1. Furniture. Check out places like Ikea, Urban Outfitters, local furniture store clearance centers (Copenhagen here in Phoenix has an awesome outlet for contemporary furniture on the west side) and even Overstock.com for staple pieces, such as a sofa, dining table & chairs, nightstands, and bookcases. Since you’re probably stuck with a relatively small space, try finding items that can serve double-duty, like storage ottomans or a low bookcase that can serve as an entertainment center as well as storage for all those books you’ll most likely accumulate. Your desk can serve double-duty as a nightstand. And utilize wall space as much as you can in order to keep the floor space clutter-free. Wall shelves make the perfect spot for books, photos, and accessories.
2. Artwork on the cheap. Purchase several canvases from the local art store (like Michael’s or Joann) and wrap them with inexpensive fabric remnants. Easily changeable depending on your mood! Or try a wall collage of you favorite items to add impact to blank, white walls. Things like hats, musical instruments, or even record album covers will add a nice punch of color and texture.
3. Accessory items. Most of the time, these are a luxury. But you don’t need many to make an impact. A few well placed, key pieces (like an interesting glass vase) will go much farther than numerous unnecessary items that will just add to a cluttered feeling. Places like Pier 1 and Cost Plus are meccas for inexpensive, cool ethnic (and contemporary) accents. Colorful toss pillows on a neutral sofa will add instant impact, and brighten up your space.
And finally, don’t forget to ask your friends and family to “donate” any items that they don’t need, you’ll be surprised at what you actually get!
Check out our post from 6.29.09 for some great decorating ideas for under $20!