How to Decorate a Chic Modern Apartment on a Budget

learn how to Complete a Modern, Budget-Friendly Apartment Makeover

Looking for budget-friendly ideas to revamp your apartment? Here are our best designer tips to turn any space into a designer showcase, all on a budget. In this article you’ll find all the ideas and resources to create a modern apartment that is chic AND affordable!

Budget modern apartment makeover

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Decorating on a budget can seem tough, especially when you’re just starting out. Sometimes we think that great style has to be expensive. We are here to show you that it doesn’t have to be. When you know where to shop and how to put it together you can decorate any space on a tiny budget. It’s really so exciting. In this post, we show you how to turn a bare-bones space into a chic & modern apartment that looks like a designer created it. We love to shop the Better Homes & Gardens collection at Walmart because they consistently deliver style, function and affordability. Keep reading to learn how we gave a college living space an impressive face-lift all on a tight budget.

We are honored to be part of The Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart Influencer Network. We love representing a brand that provides quality style at affordable prices. Jodie & I receive compensation for our time and efforts in creating this post. All our opinions are authentically our own, and we hope you enjoy. You can read more inspiring posts where BHG Live Better Influencer Network bloggers gave back to the community this month.

Our Modern Apartment Before

Before and After Makeover

Our Modern Apartment After

Affordable Modern Apartment Makeover

Budget apartment makeover

Bringing Community Together with Decor

This summer Jodie and I are blessed to have my college-age daughter, Bianca, interning with us. It’s a perfect fit because she is a creative writing and journalism major. Not ony is she a talented writer and photographer but like her mom and aunt she loves design. Guess it really does run in the family. We were brainstorming ways to use our design skills to benefit someone or a group that might need our help.

Bianca remembered that up at her college, Western Washington University, there is a university housing lounge that was supposed to be for socializing and gathering. But she said it was so sad. No one ever used it. I asked her why not. She said that it was so bare and uninviting. We both thought, wouldn’t it be awesome to dress it up and create a space that really encouraged socializing. So that’s just what we did.

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Modern Cozy apartment decor makeover

Creating a Chic Modern Apartment With the Help of Our Sponsors

With the help of our sponsors, Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart, we started shopping. We knew we could find chic, stylish decor on a budget to achieve exactly what we envisioned. We would turn a space people wouldn’t use into a place where they didn’t want to leave. Instead of hiding away in their rooms like they normally did, we would create something they would be drawn to, a place to socialize with one another and create new bonds of friendship.

While you can always find Better Homes & Gardens products in Walmart stores, there is an extended and vast assortment of products online at More styles, colors, and sizes are only a click away.

Budget Friendly Decor: DIY Art Feature Wall

DIY Modern wall decor

Add Beauty to Your Modern Apartment with DIY Feature Wall

Just because you don’t have a large budget to indulge in beautiful artwork doesn’t mean you can’t have beautiful walls. This is all you need to create a gorgeous feature wall:

  • 6 Better Homes & Gardens 11 x 14 Black Picture Frames
  • 6 pieces of colored cardstock
  • Metallic Caligraphy pens, gold & silver
  • Stencils of your choice

Depending on your color scheme and style choose your paper background colors, stencils and pens. Our total cost for this wall art project was $80. The best part is that it can be changed up as often as you change your mood and decor. The endless versatility of this wall art makes it a very practical solution for wall decor.

You can have a lot of fun swapping out the colors and what you choose to display. You can arrange the frames in different ways and over the years move them from room to room. Express yourself creatively. Keep it simple or change it up, it’s all up to you.

It literally took Bianca a total of 30 minutes to fill in all the stencils and put the cardstock in the frames. So simple and easy and the result is fabulous. Your very own artwork is now a focal point in your space. Have fun showing off your creative/artistic side (even if you didn’t think you had one).

Make Your Modern Apartment Cozy

Affordable modern makeover

Before this modern apartment felt cold and uninviting. By making a few key changes we were able to transform it on a small budget. We added:

  • curtains
  • small decor items like a tray
  • wall art
  • a rug
  • pillows
  • faux plants
  • lamp

These are not expensive, but they make a space feel and look complete. Not only do they add the necessary details to finish the look they also make a space more enjoyable.

