Living in a small apartment doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style and comfort. With some creative decorating ideas, you can transform your space into a cozy and inviting home.

While you cannot expand the apartment’s footprint, with a careful selection of the right materials, colors, and furniture proportions that work well together, you can maximize every square inch of your space.

So, whether you’re on a tight budget or just looking for some inspiration, get inspired with these small apartment decorating ideas on a budget.

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Before you get started:

  • Start with a budget in mind – Start with a budget you are comfortable with. You don’t need a lot of money to create a unique space. Your budget is personal, and whether it is $500 to $5000, a small budget can go a long way.
  • Start small – You don’t have to buy everything at once. Take your time when furnishing the space.
  • Think about your must-haves – Consider everything you need to be comfortable in your living space. From specific furniture pieces or functional items, you should allocate your budget towards those first.
  • Shop secondhand – Thrift stores and flea markets are hidden gems for buying cheap and used furniture and home decor. You will be surprised by the treasures you can find that will make your room look good at a great price.  Don’t be afraid to mix in some secondhand items to save money.
  • DIY projects – save money by getting crafty and trying some DIY projects. Whether repurposing cheap furniture or creating your own decor, DIY projects can help you achieve your desired look while staying within your budget.

Small Apartment Decorating Ideas on a Budget

1. Use Mirrors to Create the Illusion of a Larger Space.

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Mirrors are a great way to make a small apartment feel larger and more spacious. Hang a mirror on one of the walls to reflect the natural light coming into your space, or incorporate an oversized standing mirror to add some drama to the space. This will add depth and dimension to the room and create the illusion of more space. 

2. Add Plants to Liven up the Space

Adding plants to your small apartment is a great way to bring life and color into your space. Not only do plants improve air quality, but they also create a fresh and natural atmosphere. Choose plants that are easy to care for and don’t require a lot of sunlight, such as succulents, snake plants, or pothos. If real plants aren’t your thing or you lack a green thumb, then opt for a fake plant that looks surprisingly real. 

3. Use Multi-Functional Furniture 

When living in a small apartment, it’s important to make the most of every inch of space. One way to do this is by using multi-functional furniture. Look for pieces that can serve multiple purposes, such as a sofa bed, storage ottoman, or a coffee table with built-in storage. This will not only save space but also help you stay organized and clutter-free. Plus, it can be a budget-friendly option since you won’t need to buy as many separate pieces of furniture.

With multi-purpose furniture, you can create a cozy and functional living space without breaking the bank.

4. Add Color and Texture with Throw Pillows

throw pillows on bed

One of the easiest and most affordable ways to add personality to your small apartment is by incorporating throw pillows. These items can add color, texture, and comfort to your space. Look for pillows that complement your existing decor. Mix and match patterns and textures to create a cozy and inviting atmosphere.

5. Consider a Statement Wall

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Statement walls are an excellent option for a small bedroom,  living room, or dining room (if you have one). This is also a funky way to let your inner interior design nerd come out. You can either add a pop of color with a fresh coat of paint or cover the wall with removable wallpaper.

6. Incorporate Shelving Above the Headboard

One idea is to use the area above your headboard for shelving, which not only saves space but can also add a stylish touch to your bedroom. You can even turn it into a “shelfie” by displaying your favorite books, plants, or decorative items. 

7. Add a Gallery Wall

gallery wall on staircase

Transform an empty wall into a stylish gallery wall with art and photos. This will add visual interest to the space.

8. The Power of Artwork

Incorporate art into your decor. Not only can art add personality and style to your space, but it can also be an affordable way to fill empty walls. Look for prints or posters that fit your aesthetic and frame them yourself for a budget-friendly option. This can instantly transform a plain wall into an artful display.

9. Bar Cart to the Rescue

Invest in a cute little bar cart. Not only does it add a stylish touch, but it also maximizes a small living room corner by providing a functional space for drinks and entertainment.

10. An Area Rug 

Use an area rug to center your space. The area rug can serve as the inspiration for your color palette and tie the room together.


Living in a small apartment can have its challenges, but with a little creativity and resourcefulness, you can transform your small space. Whatever your approach, the key is to make the space feel like home and to use every inch of it to your advantage.

And most importantly, make sure the space reflects your personal style and feels like a comfortable and inviting home.

Please let me know what you think about this gallery wall on the staircase. Feel free to follow me on my social media pages – Pinterest and Instagram or subscribe to my mailing list for other design inspiration, DIY projects, and home decor ideas.

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Tamara White is the creator and founder of The Thrifty Apartment, a home decor and DIY blog that focuses on affordable and budget-friendly home decorating ideas and projects. Tamara documents her home improvement journey, love of thrifting, tips for space optimization, and creating beautiful spaces.

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