30 Ways To Upgrade Your Apartment On A Budget

So you’ve just moved into your first apartment on your own (or with roommates), and you seem to be baffled by how expensive everything is! Well don’t worry, because there are ways to upgrade your apartment on a budget. Sure, you pay electricity and internet.. and water..and heat. There is some serious budgeting needed in order to live comfortably. I also understand that you want to know more than just “put baking soda in your fridge to avoid it from stinking up.” So here are 15 great ways to upgrade your apartment while on a budget! Good luck!

*This article is in collaboration with Kayla Nannariello.

1. Use Command Hooks!

The most standard tool among students! Command hooks have a universal purpose, to make life easier. I have command hooks for clothes, I have command hooks for lights, I have command hooks for my whiteboard and anything else I want to hang. they can hold a lot of weight depending on the size of hooks you get. I have hooks for my keys, my umbrella, any dangling wires and even my night light! These little life and space savers not only make it easier to find stuff, but also make your place look so much cleaner and organized…something you definitely want to see when you come back from a long day of classes. This way you will have a place to put your keys instead of throwing them around and regretting it the next morning when you’re rushing around.


2. Use the free cups and bottles you get around campus fairs (housing fair, clubs and organizations fairs, career fair.)

Don’t just use them to drink; use them as pen stands, stands to hold your dish washing brush, fill them up with change that you don’t want in your wallet. I covered my cup with three layers of paper on the top and made a slit through the center and there you have it, your college piggy bank (you’re going to need that money for laundry and err..)
The bottles particularly, can be used to store pretty much anything. One of my bottles is filled up with paper clips. The other is in the fridge so I have cold water when I need it, and another one makes for an easy lime-juice dispenser.

3. Don’t hold back, get a huge trash can.

This is by far the most convenient thing I have done for myself in the apartment. We bought a 55 gallon trash can from Walmart and now we save on trash bags all the time…and the best part? We don’t have to take it out very often. If you want to budget and you’re lazy, this is a win-win. Moreover, these giant cans have a cover, so they don’t stink up the apartment even if you decide to dump food that’s days old because, come on, let’s face it, every college student forgets to throw away old food for a long time because they actually forgot or they’re just procrastinating.

4. Keep those twist ties you get with almost anything you buy.

You know when you buy a loaf of bread or something that has wound up wire over it? And you decide to throw it away? Don’t. These things can come in handy at any time in your apartment. Leaving for summer and don’t want to let the cutlery just lie around? Use this to wind up the spoons together and store them away. Phone charger too long for where its plugged in? Wind it up a bit and hold it together with this! Tape can make it sticky, very easily. Opened a pack of Doritos and want to save it for later? Don’t leave it open, use these!


5. Use an old or cheap blanket as a window blind.

I’m not kidding, some blankets at Walmart go for less than $8, and if you are renting an apartment, it’s highly unlikely that it will come with fancy blackout curtains. Get a blanket, and use command hooks to hang it up right around your window. Put two loops at the bottom corners so you can roll it up and hook it to the hooks on the top to make a blind, there you go! Cheap and easy blackout curtains to help you sleep in after that rough Friday night.

6. Use over-the-door hooks.

You don’t want to have to deal with putting 5 command hooks up when you know you need them there, and you want something that you can load up more than just the capacity of those sticky magicians. They’re cheap and there are so many options on Amazon. There are no restrictions for these and you do not need to do any work, just stick the hooks over the door so they hold on and hang away! In any case, most rental apartments will not allow you to drill holes and screw in hooks and this is the only alternative to get hooks as strong.

7. Get LED strip lighting for your apartment.

Ever get that feeling when you don’t want any lights on but also want to be able to see and move around your room? Here’s your solution, and it’s pretty cool. These lights go for anywhere between $15-$25, and they come in lengths up to 32 feet! You simply put them across the top of your room’s walls with command hooks (of course) or if the wall is flat enough then you can even use their built-in adhesive. They have a remote, and they are LEDs, so they’re barely using any electricity. They have brightness control and color changing capabilities for when you’re throwing that Saturday night party. It’s easy, cheap and will impress any guests. They can set the mood, become an ideal everyday light and even become party strobe lights.


8. When life gives you lemons, CLEAN!

You know how after you make a glass of lemonade, you throw out the squeezed lemon…right? Wrong. This is the perfect way to save yourself from over-spraying the kitchen with Febreze. Just throw that thing into the sink disposal, run it and run warm water as you do so. Crushed lemon will release a fresh aroma, much better than using any spray since it’s acidity will clean as well. Got a dirty or stinky microwave? Grab any microwavable mid-sized bowl and fill it halfway with water, cut a lemon in half and squeeze both halves only a little into the water, not all the way. Now dump them into the water and microwave for 3 minutes. Once it’s done, your microwave will smell fresh and will be much easier to clean!

9. Use a giant bowl of water to keep your room air from being too dry.

The weather gets dry and cold in the winter, which means we all start having dry hands, and feel really dehydrated. Our apartment heaters can be the culprit in this dry air problem. A simple solution is to take a large bowl, fill it with water and simply place it in your room. This works, and it works well. It will keep the air slightly humid and especially if you’re from a less cold region, you will be saved from terrible and painful dry skin. Save your money and don’t buy those heavy and space hogging humidifiers, do this instead!

10. Use Brita filters!

If you’re the kind that likes to drink bottled or filtered water, you’d be spending at least $4 a day or more than those who drink tap water. But what if I said you could drink filtered tap water? Look no further! If you don’t already know about Brita jugs and filters, you need to know. These things have filters built into them, so it’s as easy as filling up a jug by turning on the faucet. It even reminds you when to change a filter, and no its not every week, it’s around every 4 months.