We find all the latest decor trends in the Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart collection, like macrame pillows and pom-pom throws, all for a fraction of what other companies charge.

This rug is one of our absolute favorites. It is such great quality and value that you’ll be tempted to buy more than one.  It literally feels like you’re walking on clouds. The pattern is one of the hottest trends and blends beautifully with almost every decor style.

Another great way to instantly make a space cozier is by lighting a scented candle. It shifts the mood with both aromatherapy as well as adding instant ambiance. We are literally addicted.


Modern budget decor

Layering to Create Coziness in Your Modern Apartment

Modern and sleek doesn’t have to be harsh. Soften the look to make it warm and livable.  We achieved this by adding layers. Here we added a faux fur throw over the coffee table. This does several things:

  1. it adds softness to the modern, somewhat harsh lines of the furniture
  2. creates texture
  3. adds coziness
  4. it breaks up the expanse of dark color of the table
  5. it adds a layer of interest
  6. grounds the basket so it’s not “floating”

Next we used a basket on top of the faux fur throw. This does several things:

  1. adds interest to the table
  2. creates a focal point to the room
  3. repeats the natural basket color and theme
  4. adds texture
  5. creates a frame for the decor inside
  6. grounds the decor items

When decorating think in terms of layers. The more layers the more interesting the look. For example, instead of just setting a candle on a table think about placing the candle on a book on top of a tray on a throw. You get the idea.

The Power of Color in Decor

Modern budget decor

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This room was really sterile, as you saw in the before pictures. All white walls and all black furniture. It was completely uninviting. It was screaming for color. When you have a totally neutral backdrop, like many modern apartments, you can really have fun by incorporating a accent color. Color adds instant life and drama to a room.

We chose turquoise. It’s on trend and somewhat gender neutral. When adding color the general decorating rule of thumb is to add it in at least three places. Usually I like to add a big pop and several smaller accents. Our big color pop is of course the blue curtains on either side of the large, picture window. We were so excited to see the transformation the curtains made. They instantly perfectly framed the breathtaking view of the Bellingham Bay.


Next we added a plush turquoise blanket to the side chair to make it a little more inviting. Blue throw pillows on the couch added comfort and style.  The lamp finishes the last soft pop of blue.


Budget-Friendly Stylish Modern Apartment: It’s All in The Details

modern chic apartment decor

The lamp also from Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart was the perfect choice for this restyle. We love the soft blue of the glass and the textured glass pattern is a beautiful detail. It’s a great size as a versatile table lamp. I also love the wood base that adds natural warmth that the room needs.


Another easy way to add warmth to a space is with the use of baskets. I like to put plants in baskets, use them instead of trays, use them to store occasionally used items such as extra blankets or pillows. Sometimes I just add them for an easy finishing detail.

A space is never complete without some fresh/faux greenery and foliage. We used a fabulous fiddle leaf fig tree in the corner, which brought so much life to the room. Then we sprinkled smaller faux plants on the coffee table, TV console and side table.


A College Community Brought Together

We had grand plans and somehow the finished room turned out even better than any of us even expected.

Kaylen, one of the residents, couldn’t stop raving about the restyled space. “We are so beyond ecstatic about the new living space. It’s stylish and functional and we can’t wait to start using it when everyone comes back from summer break. Before, no one ever wanted to hang out there because it was so bland, but now I know we won’t be able to stay away!”

Bianca says they are already talking about organizing game or movie nights when school starts in September. Who knew a few simple changes could bring a community of college students together again? In today’s technology-crazed society it really is more important than ever. This is early evidence that a refreshed space has the power to not only transform the environment but maybe even the attitudes & habits of the people inhabiting it.

We hope you enjoyed some of our tips and tricks to transform a modern apartment or any space on a budget. Good luck decorating your own spaces. We can’t wait to see what you come up with.

jodie & julie

Interested in more pro decorating tips? Visit some of our reader’s favorites here:

“Hot New Decor Trends & How to Make Them Work”

“How to Make Decor Work for You: Balancing Form & Function”

“8 Easy Ways to Spruce Up Your Home with Pink D茅cor”


