Apartment Decorating on a Real-Life Budget

Sara Bodle Takes our Homes From Drab to Fab on a Single Girl Budget

Apartment Decorating on a Budget

Last week I moved into yet another new apartment—a painful process, yes, but also a great way to get a fresh start. Moving is the the opportune time to clean out the old and redefine your space with new home decor.

For help turning my new apartment into a place I can truly call home, I reached out to Sara Bodle—one of my best college girlfriends—for a few tips. Here she clues TSD in on her apartment decorating advice for making our homes fabulous on budgets we can actually afford.

Read on to get her advice for transforming your own place from drab to fab!

We all have had that moment when we have walked into our new apartment with anticipation and excitement only to be brought down by the limitations and big expenses that come with transforming your new abode into a “home.”  However, after years of moving between cities and countless living situations, I have found a few easy and affordable ways to convert my lifeless, white-walled apartments into spaces that truly feel like a home. Read on for my top apartment decorating tricks.


Sounds easy, right?  Before you head off to your local Sherwin Williams to start looking at colors, remember to check with your landlord to ensure you are allowed to paint.  Sounds silly, but my current landlord does not allow residents to paint unless it has been approved by maintenance.  Paint is an easy, affordable and fun way to transform any room.  Whether you want a fun pop color in a space, stripes wrapping its way within your home or a chalkboard wall, paint can easily set the mood that expresses WHO YOU ARE.  Remember, this is your home, so be true to your style.


Lots of them, everywhere! Displaying the most important people, places and events within your life.  My friends can undoubtedly confirm that frames are placed in every inch of my apartment.  I am always down for a good bargain, and frames are one of those items that can be bought on the cheap but still maintain an elegant, upscale quality to them.  Take a couple hours to sift through local antique and thrift shops, dollar stores and the good ol’ clearance sections at your local Target (don’t tell me that I’m the only one who scans those shelves during each visit).  Fill the frames with items that put a smile on your face and remind you of the love in your life, such as love letters from friends and family.  These reminders will help you through some of the hard times when you feel alone and not so at home.







A simple way to bring in some color, warmth and personality to your new place is through decorative pillows, blankets and curtains.  I have several pillow covers that I change out regularly to reflect the seasons or the colors I am loving at the time.  Also, if you find yourself feeling adventurous, you can purchase a neutral pillowcase and add a design on it with fabric paint.


One of my favorite items in my apartment is an old floor lamp that was handed down to me from my generous parents.  I bought a fun lampshade at Target (on clearance!) for around $10 and voila, I have a beautiful floor lamp.


I know what you are thinking right now.  You do not want your grandma’s old sofa from 1975.  I had the same thought when my parents offered me some of their old living room furniture when I moved into my first apartment by myself.  However, as I started researching new furniture prices (that I would actually want to purchase), I soon realized that I could simply not afford new living room furniture.  That turned out to be a blessing in disguise because I saved so much in the end!


Yes, do not be afraid of thrift and antique shops.  My boyfriend and I love to spend hours scouring antique shops on the weekend.  Make it a fun outing with friends or loved ones.  You are sure to run across some fun and interesting items, but I have found some of my favorite pieces in these shops including frames, old prescription pads (that are in frames on my boyfriend’s walls) and vases.  Each of these items brings a sense of self that reminds me each day what I love and enjoy in life.
Check out a few more of the links below for some quick and easy (and most importantly, affordable) ideas!
Easy Peasy Cardboard Headboards
Creating your own Greek Key Embellished Pillow
Vision Board – Never Stop Dreaming!
Have fun and happy apartment decorating! Xoxo
Sara B

Sara Bodle

Sara Bodle studied interior design at the College of Design, Art, Architecture, and Planning at the University of Cincinnati. We were sorority sisters and roommates in college where I got to benefit first-hand from her exceptional talents and taste.

For more great inspiration, follow Sara @

Pinterest: Sara Bodle

Instagram: sarabodle23

Email: sarabodle@gmail.com

Your biggest fan, brunch buddy, and online BFF. Consider me your wing woman for brand success.


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