So you’ve moved into your new apartment and you’re already sick of the empty countertops and bare walls. You spent all your money on the deposit, renter’s insurance and other move-in fees, so how can you even afford to decorate the place? Don’t worry; just read this post and learn six great ways to spruce up your new place without going into debt.

1. Get Crafty

The best way to score unique, exciting decoration on a budget is to make it yourself. Handcrafting goods gives you complete control over cover, accents and price. This is the DIY Age, where everyone has a Pinterest account, so there’s no better time to be your own interior decorator. You don’t need great crafting ability to make simple decorations, just an ability to follow directions. You can find guides on creating almost any style you want in your home with such a few minutes of searching, so get your hot glue gun ready to roll.

2. Shop Discount Stores

Big Lots and your local dollar store aren’t the hippest place to buy accessories, but you’re on a budget. Discount stores can offer affordable small pieces like glassware or knick-knacks. Plus, because they get left-over stock from bigger stores, you might find mid-range decorations for a low-end price. This is a great option if you’re not picky about color or trendiness. You might scoop up last season’s decorations at a bargain bin cost. According to Forbes.com, most interior decorators actually prefer Target over its more expensive counterparts.

3. Thrift, Thrift, Thrift

You’d be amazed what you can find at your local thrift store. Goodwill has started rolling out boutiques with high-end clothing and decorations, and Habitat for Humanity has been running ReStores for discount furniture and home odds-and-ends for decades. This means you can find vases, accent pieces, mirrors, pictures and picture frames and kitchenware at a fraction of the price you’d pay for brand-new goods. Skip soft items like pillows and bedding to prevent pest infestations, but feel free to fill up your cart in the glasswares section.

4. Add throw pillows

According to the Huffington Post, the most important decorating tip for a good-looking home is a good-looking bed. Their real estate experts recommend choosing a neutral, whiteish bedcover and topping it off with colorful pillows. This creates a wow! factor without wow! prices. It also lets you shop clearance racks for your throw pillow covers, since you can match almost anything with your neutral comforter or duvet cover. If you’re in a studio apartment or you just love consistency, you can use the same pillow covers for your bed and couch and really pull the place together.

5. Choose Big Pieces Wisely

If you have a little wiggle room in your budget, get strategic about the big-ticket decorations you choose. A large canvas print, iconic piece of furniture or attention-grabbing area rug can make or break your decor scheme. Splurging on one piece can elevate all your second-hand and low-end finds into something more elegant. Plus, with a little bit of maintenance, you can bring your big statement pieces from place to place and always have a tangible memory of your first home.

6. Go Minimalist

Want a really easy way to save big on home decor? Use less of it. Minimalist style is in, and clutter is out. You can pretend to be trendy when you’re really just frugal by cutting down on the number of knick-knacks and book shelves you put out in your new home. Don’t feel pressured to stock up on vases or cover your walls in artwork if you’d prefer a clean, simple look. To really nail minimalist style, make sure you’re using baskets or unique storage options to keep clutter to a minimum.

It might be tempting to throw in the towel and leave your new place sparsely decorated, but resist the urge. Make your new apartment a warm, welcoming space you can look forward to coming home to every day. Your initial investment will pay off in the long run in increased happiness and a bigger desire to stay at home instead of splurging on costly nights out on the town.

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