7 Style Tips for Moving From an Apartment to a House

moving boxes
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Learn how to decorate lots more space, without busting your budget.

Congrats! You're movin' on up -- to a house that's way larger than your apartment. And whether you two are buying this new house or renting it, you likely feel a mix of emotions: excitement at the chance to finally decorate and trepidation about how much everything will cost. Read on for seven ways to make this an affordable -- and fun -- process.


  1. Take an inventory of what you have.

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    Before the moving van even arrives, walk through your current space, clipboard in hand, to make a list of the items you’re keeping and the ones you’ll need. Consider hanging on to your significant other’s family heirlooms. “You will almost always end up keeping things after seeing them in a new light,” advises Sana Keefer, an interior designer in New York City.

  2. Come up with a workable budget.

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    After you’ve done your inventory, set a figure that you can work with. “In the first few months of decorating your new place, allocate at least 40 percent of your disposable income toward decor and furnishings,” Keefer says. “Since your budget is spread out over a longer period of time, you can invest in pieces that you really love.”

  3. Reinvent what you’ve got.

    Photo by Antonis Achilleos / The Nest
    For DIY ways to rehab the furniture you’ve already got, spend time on Pinterest or check out IKEA Hackers for inspiration, suggests Doryn Wallach, an interior designer in New York City who writes the blog I Heart My Room. “With paint, hardware and refinishing, you can find new life for your old pieces,” she says.
  4. Maximize wall color.

    Photo by Antonis Achilleos / The Nest

    White walls can make your space look oh-so-lonely. The rescue: Paint walls a bold color. If you don’t want to paint the entire room, pick one wall. Or roll on some wallpaper. “Wallpaper a small powder room and add some fresh new towels, and you’ve easily transformed that room,” Wallach says.

  5. Save money on rugs.

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    If the large area rug you love is out of your budget, seek out a lower-priced sisal or jute rug and layer a decorative rug on top. “This is a cost-effective way to get your aesthetic favorite and something large to fit the space,” says Lindsay Hair, an interior designer and founder of Linden Blue eDesign in New York City.
  6. Swap out lighting.

    Photo by David A. Land / The Nest

    Your house probably has builder-selected chandeliers and flush mounts. If these don’t match your design aesthetic, visit The Home Depot (or shop online) to find lighting that suits you. “Browse sites such as Circa Lighting and Shades of Light to find interesting chandeliers, sconces and ceiling mounts at reasonable price points that also offer character and visual interest,” Hair suggests.

  7. Add inexpensive accessories to the mix.

    Photo by Quentin Bacon / The Nest

    If you still feel like your house needs some warming up, add a big leafy plant to an empty corner. Buy inexpensive throw pillows for your tired sofa while you save up for a new one. And don’t forget new towels for the many guests who will want to stay in all that extra space you now have.