Ideas for Decorating a New Apartment After Moving

You probably have a huge to-do list to make your move into a new apartment as seamless as possible. While getting organized pre-move and figuring out things like whether you’ll be using movers (hint, if you’re moving within NYC and looking for movers, Brooklyn has some excellent moving companies.), your move-in dates/times, etc. you also need to think about what to do once you’re in your new place. Maybe your new apartment is bigger or smaller than the other one. In either case, you need to plan accordingly and figure out what to bring with you and what to leave behind.

Of course, it’s not just the size of your apartment that you should consider. You should also think about what you want your new home to look like. Maybe you’ve outgrown your old decorations and are looking for a more modern and mature look or vice versa. Whatever the case, a new apartment means a fresh start, which makes it much easier for you to decorate your apartment the way you like.

Decorate an apartment when moving to a new city

Moving to a new city is both exhilarating and scary at the same time, especially if that city is New York. If you’re used to larger apartments, you might be shocked by how little space you get for the price you’re paying. Of course, even moving within New York City can lead to drastic differences in the quality and size of your apartment depending on what neighborhood you’re moving to. Regardless of how far you’re moving, you can still look forward to decorating your new space to make it feel like home…with some caveats.

Unless you’re buying your apartment outright, you’ll need to read your rental agreement carefully to make sure you don’t violate any rules and keeps your property damage-free. That also means you will need to be careful when it comes to choosing movers. If you’re moving within New York City, you can find many movers in Brooklyn who will treat your items AND your new and old apartments with care.

In general, most management companies will allow you to paint your walls and even install things like ceiling fans if the apartment doesn’t already have them. For the most part, you should avoid any permanent fixtures in order to maximize your security deposit refund. With that said, sometimes it’s impossible to avoid as you may need extra shelving or hooks for all of your belongings. In that case, contact your management company. Most are understanding and will just tell you to remove the fixtures and fix any holes before you move out. If you paint your walls a different color, you should also be prepared to paint them back to their original color before you move out.

How to make your apartment look modern

If your apartment feels a bit dated, there are ways you can modernize it without breaking the lease. Yes, it might cost extra money, but sometimes it’s worth the extra money to really make your apartment feel like home. Plus, since you can’t really do a full renovation due to lease restrictions, most of these upgrades are relatively affordable and easy to reverse when you move.

So what can you do to give your apartment a modern makeover?

  • Install a new faucet for the kitchen or bathroom.
  • Replace cabinet pulls and knobs.
  • Change your light fixtures.
  • Cover up the floor and tiles.
  • Update your window coverings.
  • Paint your walls a neutral color and add splashes of bolder colors to add life and drama to the room
  • Add some greenery
  • Get a new toilet seat
  • Disguise your fridge with temporary wallpaper
  • Swap out your outlet covers
  • Strip and re-paint your radiators and doors

Make sure to keep the replaced items in a plastic baggie and keep them in a place where you won’t accidentally throw them out. This way, when you move, you can easily put the old items back to the way they were and keep your new items for your next apartment.

How can you decorate your apartment for cheap

While you can definitely rack up quite a bill decorating your new apartment, it doesn’t have to cost you thousands of dollars. Even if you’re starting completely from scratch with new furniture and everything, you can still make your apartment look chic on a budget. The trick is to focus on cohesiveness, color, and, of course, showcasing your personality.

Luckily as a renter, you don’t have to worry about purchasing large appliances like refrigerators, stoves, dishwashers, or washer/dryers. The building will generally furnish you with the first two items and, if you’re lucky, the last two as well. Most apartments do not come with a washer/dryer in-unit and if you have one it could be grounds for eviction. Depending on the management company, you might be able to make some property improvements such as replacing the floors or cabinets, but most will require you to do the labor yourself. If that is not the case, there are still many affordable ways you can dress up your rental space. Try out these tips to infuse your style and personality into your apartment.

  • Add some spice to your floors by using rugs. Not only do they protect your floors, they also add vibrance and warmth to your home.
  • Update your furniture. In New York City you can find amazing pieces of furniture for cheap on Craigslist, at flea markets, or even on the street. If you’re okay with second-hand furniture and slowly accumulating your furniture, you might even be able to get all of your furniture for free. Of course, you don’t want to just take everything. Coordinate the pieces with your apartment and colors.
  • One of the best ways to add color and personality to your apartment is through accessories like throw pillows or pottery. You should keep the number of accessories to a minimum though as a small apartment can soon look cluttered and dirty with too many tchotchkes.

How can you decorate your apartment walls

One of the best and easiest ways to breathe life into your apartment is by taking advantage of your wall space. Regardless of where you move, the first thing you should do is paint your walls. Go for lighter and brighter colors as this will make your apartment feel bigger and airier. Choose a couple of variations of the color you like and then see if you can get a little canister of sample paint for all the colors. What might have looked good under the store lights might not look great on your walls so it’s always good to do a test before you commit to a full paint can.

Once you’ve painted the walls, you don’t have to stop there. A great way to spruce up any room is to put up some artwork on your walls. You can make your own, purchase some from a store, or even just put up some nice colored/textured paper in frames and hang them up. Wall decals are also an inexpensive and non-destructive way to perk up your rooms. You can even add them to furniture and tile to really tie your room together. Other accessories like mirrors can make a room look larger than it actually is. Shelves can also add a nice decorating element to your room as they are functional and can hold important items as well as accessories.

What are cool things to put in your apartment

There are plenty of items you can place around your apartment and what is ‘cool’ for you might not be for someone else. When choosing what to put in your apartment, the rule of thumb is to go with items that match your personal aesthetic. Sure, you can create an album of rooms that inspire you on Pinterest or Instagram, but remember that it is your apartment. With that said, the number one rule when it comes to decorating is that less is more, especially in small New York City apartments. The more stuff you have in your apartment, the more cramped and cluttered it will look.

If you’re still at a loss as to how to decorate your place, here are a few suggestions:

  • LED Tape Lights – You can place these lights under your cupboards, shelves, TV, etc. They’re cheap and easy to remove.
  • Removable coat racks and entry rug – these will keep dirt from tracking into your apartment and keep your outerwear organized
  • Memorabilia or keepsakes – Your apartment should showcase your interests and personality. If you’ve traveled to a lot of countries and have an item from all the places you’ve visited, display them on a shelf. Maybe you’re a baseball card collector – you can have a binder on the coffee table where people can check out your collection.
  • Drink rack/case – These can be boozy in nature or not. The point is to put everything in one place for easier organization. Of course, you can and should deck out this storage area with your favorite beverage of choice.
  • Small appliances – Choose small appliances that you know you’ll use often. Love fresh bread? You can get a bread maker for under $100. Do you drink a lot of smoothies? Invest in a good blender.
  • Smart speakers – not everyone needs these, but if you’re a big tech head, a smart speaker might be right up your alley. You can easily order food, set timers, listen to music, etc. all without lifting a finger.


Getting to decorate your new apartment is one of the upsides of moving to a new apartment. The best part is that it doesn’t need to cost a lot of money if you do it right and are willing to put in a little elbow grease. It’s a great opportunity to flex your personal style. Of course, if you’re living with roommates you’ll need to come to an agreement in terms of decoration in the common areas.

Once you decide to move, it’s up to you to decide what you want to keep from your old apartment and bring to the new one. If you’re moving from Brooklyn to Manhattan or vice versa, you should consider hiring Brooklyn movers to make your transition to a new place seamless. Moving into a new place can be exhilarating and frightening at the same time. Hopefully, the anticipation of making your new apartment your home will outweigh the negatives.