followers (of my most popular deco boards that aren’t group boards , will get to them) on Pinterest to follow you, because …YOU ROCK! Also the SOURCE for the pillow idea I, of course, checked the blog site out and SHE ROCKS! So for ONCE Pinterest sent me a ‘suggested’ pin that well no other verb will do, REALLY ROCKS! I am getting ready to relocate, get all set up there with my youngest son and my dear granddaughter (16 in December!) and after some personal things taken care of hope to start my own blog! Whew! I gave up trying to convince people I don’t have one! Anyway little Girl, (I am 66 so that’s what you be to me)you are an inspiration! The way you write is so down to earth, I really enjoy it so much, and the content of your blog … well you know it just ROCKS!
    Sincerely,
    Ms Rishia O’Neill

    • Meredith says:

      Ms Rishia,

      Your sweet comment made my mouth drop! Thank you so much for all the amazing feedback. It makes me so happy to know that what I am sharing is helping! I am also so excited that you are also planning on starting a blog soon. That is so exciting!! Thanks for reaching out. I appreciate you very much! Have a beautiful day!
      Best,
      Meredith

  • Lyn says:

    Hi Meredith. I love all these tips, they look fantastic too. The only one I would be concerned about is the contact on the kitchen counters. Not sure contact would wear well over time and if it needed to be taken off, it could be a problem getting the glue off. That would be the only one I would be conerned about. Love all the other tips and fabulous ideas.

    • Meredith says:

      Hey Lyn! Thanks for your comment. 🙂 You know what works well for adhesive residue? Goo Gone. Have you ever used it? I hope you have a fabulous weekend!

      Best,

      Meredith