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Budget Room: 3 Renter-Friendly Bedrooms for Your “Adult” Apartment

photo by Tessa Neustadt | from: sara’s bedroom reveal

Hi EHD world, Ryann here again with another installment of our budget series, The Starter Apartment. If you don’t recall, when we last chatted about living and dining room combinations, we discussed some of the ups and downs of adult apartment-ing. I admitted to the internet that I’ve been living for over six months without a dining table in my apartment and expressed my overall adult design questions (of which there are many). Once again, Jess and I teamed up (she pulled the Get the Looks together, and I encouraged in the form of my excitement over styling inspiration) to give you three budget room options, this time for the bedroom.

Now taking into consideration some of the tips we learned from the last post, let’s dive in.

Little known fact about me: I have a special love for bedrooms. I remember when I was in my early teens and full of angst, I would burrow myself in my room for hours on end listening to music, journaling and crying over unrequited love (true story). Coincidentally, at a very young age, I felt strongly my bedroom was my space, and always wanted it to be a real representation of me. There is something about being a teenager that calls for creating a space that feels like you, so I couldn’t help but wonder (à la Carrie Bradshaw), does this get lost as we further ourselves into adulthood??! As someone who is newer to design, learning what works with what is one thing, but creating a space I love has become another, much harder thing. 

You see, what I loved most about my teenage bedroom was that everywhere I looked, I was reminded of the things I was interested in and in turn was constantly inspired. I don’t know what this says about me, but I’ve always needed tangible items in front of me to be able to touch and stare at (creating inspiration boards on my laptop drives me crazy just as reading an ebook is pure misery). I am a very visual person but I need things in front of me IRL.

All that said and being in the thick of styling my bedroom, I am on a quest to incorporate my personality the way I did when I was in my teens. I want to style my bedroom in such a way that when I looked around, I can see myself (I think we all want that, no? in all our homes…you don’t want your rooms to look like just anyone could live there, right?). I absolutely do not want my adult bedroom to be boring and devoid of all things me.

So, what does this mean and why do you care? Well, maybe you don’t care and that is A-okay. But if you are still reading, and if you too are styling your bedroom, I implore you to try and incorporate things you already have and love. These three looks we put together are a good foundation. There’s A LOT to work with here for either a starter apartment or just any home that’s has a budget focus. If you want these bad boys top to bottom, that would make one heck of a styled bedroom, but any chance you get to inject YOUR into a room, take it. Display your favorite books, frame a poem or a photo you took on vacation, throw a special family heirloom on a shelf, put your favorite record up on the wall, shower your place in plants. Let your personality shine. That is my advice to you. Free of charge. 

Alright. Enough about me. Let’s get into the good stuff:

1. Cool Eclectic: $2,534

Emily Henderson Budget Room Starter Apartment Bedroom Cool Eclectic 1

1. Brass Table Lamp | 2. Nightstand with Drawer | 3. Decorative Bowl | 4. Framed Art | 5. Bed | 6. Flushmount | 7. Curtains | 8. Pink Bud Vase | 9. Side Table | 10. Rug | 11. Bookshelf | 12. Ombre Bud Vase | 13. Tray | 14. Ring Dish | 15. Duvet + Pillow Cases | 16. Sheets | 17. Plant | 18. Planter | 19. Dresser | 20. Wood Table Lamp | 21. Mirror | 22. Faux Sherling Pillow | 23. Gray Velvet Pillow | 24. Burgundy Lumbar Pillow | 25. Throw Blanket

If we are judging these strictly by my desire for an exciting, non-boring adult bedroom, this is the clear front runner. Would I have ever contemplated getting a dijon mustard-y colored duvet? No. Do I want one now? ABSOLUTELY. Paired with that rug that I need immediately, I am sold. This room is really making a strong case for mixing colors that I would never have thought to put together. Case in point, I am now putting that burgundy pillow in my cart along with the duvet.

Speaking of things I am learning every day here at EHD, Jess schooled me the other day by telling me that she has replaced light fixtures in every apartment she’s ever rented. WHAT? I was so shocked and thoroughly impressed. Now I can’t help but imagine replacing my hideous circa 1990s chandeliers and ceiling fans with gorgeous lighting, like that flushmount. The only caveat is to make sure you know what you are doing and maybe consult a professional before attempting to mess with electrical units. This is serious adult business. Oh, and be sure to hang on to the original light fixtures (maybe store them under your bed if there’s room?) so you don’t have to leave behind your precious pieces when you turn back in your keys.

