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Classy Apartment Decorating on a Budget

Updated on May 9, 2011

Can a Person on a Limited Budget Live With Class?

When we think of living on a limited budget, what often springs to mind is a bearded, ungroomed man, sitting in the back seat of his trailer in a trailer park. Not that there is anything wrong with that per say, if that is truly what you want, but understand that just because you're poor, doesn't mean you have to fall into fateful stereotypes. You can be poor, yet still have a sense of personal respect, cleanliness, and class to go along with it. Here are some inexpensive tips on how you can seriously spruce up the beauty of a low budget apartment. You'll be surprised how just a few of these ideas can completely change the atmosphere of your surrounding environment. Your confidence will increase as well.

A nicely sorted bookshelf such as this can do wonders.
A nicely sorted bookshelf such as this can do wonders.

1. Become Well Read:

Get into the habit of becoming well read, both mentally and physically. Becoming well read is more than just reading books; it's finding the few good books and making them your most prized procession. A book that’s relevant to your struggles, that you always find the need to consult, and that's essentially timeless. That fits the definition of a good book. A book that you happen to haphazardly have because it's approved by mainstream academia and or the media, that's not only a bad book, but a harmful book you would be better off without. And last but not least, don't be afraid to read and tackle difficult subjects typically reserved for those who have college degrees. Just because you don't have a college degree doesn't mean you should limit yourself to simple subject matters.

Very few books fall into the following criterias, however it's important that you set high standards for what will be your well placed book shelf. Yes, a visible book shelf with an interesting key collection, usually placed right between your computer and television, does a lot to upgrade the classiness of your living space. Be sure to utilize the very top of the book shelf with some of the key decorations I will soon give an honorable mention.

Inexpensive candles can liven the apartment space.
Inexpensive candles can liven the apartment space.

2. Make Use of Candles:

I find a few well placed candles, without any intention of using them so wax doesn't drool all over the place, does a lot to enhance the aesthetics of any low income housing. Candles are inexpensive, often costing only a few dollars for an entire pack. Placing two candles at the centre of your dining table is paramount. Placing one candle along the edge of your windowsill is a good idea, but don't overdo it. Placing a few candles on the top of any cabinets or dressers you have doesn't hurt.

Beautiful glass chess set priced just under $5.
Beautiful glass chess set priced just under $5.

3. Glass Chess Sets:

Inexpensive class chess sets, often priced around $5 to $10, can work wonders. With a neatly organized book shelf, well placed candles, and chess glass sets strategically put on your living room coffee table, another on top of your bookshelf, and finally another neatly placed on a small coffee table in your room, you'll soon feel like a million dollars. You'll also have the added benefit of coming across as very intelligent and classy. Be sure that each of the chess sets has a different design, that none of the pieces are broken or chipped, and that you take the time to keep the chess sets decently cleared of any dust that may build up.

A simple, yet elegant, tall lamp such as this should do the trick.
A simple, yet elegant, tall lamp such as this should do the trick.

4. Tall Lamps:

Inexpensive tall lamps, priced around $10 to $20, placed at the far corner of every room, can make the interior of your apartment look absolutely stunning. Pick a long and lean stemmed tall lamp that's in good condition. Usually stands colored in white, black, bronze, silver or gold are what is necessary to convey the classical image of wealth and knowledge being portrayed in the room. Whatever you do, avoid buying lava lamps, no matter how cool they may look or feel. Believe me, they completely destroy the image of what you're trying to convey. Avoid exotic tall lamps as well. What you want is a classical tall lamp with a straight, lean, and elegant stand. You want a tall lamp with a glass covered top that isn't clear. You need to find the right balance, you want a tall lamp that brings about a classical look, but at the same time it can't look plain.

A combination of modern and classical clock such as this pasted on the wall is a good idea.
A combination of modern and classical clock such as this pasted on the wall is a good idea.

5. Marble, Scales, Clocks and Wine:

Other interesting tokens can convey the classy knowledge and wealth appearance that can be used to brighten a poor person's apartment are bronze scales, small marble sculptures and small pendulum clocks. The majority of such items are quite inexpensive provided you're an intelligent shopper. Investing in some wine bottles, for decorative purposes, neatly assorted and plainly visible in a winery compartment, can also go a long way towards developing some much needed class in a small kitchen and dinning space.

Bronze scale and winery compartment. Inexpensive, and with a little creativity, takes up little room.
Bronze scale and winery compartment. Inexpensive, and with a little creativity, takes up little room.

Living Economically Doesn't Mean Living Cheaply, or Even Simply. . .

Even if I had two million dollars, I would still furnish every room in my house using the same concepts. It only makes common sense to get the best value for your money whether you're rich, poor, or somewhere in between. Taking the time to respectfully organize your apartment shows a lot of character and resilience. Designing your rooms in such a fashion removes the simple and bland image. You also don't come across as cheap. The clever combination of old and new is a real work of art, yet practical at the same time.

-Donovan D. Westhaver


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      Kate 6 years ago

      There are some good tips there. I don't earn much but I do think I have a sense of style and I know how to get what I want on a budget. It isn't as hard as many would think.

      Sometimes its just about being a little creative and adapting items to suit your own taste.

      For instance I bought a cabinet second hand for £15. I gave it a white coat of paint and covered the top with cheap white tiles and I now have a very stylist and rather expensive looking wash stand for my bathroom. everyone comments on it.

    • duffsmom profile image

      P. Thorpe Christiansen 6 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

      Don, I really enjoyed this Hub--you have some great ideas here.