Furnishing your first apartment can be expensive when you’re starting from scratch, so here are some tips to make decorating easier on your budget.
Moving into your first proper apartment (or house, if you are lucky enough) is exciting. Especially if you’ve lived in shared houses for a long time, it is liberating to be able to buy nice things without having to worry about flatmates ruining them.
However, it can be a big endeavour too, and hugely expensive if you are starting from scratch.
Here are a few tips for furnishing and decorating your first apartment that will leave you with a few dollars in your pocket and a welcoming place to call home.
It is amazing what a few cushions, rugs and indoor plants can do to a space. Cushions with pops of colour will draw people’s attention away from your grandmother’s old couch, and plants add a touch of the exotic to what might otherwise be a plain room.
Use Ikea with caution
Ikea and equivalent stores are a great budget-friendly solution to furnishing your space, but no one wants their home to look like an Ikea catalogue.
Instead of buying big pieces such as tables and desks from the Swedish giant, use Ikea for the smaller objects such as side tables and waste paper baskets. This will save you some money but also prevent the flat-pack furniture dominating your home.
You don’t have to spend a fortune on bespoke, designer furniture to get a unique and stylish look.
Antique stores carry a large variety of styles, and older pieces add instant character to your home.
Even cheaper, second-hand furniture stores and charity shops such as the Salvos often have hidden treasures for a fraction of the price of brand-new flat-packed pieces.
Make it unique
If you find a decent piece of furniture that needs a bit of love, don’t be afraid to get the paint out and give it a new life yourself. Many second-hand shops also sell spare handles or door knobs, if you want to give your new chest of drawers an easy makeover.
Say yes to hand-me-downs
Don’t be afraid to ask relatives and family friends if they have any spare homewares with which they are willing to part. You never know what sort of quirky or beautiful items you could be given, and better yet, they won’t cost you a cent.
Framed art takes any home to the next level, but you don’t have to buy the latest Del Kathryn Barton to make your home chic.
There are plenty of artists working in many different styles who sell reasonably priced prints in Etsy, and weekend markets are great places to discover local artists who sell unique work for reasonable prices
Tackle some DIY projects
DIY can be a nice way to introduce individual touches to your home, and it is also cheap. There are plenty of great DIY instructions online for desks and coffee tables that are easy to make and, best of all, you can build things to custom-fit your living spaces.
If you’re splurging, think long-term
If you have your heart set on a good-quality leather couch or an oak dining table, try to picture whether it is an item of furniture that will fit in other homes. The last thing you want to do is spend a fortune on a fancy couch, only for it to be too big for your next house.
By: Rachel Clun
Life & Style reporter