11. Buy everything in bulk.

If you’re at Walmart and you love getting orange juice for that night, it is very likely that you will come back to get more. Instead, save yourself the trouble and the money…buy a giant jug of it, or even four jugs of it. Buying bigger packs saves more than you think, and you will have to make less trips, so there’s time and energy saved too! This applies to pretty much anything from frozen food to toilet paper. I would even recommend buying the large boxes of laundry detergent/pods. You’re not going to stop doing laundry, so you might as well stock up.

Using Amazon’s ‘dash buttons’ is a pretty neat way to be lazy too. Just press the button when you’re running low and there you have it, delivered supplies to your doorstep. They even have these things for Red bull and Gatorade cases, and they don’t cost anything extra. You get a discount on your first order that matches the amount you paid to get the button so that’s pretty neat and convenient.


12. Buy Windex, a lot of it.

This magical solution we all know is much more useful than you think it is. You can use it to clean counters, tables, wall stains, floor spills and pretty much anything that your apartment life can throw at you. Simply buy a refill after your first spray bottle. Fear not, Windex can even clean your stained bathroom mirror very easily so you can look good and feel fresh every morning!

13. Buy space-savers for literally everything.

I have one for snacks, one for stationery and one for cutlery. We also have one in the living room which helps when we simply leave our stuff out. There are sizes that fit on a table to keep small items and sizes that stand alone and can even be used as a bedside table or in my case, a place to keep the bowl of water so the air doesn’t get too dry!

14. Look into Mainstays products.

They make inexpensive household items such as the space-savers I mentioned. They also make furniture, so if you’re looking for a desk in your room, a chair, a comfortable chair to watch TV in, sheets, blankets and anything else you might need, they probably have it. Remember, most of these items are the cheapest when the semester starts and the large stores are having their sales. Most of my kitchen, including plates, cooking vessels and cutlery is from Mainstays, they have great deals and it’s definitely worth it.


15. Add some Throw Pillows!

Throw pillows are a great way to spruce up your apartment without spending too much     money. They come in millions of prints, so you’ll always be able to find ones that match your personal style and the look you’re going for!

16. Use decorative baskets as opposed to plastic storage bins.

Baskets are a great alternative to plastic storage bins. They act as decor but keep your things organized just as well! There are so many cute basket options out there whether you enjoy wired baskets, canvas, or woven ones and they come in all shapes and sizes to fit into whatever space you need!

17. Wall art makes a huge difference!

Dress up any boring drab walls you have in your apartment with some wall art. The possibilites here are endless! You can even buy just the prints or download prints from sites like Etsy and add your own frame.


18. Add slipcovers to your furniture.

Do you have an old beat up couch and can’t afford to buy a new one? No worries, just buy a slipcover. Slipcovers are awesome because they come in so many different colors and designs, and you can switch them out whenever you want a new look!

19. Make your space more inviting with picture frames.

Another cheap way to spruce up your apartment is to buy cute picture frames and fill them with your favorite pictures! It’s a great way to add a personal touch to your apartment. This will make your living space feel more cozy just like the home you grew up in!

20.  A rug.

If you don’t like your flooring, area rugs are a great way to cover it up. They come in so many different sizes that you’re bound to find one that will fit your space. A good rug can do wonders for an apartment by covering up any messed up flooring and making your apartment look bigger than it actually is.


21. Set out some candles.

They’re cheap, they smell good, and they act as decor. Candles have a great way of turning any drab apartment into an inviting atmosphere!

22. Decorate with artificial succulents.

Fake succulents are great because they require no maintenance. And unlike real plants, you don’t have to worry about replacing it when it dies.

23. Your table lamps can make a statement.

Instead of buying simple lamps for your end tables, get more interesting ones. Not only will they dress up the room, but they are bound to be a conversation starter.

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24. Buy simple furniture.

When buying furniture, don’t buy anything crazy. Go for things that are neutral colors and won’t go out of style and can look timeless in any setting.

25. Choose the right comforter.

Your comforter can make or a break a room, and unless you are absolutely in love with a printed comforter, I wouldn’t buy it. Instead, go for a solid color, preferably a neutral. This way you aren’t limited on how you decorate your room. The solid color also gives the room a very clean feel.


26. Opt for placemats.

Placemats are a super cheap way to make your dining room or kitchen look instantly more put together.

27. Get a shower curtain.

Shower curtains take up the most room in a bathroom, so make sure yours is something that people won’t mind looking at. Resist the crazy printed ones and instead, go for a simple print that will dress up your bathroom and make it seem brighter and bigger.

28. Add a good throw blanket into the mix.

Throw blankets are great because they give a cozy feel to the room and it’s always great to have a blanket nearby, but they also work as decoration.


29. Add some mirrors to your walls.

Mirrors are amazing because they make the room look bigger and they tend to draw in people’s attention.

30. If you ever need anything for your apartment, always look it up Amazon first.

When I was setting up my apartment, there were many things I found that I didn’t even know would help me so much! For example, many of my sockets have a switch extension, so I can turn them off while I am not using them, without unplugging them. This is especially useful for behind the bed and under the desk sockets, since unplugging requires a lot of effort and plugging it back in is even worse…you might even have to move the entire piece of furniture. Power strips, USB adapters and anything you can think off, it’s probably cheaper on Amazon.

Do you have any other good ideas on ways to upgrade your apartment on a budget? Share in the comments below!


30 Ways to upgrade your apartment on a budget



*This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

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