Make Your Apartment Look Nicer with 10 Strategic Purchases

Have you ever been to a friend or significant other's place and thought that their pad seemed more like a dorm room? I know there is something to be said for frugality in these situations, but there are ways to make your apartment nicer on a budget. most of the time when I encounter said apartments, I think about how the person must be struggling to adult properly and how far a little TLC would go.

The holidays are a perfect time for friends and family to gift you a couple of things to help you class up your apartment.

And since our homes are where we go to rest and recharge, (there's science behind this!) it makes sense to make them nice, right?

If you are a young adult living in your own apartment, this list is for you. If you're not married and haven't had a chance to round out your home via a wedding registry, also for you. And this list is especially perfect for parents who are still nice enough to holiday gift with their adult children but may be stumped about what they need.

So, without further ado, I give you ten holiday gift ideas to class up your apartment and say once and for all, “hey, a functioning adult lives here, damnit.”

10 Ways to Make Your Apartment Look Nicer

    1. Legit artwork in a beautiful frame

      ($12 – $$$, To save on artwork I frame cards from loved ones, order adorable art off Etsy, or have my graphic designer friends make me graphics that I then print on my own dime at Fedex. Saves so much money! Don't skimp on the frames, though. They tie it all together!

    2. Lamps with classy matching lampshades.

      ($25-$150) My favorite lamps are from Pier 1 or Cost Plus World Market when I'm swapping out shades.

    3. Matching Bedding

      ($225, Bonus points for one with a fresh pattern or pop of color to brighten up the “builder beige” that comes in a lot of apartments!

    4. A chic hamper

      ($54, West Elm) Quit throwing your clothes on the floor or in that canvas laundry bag you got during Freshman orientation.

    5. Wall Organization Board

      ($14-$69, Pottery Barn) How are you going to take over the world and make millions of dollars without a command station to help coral your life?

    6. Table Runner 

      ($0-$20, Here's a great DIY!)  It says, “I have dinner parties and get down to business.”

    7. Matching dinnerware

      ($49.95 – $179.95, William Sonoma) I can feel how many burritos you've cooked on that Avenger's plate. Nothing screams “haven't moved on from college” than a person with mismatched dishes. At least get one set. Ikea has great lower cost, super durable options as well.

    8. Cube organizer/book shelf

      ($88, I had one of these in my office and then moved it into a nook in the bathroom and it completely changed the game in that space. These can go ANYWHERE and hold anything. Truly a utility player.

    9. Beautiful office organizers

      ($12-$96, West Elm)  Can be used in your own home or in your office. Having delightful office accessories always made me smile when I worked in a corporate office and they make great “I never would buy that for myself but absolutely adore these” gifts.

    10. Rugs. Rugs. Everywhere.

      I'm still working on getting enough to cover the hardwood floors in my house. Rugs are so expensive!


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Just because you live in an apartment doesn't mean it still has to look like your freshman dorm. Check out these 10 ways to make your apartment nicer (so that you actually WANT to have guests over)!

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  • Michelle
    December 6, 2015 at 10:07 pm

    Umm, am still working on this LOL! I just need my bathroom remodeled because it’s still a hot mess. Great tips Lauren.

  • Taylor Milam
    December 4, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    YES! Still working on making my apartment look like a full-time adult lives there 😉 haha. I’m obsessed with rugs though. They make everything look so put together and cozy. If you have a Ross near you, check it out for rugs! I got a huge, adorable living room rug for $50 at the Ross near me. (Also, TJ Maxx is a lifesaver if you have expensive tastes but don’t want to spend the money. They have a lot of “designer” furniture and home goods that are SEVERELY reduced)

  • Giulia Lombardo
    December 3, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    Love these ideas!!!

    • Lauren Bee
      December 4, 2015 at 9:58 am

      Thank Giulia!

  • Jen @ KeenConsumer
    December 3, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    I love adding rugs and some classy pillows to bring my old furniture to life. It also helps to make my husband get rid of his “action figures” to adultify his space. Haha.

    • Lauren Bee
      December 4, 2015 at 9:57 am

      …or pick their laundry up off the floor 🙂

      • Jen @ KeenConsumer
        December 4, 2015 at 1:54 pm

        That’s for sure not part of our decor! Haha.

  • Cat Alford/ Budget Blonde
    December 2, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    Excellent ideas! These are the things I used to make my first apartment feel like a home too. 🙂

    • Lauren Bee
      December 4, 2015 at 9:57 am

      The nicer the place, the better it feels!

  • Jordann
    December 2, 2015 at 8:15 am

    These are all great ideas! Although I don’t think they are all necessary per say, they are all great gift ideas for young adults. I would add a head board and bed frame to that list. Nothing says university student like a bed on the floor!

    • Lauren Bee
      December 2, 2015 at 9:02 am

      Ever the minimalist 🙂 Yes, and I complete agree with bed frame. Shamefully I’ve been sleeping on just a frame and box spring. Getting my first non hand-me-down bed this week as a Christmas present for myself. So excited!