Budget Apartment Decor


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How to Decorate a Chic Modern Apartment on a Budget
Article Name
How to Decorate a Chic Modern Apartment on a Budget
Looking for budget-friendly ideas to revamp your apartment? Here are our best designer tips to turn any space into a designer showcase, all on a budget. In this article you'll find all the ideas and resources to create a modern apartment that is chic AND affordable!
Publisher Name
The Design Twins
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  1. Patti says:

    The room looks so pretty! I love what you girls have done, The room is so fresh and welcoming 馃挋
    Walmart is really getting it right with their decor, and choosing The Design Twins as influencers 馃槈

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      You are too sweet! Thank you for the kind comments, it means so much to us! We are so glad you loved this makeover as much ass we did!
      Lots of love,
      Jodie & Julie

  2. thanks Patti says! M7y eyes are still watering!tony clifton taxi

  3. karen says:

    Now it is so inviting! Love the colors you chose, it looks cozy and fun! Hope they are using it now.

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Thank you for the sweet comments! We are so glad you liked this restyling! Yes, they are loving it!
      Lots of love,
      Jodie & Julie

  4. Boho Decors says:

    Amazing combinations of colors it really looks fresh and welcoming

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Well I’m so glad you think so! I’m very pleased. And as always, the prep work is the most important part. This is a life lesson as well. Build a strong foundation for a great result. Thanks for joining us on the blog. Blessings, Julie & Jodie

  5. I love the finishing touches you have made to this room and that rug is beautiful.

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Thank you so much! Love the rug! Actually framing the room with the drapes and rug are the most important elements. The rest of the details is the icing. Glad you found our blog. We hope you come back again soon for more inspiration. All the best, Julie & Jodie

  6. […] Source: How To Decorate A Chic Modern Apartment On A Budget […]

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  11. Gwen says:

    Very refreshIng colors – loved it1

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      We are so glad to hear you enjoyed this post. Thank you friend. Hope to see you on the blog in the future.
      Lots of love,
      Jodie & Julie

  12. Pam says:

    The room really looks great!!! Awesome job!!!

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Thank you so much for this kind comment! You are so sweet. So glad you enjoyed this post.
      Lots of love,
      Jodie & Julie

  13. I love your suggestion to use stencils and metallic paper if we want to create our own wall art to hang in the apartment. I’m going to start looking for an apartment rental soon since I need to find somewhere close to my new job to shorten the commute. Since I don’t have a lot of wall art at the moment, your tips about how to create it on a budget will be really helpful!

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      We’re so glad you loved our inexpensive DIY art project ideas. We loved the way it turned out too. And what a great way to decorate any room. We had a lot of fun getting creative. It’s so easy anyone can do it and feel like an artist 馃檪 Good luck with your apartment decorating. XO ~ Julie & Jodie

  14. It’s interesting to know how rugs can make rooms a lot more appealing to look at. I will keep that in mind when I start looking for pet-friendly luxury apartments soon. I’d like to be able to find one that’s easy enough to redecorate to my liking.

  15. […] a tray; wall art; a rug; pillows; faux plants; lamp. These are not expensive, but they make … How to Decorate a Chic Modern Apartment on a Budget – The … 1. Don’t be Intimidated by Colorful Furniture 路 2. Bring the Outside In 路 3. Opt for […]

  16. […] curtains 路 small decor items like a tray 路 wall art 路 a rug 路 pillows 路 faux plants 路 lamp. How to Decorate a Chic Modern Apartment on a Budget – The … 12 May 2020 鈥 But on a budget. Your studio apartment can look like a picture from an interior […]

  17. Feature walls were the things I really liked reading about from this article. Not only do I have a lot of art I want to hang, but I can also see specific family pictures and memorabilia working for something like that as well. I’ll make sure I prioritize that part of our apartment when I rent one from the area.

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      So glad this article helped you. We hope you continue to read and enjoy our articles. All the best, Julie & Jodie

  18. Tibbetts says:

    The color in the d茅cor is the way to go. Drapes, art, pillows etc.. Not color on the walls. Accent walls are common but not when you are renting.

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Agreed! It’s also a fun opportunity to have fun with all your accessories. Best, Julie

  19. Using layering could be a great way for us to get a headstart on the apartment we’re about to move into. That way, it won’t just look like a random assortment of decorations that are haphazardly put together and could make the place feel a lot more comfortable. I’ll use your ideas when picking out things to decorate the furnished apartment we find in the area.

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