Let's face it: growing up, graduating, and moving off campus are incredibly exciting, but it's scary to think about balancing a budget. We all dream of our first apartment - for some, it's that dingy, messy, first studio apartment that seems thrilling; for others, they dream of a glamourous first job and an equally elegant and adequately decorated dig. Most people probably lie somewhere in the middle, but no matter the vision, we all face the same challenge of furnishing, decorating, and living in our new space without busting the bank. Here are some cash-crunching tips to help you decorate in style without sacrificing all of that hard-earned paycheck:
1. Know where to look for furniture: Ikea and Target are cheap, but they don't always have the best deals! Scour Facebook Marketplace, craigslist, farmer's markets, and your family's old storage unit for alternative ways to fill your apartment. You can also find friends of friends who may be graduating from a school in your new city who would sell their off campus furniture at a discount.
2. Get creative: if you're renting your apartment or house, some landlords will still let you put your own touches in. Try painting one wall of a room to spice it up and add some color. You can even paint the ceiling! Forget expensive art: print out your own photographs, frame them, and put them up in a pattern to make cool art that gives your wall some shape.
3. Multi-task: This designer used twin mattresses to create couches; if you're planning to have guests, this is a great way to build extra beds into your space and save on buying expensive couches.
Most of all, remember that this is YOUR home. Make it your own! You can definitely add your own touches while decorating on a budget.