Decorating your first apartment can be a daunting task, especially if you’re on a budget. From where to go to what to buy first, decorating on a budget doesn’t have to be difficult if you keep in mind that you already possess everything that you want and need. The objective then is how to tap into your own personal style and creativity to bring that perfectly decorated apartment to life. Interior design expert, Stephanie Andrews of Balance Design in Atlanta, shared the five most important strategies to keep in mind when decorating your first apartment on a budget.
Balance Design Atlanta
353 Sheppard Place N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30307
(678) 984-5019

Balance Design Atlanta has been a passion project for Stephanie Andrews. Encouraged by her family to realize her dream in 2002, she and her team have created hundreds of curated interiors, ranging from single rooms to entire homes. There’s a vibrant enthusiasm in her approach that’s both warm and vividly inspiring for her clients. When asked about decorating your first apartment on a budget, she stressed the importance of five key strategies to keep in mind that will help anyone from a college student to young professional to a couple moving into their first apartment.

List Areas Or Rooms Of Interest Within Apartment

When you’re trying to get an idea of where you want certain items, it’s important to be organized in your approach. Stephanie suggested listing each space out; for example, dining area, reading area, bathroom, sleeping area, etc. Listing out each area will give you a better idea of what you want in that particular area. Then you can take account of what you already have that would fit perfectly for a great mixture of old and new styles that will help create authenticity.

Considering The Importance Of Flow

When decorating your first apartment, one must visualize the area and space constraints. How do you get through each room? How do you see movement within each room? This, Stephanie described as the “flow” within each room. How you flow through each room is created by the balance of items you have in each room. How can one determine the necessary flow for each room? Well one way is measuring out the room dimensions by either cutting out scale pieces, or a less intensive approach is to use painters tape to tape out areas where you want furniture to sit. This is a very important tip Stephanie uses with her clients to help them save money within their decorating budget because most furniture stores sell pieces that are too big, leading to more expensive prices. When you know the size you need, you trim your budget by purchasing a great piece of furniture at the exact size you need.

Determine Your Style

Whether you know it or not, your apartment is a direct representation of your personal style. But, sometimes is difficult to determine what part of your personal style you want represented within your apartment. Stephanie suggested making style books or idea books that will help narrow down how you want your apartment to look and feel. Websites such as,, or are great inspiration for anyone looking for specific ideas and styles.

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Shop Old And New

Everything in your apartment doesn’t have to have a shiny price tag from some expensive furniture store. The goal is create a space that’s both liveable and authentic. Stephanie suggested finding unique pieces in some of the more underexposed areas such as Craigslist, Kudzu Antiques, Highland Row Antiques, Paris on Ponce or any local consignment shop in the area. Pairing something old with something new is a great way to create that perfect mixture you’re looking for a well-decorated apartment with a unique style of its own.

Put “You” In Your Apartment

Don’t stage your apartment with pieces that don’t represent who you are. Your apartment should tell your unique story. Stephanie suggested creating an art wall of either pictures you’ve taken, people you love, or original art or words you live by. This is an amazingly inexpensive and creative way to create great wall art for your apartment.

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Marlena Turner is an Atlanta native and graduated from Georgia State University. With interests in technology, arts and music for the past three years, she has written articles published on and regarding such topics. In her free time she enjoys video games and movies. Read more on