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How do I decorate my apartment on a budget?

This is the first question I asked myself after I stumbled upon the Dallas apartment of my dreams. I previously sold the furniture from my last apartment and was ready to start fresh. It was time for me to do some research and think long and hard about what exactly I wanted my apartment to convey. What is my style? Did I want to be shabby chic? Pink and classic? Clean and modern? I think I ended up with a mix of all three.

First thing’s first:

I set a budget. I had a rent budget and money saved up to buy the furniture I needed. This helped me set the parameters for my own little reality. From here, I was able to determine how much I wanted to spend per room.

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How I found the place:

I used several popular apartment search engines to look for a complex within 15 minutes from work but also 15 minutes from downtown. When I was walking through a complex I had found online, I saw a taller, newer complex in the horizon, just across the street. 5 minutes later, I found it. We toured the grounds and several units…apologies to my leasing agent – but a year is a long commitment to a 24 year old, not just financially! Most my research was done online and I found my place the same day I went out to tour the complexes in person. I’ll admit, I got really lucky.

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How I found the furniture:

Through a little trial and error, I furnished my apartment using four major furniture retailers: Weirs, Nebraska Furniture Mart, Target and Etsy. I bought a couch from Target that ended up being too small and stiff. After waiting two weeks for it to be shipped and being quickly let down upon it’s arrival, I put aside my pride and decided to take a stroll down the aisles of America’s furniture destination: Nebraska Furniture Mart. I was shocked to find a couch twice the size, three times the quality, and for the same price as the Target couch. And it was modern. The even bigger benefit? I took it home that night!

Interior features:

After working for a home builder for six months, my eye for architectural elements was enhanced. I’m in love with my complex because the designer incorporated several modern elements: single basin kitchen sink, stainless steel appliances, modern kitchen cabinets, white granite with large bar for up to four bar stools, pendant lighting, dark wood floors, wine bar, modern plumbing fixtures, under-mount bathroom sinks, ceiling fans in both living and bedroom, long and wide white tile in the bathroom, laundry chute, separate tub and shower, large walk in closet, pool view, balconies with wooden wall paneling, and my favorite – 12 foot ceilings.

Property features:

Moving into a brand new complex at only 30% capacity is always nice because the gym equipment is brand new, there isn’t a ton of noise, neighbors aren’t really a thing yet and the parking garage has plenty of space. The clubhouse is accessible 24/7, so if you’re like me and one of the only people in the world without a Keurig, you can use the one in the club house. There’s also a dog park, modern pool with cushioned chaise lounge chairs, fire pit and open parking for guests on the streets and in the garage.

BEFORE

These photos were taken the day I first saw this complex. My dreams became a reality in a short matter of two days. Job offer came in Friday, and I found my apartment on Sunday. It’s weird how timing works out the way it does. I blame God.

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AFTER

This is a starting point for me. I plan to add more pieces and decor as time goes on. I had to start completely over as I had sold 90% of the furniture from my previous apartment. I decided it was time to start over fresh, with decorations and selections I chose, not hand me downs or furniture I used in college.

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Shoutout to my best friend for the “When life hands you lemons grab the vodka and call the girls” dish towel and “Spoon Me!” spoon holder.

Shoutout to my handy man boyfriend for building all of the furniture in my home that I ordered online from Target. I would’ve been lost without you!

Shoutout to my dad for allowing me to shack up in your house for three months to save the money I needed to make this move.

Here’s a list of where I got everything and a rough estimate of how much I spent where:

Target: $2,000

  • 3 bar stools
  • 2 chairs
  • White shaggy rug
  • Modern glass coffee table + matching end table
  • Nate Berkus faux fur pillows + matching stool
  • Standing Desk
  • TV stand
  • 50″ TV ($250 on Black Friday! Worth the short 30 minutes I waited)

Nebraska Furniture Mart: $700

  • Large velvet couch with 3 matching pillows
  • Delivery: JT Clark Trucks & Inc. (Free)

Weirs: Free (thanks Dad!)

  • Bedroom TV Chest
  • Tall dresser

Etsy: $550

  • Custom made headboard

World Market: $250

  • Pictures
  • Bedside table
  • Lamps
  • Rugs
  • Picture Frames

Francesca’s: $100

  • Picture holder #Blessed
  • Coasters “Life of the party” “Drink Me” “On The Rocks”
  • Dish Towel
  • Spoon Me spoon holder

West Elm: $250

  • Pillows
  • Mirrored Trey
  • Symmetry Objects

Other: I already had bedding from my previous apartment which I bought a year ago at Home Goods. I also already had the chair in my bedroom. A handful of accessories were also carried over, most likely from Home Goods, Target or Hobby Lobby.

Grand total: I spent somewhere around $5,000 total for this move. That included moving fees, deposits, furniture, accessories etc. That’s a steal. I used Groupon for the movers. I got the first two weeks rent for free plus 1 month of rent free (divided by 12) to lower my monthly rent payment. I recommend finding brand new complexes when looking for an apartment because they typically have amazing deals to fill the place.

Ask me anything in the comments below, tell me how you made your dream apartment become a reality 🙂

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