Interior Design Ideas for the Cash-Strapped

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Interior Design Ideas for the Cash-Strapped

Rachael Weiner · Jan 21, 2011

Interior design ideas are everywhere, but most of them require you to spend a lot of money. At the same time, spending money doesn’t mean you’ll automatically have a fantastically designed apartment. As the saying goes, “money doesn’t buy taste”—or style. There are plenty of ways to decorate your apartment without dropping a load of cash. If you’re looking to design the interior of your apartment on a small budget, consider some of the following ideas.

Make Wall Decor with What You Already Have

You don’t have to buy art or photography for your walls. Pick up a few inexpensive frames (you’ll want something larger than 8×10) and tear out images you like from old calendars or magazines. That picture of the sun setting from last year’s calendar can easily become an inexpensive image to hang on the wall of your living room. The photo shoot you loved from September’s issue of Vogue? Hang it above your dresser in your bedroom for some visual interest. Hanging up images that you already have gives you more control of your interior design project—and a greater handle on your cash.

Display Small Items in Glass Vases and Covered Jars

Collect some corks off bottles of wine, seashells or interesting rocks from outside. Place all of the corks (or whatever else you choose) in a large glass jar—not the kind of jars you find peanut butter or mayonnaise in, but the fancy glass jars that are sold at places like Crate & Barrel. You don’t have to purchase an expensive one, as most large chain department stores sell these things for a lesser price. Displaying some of these things on your fireplace mantle or bookshelf could help you find a theme for your room. Seashells, for instance, could give you cues to hang sandy-colored drapes from your windows and throw pale blue pillows on your sofa.

Opt for Mirrors and Candles

When all else fails, having plenty of mirrors and candles in your apartment will give it an elegant ambiance. A cluster of candles on your bedroom dresser or as a centerpiece on your dining room table is an easy way to give either space a little pizazz. Candles are often very inexpensive. If you already have some, all you need to do is arrange them and display all over your apartment. As far as mirrors go, you can find very inexpensive small mirrors (think 8×8 squares or 8 inch diameter circular mirrors) at craft stores or your local Walmart or Target. Hang them space out in row with candles directly underneath each one. At night when you light the candles the room will look elegant. During the day the arrangement will look modern, chic and clean.

Remember that you can always ask around (friends and family) to see if they have anything for you to use for free. Interior design doesn’t have to be costly. With a little creativity you can decorate your entire place for less than $100.

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Rachael Weiner: I’m a communications professional for a non-profit, which financially necessitates my status as an apartment dweller. Constantly “on-the-go,” I’ve resided in five different apartments across the United States over the past five years. Roommate issues, budgeting, organizing and handling problem neighbors are my specialty.

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