Article Bank - Click on a Category to Begin:

Don’t be ashamed if the only apartment you can afford isn’t much bigger than the dorm room you recently left. Even if you move to an area where cost of living is low, those beauties you really want are going to be out of your price range as a freelancer…at least for now. Work toward that goal, and in the meantime here are some tips you can use to decorate your tiny space without breaking the bank.

This is actually the second place I’ve rented as a freelancer and where I live now (before I moved all my crap in). Think it’s small? You should have seen the first place!

Use mirrors in place of art.

Mirrors are not only less expensive than huge framed art pieces, but they open up a tiny space as well. Look for mirrors with interesting frames and keep in mind that you can always paint to match your decor.

Before you buy a mirror for a specific spot on your wall, though, make sure there’s a stud there to support the weight, since mirrors are heavy!

Say no to clutter.

Yes, you want to display your favorite memorabilia and collectibles, but too much clutter will crowd any space, making it feel small and unsophisticated. Instead of ten picture frames displaying memories from college, choose just one or two and rotate the pictures. Instead of covering an end table or china cabinet with tons of chotchkies, choose just one or two items that are most special to you. In other words, edit yourself. When you think you’re done, take a look at the room and remove one more item. Then you’re done.

Soften the decor with fabrics.

Pillows, throws, wall hangings, and other fabrics can be wonderful for small spaces. They ass a lot of color, but without overcrowding the space. Even if you have tiny rooms, they’ll seem cozy instead of claustrophobic.

Hit up flea markets and second hand stores for unique pieces.

When you don’t have a ton of space, every item matters. Instead of boring pieces, look for items that are unusual in some way. Flea markets and second hand stores, like the Salvation Army are great for this, since you won’t spend much to buy items. Remember, some cleaner and refinishing works wonders on pieces you might otherwise walk by.

See if you college is selling items.

A little known fact: most colleges sell old items from dorm rooms and offices about once every three years (or even more often). These sales are usually broadcast to employees of the college, but often not to students themselves, so you have to ask. You’ll be amazed at the gems you can find. When I was graduating, I got an end table, a desk, and a desk chair all in very decent condition and all for under $20. They guys from maintenance even transported it to my near-by apartment for me! This stuff is made for a small space, so it is optimal for your first apartment.

Got some tips for decorating a tiny space on a budget?