For all you 20somethings who just graduated college, life may be a little weird right now. Some of you may have moved back home after graduation and now are sitting in bed reading this article while eating expired cereal and surfing monster.com for jobs. Another subset of you may be working a part-time job while waiting for your dream company to finally answer your email saying they want to interview you. And yet another group of you (a group that includes myself), have probably just moved to a city far away from home to start a brand spankin’ new chapter of your life.
If you’re a part of this last group, chances are you’re currently experiencing a surge of feels — newfound independence from the former constraints of your college’s “bubble” mixed with confusion on how on earth to be an adult, with a dash of homesickness on the side. The perfect remedy for a serious case of homesickness if to make your new living space a bit more…well, homey. But fret not, fellow penny-pinching 20something. You don’t have to blow your monthly budget on expensive home decor to make your new apartment or house feel nice ’n’ cozy. There are plenty of affordable options to take your room from dull and boring to vibrant and comfy in no time.
1. Patterned Rug
Keep your toes warm and fuzzy when you step out of bed each morning with a patterned rug. Depending on your room’s aesthetic, you can go for a relatively subdued pattern like this one so it won’t clash with your bedspread or other furnishings.
Target: $23.99 for 2’6”x4’
2. Wooden Crates
Too cheap to buy a bedside table? Wooden crates are the answer to your shabby-chic, storage-friendly dreams. Buy two or three wooden crates and simply stack them on top of each other. If you’re feeling extra adventurous and crafty, paint and then rub them with sandpaper to give them a more distressed vibe.
3. Mason Jars
Call me ~basic~ but I love me some mason jars. They’re super cheap, especially if you get them in a bundle, and are equally as versatile. Fill them with fresh flowers, candles, pebbles or shells, and wrap a ribbon or hemp around the top to add a little extra pizzazz. Whatever you don’t use for decorating, use them as cups and makeup brush holders.
Walmart: $7.97 for a 12 pack
4. Picture Frames
Nothing makes you feel right at home like a photo of your fam, friends or pets in a chic picture frame. Hang them on the wall, set ‘em on your coffee table or prop them up on your bedside desk. These mementos will remind you to call home more than just when you need a little help with your monthly bills.
Bed Bath & Beyond: $5.99 for 4×6
5. Ceramic Jewelry Tray
Sure, you could store away your jewelry in a box hidden in your closet. But why not add a little glitz to the top of your drawers and leave your favorite watches and rings in a tray for all to see. This way, you’ll never forget to slip on your go-to ring on the way out the door.
Satisfy your green thumb (and let’s be real — your secret desire for ~trendy~ Instagram photos) by purchasing some lil’ succulents. Plant them in a painted flower pot, or put them in a vintage mug for an extra quirky touch. Pro tip: If you live in a big city like NYC and don’t want to risk succulent destruction by getting them shipped, you can find them for super cheap at outdoor farmers’ markets or stores like Trader Joe’s.
Eastern Leaf: $3.95
7. Throw Pillows
These are a great way to add a dash of color to brighten up your bedroom if you typically stick to a muted color palette. Though throw pillows are pretty small, they can cost upwards of $20. Be sure to scour online platforms like Amazon before spending half of your weekly budget on one stinkin’ pillow.
Similar to throw pillows, the price of candles can rack up quite the hefty bill. Although Anthropologie’s candles are rather tempting, save some dough and check out H&M’s new home collection, which features totally affordable and yummy-scented candles that won’t put as much of a dent in your wallet.
9. Canvas Art
The obvious budget-friendly option for this home decor item would be to buy the supplies at a craft store and make a fun DIY project of it. But not all of us are blessed with the steady hands and artsy instincts of Picasso, and that’s where websites like Etsy come into the picture. Browse away until you find the perfect match that suits your budget and bedroom vibe.
10. Wall Shelves
For those of you living in a closet-sized apartment in a big city, wall shelves like these are your new BFF. They give you extra space to display your knick-knacks and the pegs are perfect for hanging towels, purses, scarves or your keys.
All it takes is a frugal mindset and some intense Internet browsing to find home decor items that suit both your personal style and your budget. Why settle for a $35 candle when you could buy one for $7 and spend the rest on pizza and white wine, amirite?