Turning a Temporary Living Space Into a Home on a Budget

Turning a New Apartment Into a Home

I have recently moved into a temporary summer apartment that I sublet from my friend’s boyfriend. Moving is such a hassle because finding a place to live is more than just putting a roof over your head; it is about creating a home out of four walls and memories that aren’t your own. This can be especially difficult if you are a college student like me who is constantly moving apartments or don’t have the funds to really decorate a space nicely. From two years of moving around like crazy and turning each new room into my cozy room, I have been able to pick up a few good tricks for turning a space into a home on a budget and in a pinch! Is my room out of a magazine? Absolutely not! But is it cozy to me? Yes! I LOVE my room :). So even if we have different styles or you are an adult with a job perfectly capable of purchasing your own fancy furniture, read on because each tip can be tailored to your personal style and circumstance!

Go All Out!

I think that the most important tip is to not skimp of effort no matter how long you are staying in a space. I am only going to be in this apartment for 3 months, so it may seem silly to put all of that effort into moving my entire life into this little room, but environmental wellness is really important! We need to feel at home in our environment if we are going to be truly happy. If I had left this room blank and bland, I would never feel fully at home here.

Create Multiple Living Spaces in Each Room

Try and give yourself multiple different hang out spaces in the same room. The entirety of this apartment is furnished by the people that live here during the school year, so I have a lot of living spaces throughout the house, but my room is the only space that is completely mine, and it is the space where I will spend the most time. It is important that I am not constantly sitting on my bed when I am in here, holed up in a single corner, so I have set up my room so that I will be living all around it. The first area I set up was obviously my bed, I knew that I wanted it to be a cozy place to sit and work on my computer or watch a movie. Next, I enjoy morning coffee dates with my boyfriend, so I decided that I needed a coffee nook. Finally, I set up a full-length mirror and space to hold all of my jewelry and makeup supplies. I like to sit on the floor and do my makeup, so I just put a little desk to hold my brushes and things next to the mirror. This is the space I will be living in when I am getting ready in the morning. If you are in your long-term house, invest in living spaces in multiple rooms! It is so important that we as human beings are not restrained to one teeny area. 

Make Sure All Furniture Items Are Functional

How do I get all of this furniture to make all of these spaces come together? I definitely do not have the money or car space to be hauling around an entire room’s worth of furniture to each apartment that I move to. My #1 apartment furniture tip is to try and make sure that all of the furniture items I keep double as storage. Even if you own your own permanent home, this is a really good idea to keep in mind. One can never have too much storage! You may notice that the “side table” in my coffee nook is a silver plastic bin… The ottoman is also a storage space for my blankets. Obviously, class it up if you have the means and the car space! Anything that I need besides those storage/furniture items must be collapsible! One of my chairs in the coffee nook is a folding chair, so that checks that box. I try to have as little full-sized furniture as possible because I just cannot haul it around. Not to mention, every space is different, so what furniture items work in this space, probably won’t work in my next space. 

Take Advantage of Your Local Thrift Stores

This brings me to my next tip: take advantage of Goodwill and other thrift stores. My makeup drawers, ottoman, and full-length mirror are all $5 Goodwill finds. If I am not in love with them by the end of my stay in this apartment, they are heading back to Goodwill! I used to feel bad shopping at Goodwill for things because I have the means to get the same stuff at Walmart. However, shopping at Goodwill benefits the community because of their mission, and if you re-donate things you aren’t in love with you are providing them with more merchandise to sell for the cause. When I move out of a space, I like to go through everything that I own, and anything I didn’t use throughout the duration of my stay, I donate to Goodwill. It is my way of simplifying my move and giving back to a place that provided furniture for me which functioned for the moment. Another great tip is to shop at Goodwill with the idea to upcycle in mind. If you can buy a chest of drawers for $15 from Goodwill, stain it, maybe re-screw a few pieces that were loose, and sell it for $40 you just made a small profit on something that could have been a money pit! Honestly, if you are creative, upcycling can become quite lucrative and pay for a few textbooks or utility bills each semester!

Create a Picture Wall

I love to create a picture wall in every room I live in. It is definitely the most time-consuming part, but I adore seeing the faces of those I love or pictures of the places I love on my wall every day. Honestly, it is the best reminder of why I work so hard here at school. The people I love push me to follow my dream of being a doctor. They push me not to give up when the work is hard. I like to put up a mix of framed and unframed pictures because who can afford to frame all of their pictures at once?? I like to pick up a cheap frame whenever I go to Goodwill because nothing looks better than a framed picture, but I am not going to wait until I have enough frames for all of my pictures to make a picture wall! I like to print out my favorite pictures from the year every August. Do not forget to write a little note on the back that explains where each picture was taken and who is in each picture—odds are they will be passed down through your family, and you want that history to live on :). 

Light It Up!

Make sure you have plenty of light! I achieve this through aromatherapy candles and Christmas lights strung all over. If you are into more classy solutions, go find some cool artisan lamps! Most apartments do not have the best lighting, and bad lighting affects our mood much more than we realize. It is a really important part of environmental wellness to assure that your room is appropriately lit during the hours when you are awake. If it is not, you may notice depression or tiredness associated with lack of light. My room is a basement room, so I created this weird, kind of ghetto Christmas light headboard using a painting I made at a Bob Ross painting party. It is not the most classy solution, but I honestly love how weird and random it is :).

Don't Stop Improving!

This brings me to my final tip: each week try to improve on something that was bothering you. If the place you stashed all of your teas is really annoying, invest in a fancy tea box or just move them! If you do not like all of your shirts crumpled up in a drawer because there isn’t enough space, buy a cheap rod and make a cute open closet! Those are so on trend right now! If your room is freezing but you do not want to turn up the heat, go buy a fuzzy blanket or socks or Goodwill sweatshirt! It is not a bad thing to invest some money into your place; that is not a waste of money! It is so important to remember that environmental wellness is just as important as physical or emotional wellness. Nurture yourself and your health by giving yourself a healthy place to live.

Cue cheesy picture of me thoroughly enjoying my odd hodgepodge room

Comment below what you do to make your house a home :)