savingsApartment dwellers usually decide to decorate their flats for one of several common reasons. If you’ve just moved in, you may feel strongly motivated to make the place your own. Some people want to do this right away, others like some time to settle in. Or you may have lived long enough with existing décor (yours or a previous tenant’s) to have grown dissatisfied. Unless you’re in a high tax bracket, you want to know about decorating an apartment on a budget. Even if you can devote a chunk of change to your project, why waste funds? Besides, this kind of decorating can be a lot of creative fun.

Shop sales for furnishings. One great truth is that people are always moving, and need to get rid of furniture, storage shelves, window treatments, accessories, and more, often asking very reasonable prices. Check the papers for garage/moving sales, also second-hand shops that support charities or local organizations.

Internet sources. The Web has made it easy to find second-hand household items at good prices. Backpages and Craigslist are excellent online sources. Stick to the local listings to see ads for items that will be easy to transport. Frequently people sell things that have been lightly used or not used at all. And, as with garage sales, you should keep an open mind about buying something that can be altered, refinished, or recovered to turn it into the piece you want. How about reupholstering a sofa that you pick up at a nice price? An upholstery/repair company can re-cover it with fabric you specify, or do the job of repairing a sofa that needs a bit of structural help – all of which can be very cost effective. Result: you’ll have a “new” couch.

DIY. Even if you’ve not ventured into the world of do-it-yourself, why not use your budget-conscious decorating program as a reason to pick up some new skills? Second-hand items can be refinished or repainted. If you want to get into some carpentry, there are plenty of library and online sources to help you accomplish simple wood furniture repairs. Also, it’s possible to take simple elements, like packing crates, and put them together into something new, attractive, and very useful, like a storage coffee table or a storage room divider.

Color: paint, fabric, crafts. Fabric and paint are great allies for the economically-minded apartment decorator, as are the many, many clever handicraft techniques that can be used to create accessories and accents. The only difficulty is deciding what you want to do. Stuff you already have, like photos, old posters, sports and other memorabilia, can be mounted to make a “gallery” wall that’s personal to you. Paint and fabric can be used to cover wall spaces in interesting ways to create atmosphere or define living areas. Pillows, curtains, wall coverings… lots of options! Hint: look at pictures (Pinterest is a good source) to get a feel for which colors and ideas please you. Everyone is different, and this is your apartment.