Here, Jess addresses a long-debated topic in, I’m sure, many households: do nightstands have to match? Well, depending on what you’re going for, yes…and no. If you’re into a really traditional, refined look, maybe go with a matching set, but in something a little more carefree and eclectic, two different style bedside tables will really drive that point home.

Okay, onto simplified modern, which was maybe my favorite style vibe from the living and dining room post…let’s see how it comes together in a bedroom:

2. Simplified Modern: $1,710

Emily Henderson Budget Room Starter Apartment Bedroom Simplified Modern 1

1. Ring Dish  | 2. Blue Spot Vase | 3. Marble Tray | 4. Mid-Century Block Print | 5. Mid-Century Block Print | 6. Curtains | 7. Sconce | 8. Nightstand | 9. Bed | 10. Rug | 11. Floor Lamp | 12. Vase | 13. Marble Box | 14. Dresser | 15. Birch Wood Hanger | 16. Poster Hanger | 17. Nude Sketch | 18. Laundry Basket | 19. Plant | 20. Planter | 21. Duvet | 22. Stripe Sheet Set | 23. Lumbar Pillow | 24. Waffle Coverlet | 25. Blue Blanket 

We did not include plants in our last budget post (whoops) but in my opinion, an apartment is not complete without them. My favorite place to buy plants is Lowes because they have a massive selection and reasonable prices (great for a serial plant killer like me :/) and The Sill is a close second. I’ve ordered two plants from them so far and can’t say enough about how useful their plant care tips are for someone like me. Plants are my favorite eye candy and I will never give up on trying to be the best plant mom I can be.

Now that we are really getting to know each other, do you ever feel like when you lived without something for so long, you get to a point where you’ve built it up too much and now you are like: who really needs it? No? Well, either way, that is how I feel about bed frames. I honestly have not even considered buying one because so many other things seem so much more important (art, a dresser, a floor lamp, books). But I can’t lie…this bed is special and I guess now I realize why adult humans have them. You win, America. The fact that it’s a platform bed maybe eases my transition and feels SUPER cool kid adult. I dig it. 

I was nervous about how to mix the woods from the bed to the nightstand to the dresser, etc. but the EHD design savvy told me it’s all about tones. The bed and the lamp are both deep, warmer walnut-y tones, while the dresser, art hanger and hook rail (which would be great for jewelry) are softer, blonder. The black nightstands are the great equalizer (or so I’m told).

While I was writing this, I had to ask Arlyn and Jess why there were so many bedding items here…I was like, wait…there are two bedspreads?? Arlyn, who takes her bedding VERY seriously evidently and has reached ultimate bedroom adulthood, informed me that the white one (#24) was a COVERLET, and #21 was a duvet cover. Oh, and #25 is a blanket. SO MANY LAYERS. Here’s the order she says you should put these: sheets, coverlet, duvet/comforter, blanket at the foot of the bed. Sounds like a lot, but, her confidence makes me think she knows what she’s doing here.

And like we have throughout all these rooms, the art above the bed and also in the wood hanger (#17) are printable from Etsy, so you can pick the size that works best for you. Oh, and those sconces are super renter friendly because they are plug-in. You do need to screw them into the walls, but that’s an easy patch job with some spackle upon move out.

3. Neutral Oasis: $1,812

Emily Henderson Budget Room Starter Apartment Bedroom Neutral Oasis 1

1. Sconce | 2. Shelf | 3. Beach Print | 4. Nude Sketch | 5. Oblong Pendant | 6. Curtains | 7. Vase | 8. Marble Box | 9. Nightstand | 10. Bed | 11. Rug | 12. Vase | 13. Round Tray | 14. Tray | 15. Sheet Set | 16. Duvet | 17. Plant | 18. Planter | 19. Dresser 20. Table Lamp | 21. Sham Set | 22. Lumbar Pillow | 23. Throw Blanket

This bedroom gives me all the warm fuzzies. I am inherently drawn to this style and the neutral color palette gives lots of opportunity for personal flair. I want to sprinkle in eclectic vintage vases and objects, tons of books, and maybe even some cool flea market finds (if I can ever drag myself to the flea market early enough).

Last but not least, perhaps the savior and star of starter apartment styling is printable art, like I mentioned earlier. Let’s face it, budget art styling can be rough. Walls that are completely barren are sad, and cheap art is well, cheap. What I love about printable art (there are SO many on Etsy, it is mind-blowing), is that it looks good and you don’t have to sacrifice your taste. You might not have printed art for the rest of your life, but they are a good place holder until you find the piece that really speaks to you, the one that is absolutely worth the splurge. We did a piece a while back with some information on where to get these printed (if you want anything larger than your home printer can handle), so check that out if you’re curious. 

