One of the many ways I try to make myself feel comfortable in a new space, is to decorate it.
To me, it's hard to make a place feel homey unless I make it mine. By this I mean adding little pieces of personality or decor to the area. Little things that put my own personality into it. I always feel the need to put my own special touch. Otherwise it really doesn't feel like mine.
I get it from my mom. If you know my mom, you will know she always has something up her sleeve when in comes to interior decor. She used to own an occasional store that sold antiques and refurbished items. The entire place was filled with decor and furniture and ways to decorate your space. She would spend weekends and any extra time she had at the store, decorating it to make it perfect. I can remember years of her bringing me along to garage sales and consignment shops and second hand stores looking for those "diamond in the rough" pieces. I did not like it. I found it boring, and dirty to use old items. I didn't get the value. My mom's whole personality was vintage and "old to new". She saw the value and potential things had. At about 10 I vowed to never have a single piece of antique or vintage furniture in my home when I grew up.
A little dramatic wouldn't you say?
I grew out of that real quick and soon became obsessed with making a space feel like my own space, just like my mom. You should have seen my 6th grade locker. Stickers and pictures and magnets and mirrors galore. I wanted it to be like in the movies. And it was!
I decided to write this post because I know there are others like me, who, love to decorate the space they have, and also want to stay on a budget. (That's where the "College Girl Blog" section relates to this post!) Here are my 3 ways to decorate your space on a budget. *With* pictures of my cute apartment :)
1. Find a rough theme
Pinterest is your best friend. Decorating your space is a lot easier when you know what you're aiming for. The first thing I researched when I started looking into decorating my apartment was 'cute apartment themes' and went from there. I have Pinterest boards galore. I knew I wanted to incorporate vintage while also incorporating new aesthetics into my theme.
When looking for inspiration on Pinterest, color scheme is important! I wanted it to not have one specific color to go off of. Orange was a must, because it is a bright color that works well with warm woods, but also offsets other cool tones like blue and navy. My boyfriend Camden's favorite color is orange, so I knew it had to make its way in there as well.
Like many people, I often find inspiration from the internet. One of my favorite bloggers for example, gave me a lot on insight when I was trying to decorate my space. Indy Blue is a 22 year old business owner and mom who also owns her own clothing company, Lonely Ghost. (You'll hear a lot more about her, I'm kind of obsessed.)
Her apartment as seen in this little picture is somewhat sporadic in the way the pictures are hung, and the color scheme correlation. I tried to emulate that in my wall decor. I like that not every picture perfectly matches, but when put all together it creates a cool toned, chill aesthetic. pc: @indyblue_
I knew moving forward I wanted a warm, bright look, that would work with a lot of the pieces I had. Once you find a blurry target in the direction you want to go, it's important to know what you already have, and how you can incorporate it into your space.
2. Use what you have around you
When you have a mom who loves antiques, and an entire full garage filled with furniture and wall pieces, there's lots of room for any theme. She just helped my Grandpa and Grandma clean out an old house about a month ago, so she had a ton of new pieces sitting in her garage. There was this one piece, an old vintage side table. I didn't think it really went with what I wanted, but I found ways to make my theme work with it. I think it really makes the space.
While not everyone has a borderline hoarder antiquing mom with a garage full of goodies, (just joking mom!) There are many places to find pieces like this.
Thrift stores are the place to find vintage pieces that you won't find anywhere else. GoodWill and Salvation Army are my favorites. The sales are great and are very reasonable for the college budget ;) The basket I've used to hold pictures and the tile coasters shown above are both from GoodWill. You never know what you will find. It's seriously like a fun game.
This is also the time of year when everyone is getting rid of old furniture. It may sound odd, but the curb can also be the place to find some hidden gems.
One of my favorite parts of my wall are the vintage records. My Grandma Weberg has a collection of records she let pick and choose from to have for my record player I got for Christmas a couple years ago. I put some on the wall to perfectly adhere the vintage touch, while also keeping the color scheme I wanted. It makes it feel even more special knowing that they were once my Grandma's. The Orange Elvis record was hers when she was around my age. (correct me if I'm wrong Grandma).
Posters can be really expensive when you factor in shipping, and frames, or ink if you're printing them yourself. Records serve as a mini time capsule you can use in place of a poster!
I really love the Hotel California one because my mom told me that her dad actually won it on the radio for her when she was 16. The rest are either from old record stores or thrift stores. You can find hidden treasures in the least likely of places.
Another way you can reuse and incorporate what you have is by looking at what and item could look like, versus what it looks like now!
Like this. When I lived in the dorms my freshman year of college I had this little $30 6 cube shelf that my roommates and I used for towels and toiletries and such. It had gotten a little scuffed up and was a little rickety by the end of the semester.
But, putting a little personality and color made all the difference. I set it right against another 9 cube I had used for dance clothes years ago to add length. It holds my favorite books and other records, while also serving as our current TV stand. It's one of my favorite parts of the living room.
3. Look for the deals
This is where my inner bargain hunter comes out. Who doesn't like a good deal? You just need to know where to look.
Some of my personal favs include:
Walmart picture pickup. It's one of the fastest and cheapest ways I print pictures. With Covid-19 and all that its lovely presence entails, Walmart's is the quickest in GF.
They have an app, Prints Plus that lets you download and quickly upload pictures from your phone. I order tons of 4x6's and 5x7's, and have even printed some posters for cheap. I can get around 45 prints for under $5. They print to your nearest Walmart store and you can pick them up and pay for them with the rest of your groceries! Win win.
Hobby Lobby and Michaels. They are known as the craftiest stores around for good reason. You can always find decor for any season, occasion, theme or room, and most likely it's on sale. And if not, it will be next week.
The best part about these stores is that they have a universal 40% coupon code for any non sale item. Whenever I go, I only buy sale items, and if I really want an item that isn't on sale, I use the 40% off coupon.
Like these macrame plant holders. It's a super cute way to add a soft vibe to your room. My favorite is to get ivy or spider plants that can eventually grow and hang down the holder. It's a decoration that keeps on giving!!!!
I'm in love with the fake ivy trend. That and picture walls seem to be the new thing for teen girl rooms. I like the way it can elongate your wall space, making your room feel taller and bigger in return. Best part, I got these on sale at Hobby Lobby for $10. I even added some hanging string lights for the cozy effect.
Etsy. If you're looking for something that will last you a long time that has it's own personal handmade touch, Etsy is the place to go.
I like to look there for anything I probably wouldn't find in stores. I have bought so many items over the last few years that have stayed in perfect shape. It's also great knowing you're supporting a small business when making a purchase!
This handmade hanging wall shelf is my absolute favorite purchase I have made on Etsy. I bought it a couple years ago for my room, and I even got to pick the rope, metal rings, wood, and stain for the shelf. All together it costed me $15. I also really appreciate that it can be non-invasive. I had it hung in my dorm last year and used command strips instead of nails. (The clock was $3.50 from Walmart btw!)
In the end, you don't really need decor or pillow or posters to make a home. Your own personality and self make the home. Having a space filled with cute decor can absolutely help, and make it feel more personalized, but whatever works for you is essentially the best. (And even better if you can do it on the cheap!)
For me, making a space feel decorated and homey is what makes it feel welcoming. I hope these mini tips will be put to good use! How do you make your home feel like a home? Tell me!
ps, what's your favorite fall treat? I need to know. Seriously!
pps, here is the mandatory Oscar pic. What a model am I right?
Sincerely, a decorator (me)