I tip my hat to jess for thinking of that round rug. Honestly, I don’t think I would have ever thought to do that, but it works so well and is a nice surprise. Also, those IKEA nightstands look totally cool and Scandi and a style I think can work as a home evolves.

This bed doesn’t have a headboard, which, for someone without a bed frame currently, isn’t as shocking and less fussy. What do you think about it? Oh, and it’s already been established I love some foliage. Fiddle leaf figs can be a little tricky to care for, but we linked to Home Depot who evidently will let you turn in plants that you tried really hard to keep alive (but didn’t) for another one, so that takes the pressure off. (Though Arlyn has successfully kept one alive and says they just need lots of indirect sun and only need to be watered when the top inch of dirt is dry…she does once a week in the summer and every two weeks in the winter…and says good luck).

And thus concludes another budget room! So, what do you guys think? Do you struggle with bringing your personality into your interior styling or are you all naturals like Emily? Tell me everything.

In case you missed it, check out the starter apartment living and dining room and head over to our Pinterest board for TONS more of our budget picks. xx


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47 thoughts on “Budget Room: 3 Renter-Friendly Bedrooms for Your “Adult” Apartment

  1. Well I woke up in the middle of the night with nothing to do, and lo and behold team EHD is there to rescue me from my boredom! I’d say that I have a fairly easy time now in my early 30’s at making my home feel personal to me even though it is far from done. That’s due to my space being about 50/50 split between new items and vintage finds. I can relate to Ryann though for having no bed frame for far too long, as that was my situation in my first post college apartment. In fact my bed frame that I own now is actually the CB2 frame from the first room design, just in a gold/brass color, and I love it, although it is a bit too low for under the bed storage.

  2. Where’s the vintage? What happened to getting weird? These rooms are pretty, but they are also sorta boring…. and not that different from one another. I don’t say that to be mean, but I wanted to be honest. I’ve read the blog for a long time, but never commented, but I felt compelled to say it as I feel like a lot of the quirk and charm the interiors you used to do have gone away for the most part. I know you want them everyone to be able to buy the things you suggest, but without something personal or vintage the rooms will look pretty, but not very special or interesting (at least to me… and I thought that’s what you guys were about as well)

    1. Did you read the intro? She says that this is a good foundation, but that you should use stuff you already have and love to inject personality. Literally says exactly that. –>

      “I implore you to try and incorporate things you already have and love. These three looks we put together are a good foundation. There’s A LOT to work with here for either a starter apartment or just any home that’s has a budget focus. If you want these bad boys top to bottom, that would make one heck of a styled bedroom, but any chance you get to inject YOUR into a room, take it. Display your favorite books, frame a poem or a photo you took on vacation, throw a special family heirloom on a shelf, put your favorite record up on the wall, shower your place in plants. Let your personality shine. That is my advice to you. Free of charge.”

    2. I think the point of this was a “starter basics” series for people just getting started with furniture….I’m not sure how you would put together a selection of vintage one off items and expect the people who were asking for a budget series to be able to reproduce that…
      I think these posts have been a good base point for people to leap off from and add their own flair and unique accessories.

    3. Hi Nicholas, the reason we don’t include vintage pieces in these roundups is because a vintage item would only be available for one person to buy and we feel that would be frustrating for people who are trying to design their spaces essentially from scratch. The goal is to lay a foundation for your home so you can then add in some personal/unique flair with vintage and thrifted items. In the last budget post ( we included some tips for incorporating vintage into your home and in this intro I also touched on adding personal items/things you love. Hope this helps xx

      1. Wow… your readers really don’t like it when people are critical. I still stand by what I said. I don’t think these rooms have much personality and aren’t that different. Vintage or no vintage. I wasn’t saying that the whole room should be vintage, just that a piece or two could add more personality. And if you thrift vintage is cheap and definitely makes sense for a budget post.

    4. Hi Nicholas,
      It is explained very clearly by them that the looks are for you to build on. Each person will have or find different things to add. Did you read the post before commenting?

  3. This has nothing to do with the post: for the last couple of weeks, the videos on here pop up and are LOUD, and no matter if I pause them or turn the volume off, they just turn back on again in 1 minute (and it’s the ads, so they’re even more annoying). I’ve had to remember to turn my volume to mute before I go to your website. It’s super annoying, and the only one I know that does this. You gotta fix it!!! Ok rant over. Great post today though…I’m digging these starter apartment posts. 🙂

    1. Jamie – Sounds like you need a Mac. And or to switch browsers? You should be able to manage settings so that the video sound doesn’t automatically come on. I use Safari on an iMac so not sure which manages this for me, but I never experience rude in-your-face videos. I still see them, but I decide if I want to also hear them. You don’t have to suffer!!! You can also try an ad blocker, see if that helps at least manage sound.

  4. I love the sconces in the last board, but they’re hard-wired (not plug-in). Any leads on a retro style that looks just like that and is also renter-friendly? It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for!

    1. It says on the Etsy listing: If you would rather have a plug and switch for this lamp just reach out to us.

    2. Hey Jacqui–another blogger I follow has the solution for sconces that are supposed to be hardwired but she avoids this issue! Check out and search for the “magic light trick”, its pretty awesome and renter-friendly!!

  5. Thank you for this article. I live in apartment for years, so this article helps me alot to arrange things in my apartment. Honestly, none of the style on the article are mine. I love something vintage, rustic, traditional. Since I learn the way how you put together, I hope my apartment more organized. Thank you.

  6. Can you please comment more on mixing woods. What are the “rules”?
    What to stay away from? Here, it seems the pairing is more about contrasts: warm wooden bed frame and cooler dresser/art hanger, etc…And thinking about the Portland dining room, I think the message was more about mixing warmer tones- tonal family and similar finishes. Clearly, it’s about creating a certain look- contrasts vs. aligned tones and maybe a calmer, more tonal look, but given that I’m still trying to get my head around this more, can EHD say more about the How To’s with mixing wooden elements ?

  7. Wow wow wow
    So well done!
    So much valuable info.
    I already have my bedroom done, but still gaining so many good links to great, well priced items.
    Buying that h&m laundry bag first!

  8. Urban Outfitters bed is really pretty. I did ‘minimalist no headboard’ for a long time, but in this cold weather, I’m really enjoying having a padded headboard because I can sit up and still stay under blankets while answering emails.

    These are fun, I think the Simplified Modern is my favorite.

  9. Feeling bored with a lot of the posts on here, its all starting to look the same. Neutral, maybe some blue. Give us some color and fun inspirational things!!

  10. Omg I’ve been looking like crazy for a platform bed I can attach a headboard to. Do you know if the 3rd bed from UO can have a headboard attached?

  11. Hi! I am absolutely in love with this series (please keep it coming). I’m a student moving into my first big girl apartment with my girlfriend in June and I am looking to elevate my style, but within a budget of course. I’m OBSESSED with the neutral oasis look. The only thing left to do is convince my girlfriend to go with the neutral look as well.

    However, I am trying to locate the beach print, but each time I click on it it takes me to the sconces link. Please let me know if you can tell me where to get it!


  12. Replacing light fixtures makes such a difference! Although if you dont have any experience with this, definitely have someone who does change it for you. Luckily, my bf is a very handy guy. We just swapped out a tuscan boob light with this schoolhouse flushmount that’s super classic and was only $50 on amazon! The reviews prove that this one is a winner:

    1. Thank you for sharing! I’m seeking a replacement for a 1960s hanging nightmare – picture “bronzed chain with maritime lantern at the end” and you’ve got it. I love this one you found!

  13. My biggest struggle in each apartment has been figuring out how to layout furniture with odd window/door/vent placements. I would love to see layout suggestions for rooms using standard furniture!

  14. Oh man, I wish that Urban Outfitters bed from the Neutral Oasis came in a king…I would have ordered it today! I’m a 10+ year homeowner with more than a starter apartment budget but I’m still loving this series!

  15. Oh man, I wish that Urban Outfitters bed from the Neutral Oasis came in a king…I would have ordered it today! I’m a 10+ year homeowner with more than a starter apartment budget but I’m still loving this series!

    Side note: Ryann, is there a way to make your comments appear in pink like I see Emily’s and others appear? I love to scroll back through the comments and love it when I can easily call out the team’s answers.

    1. Thank you!! We aren’t sure why my comments don’t come up pink (it is very annoying) but we are having our IT person look into it xx

  16. Ha. I never had a room all my own until I moved out by myself. These are o.k. for basics if you’re into a very stripped down modern look. Not really for me, though.

  17. i love!!!!!!!! more bedroom styling please!!! these “budget” rooms are truly my favorite and empower me to make changes to my own place! Thank you!

  18. I have to admit that I was surprised that 84” curtains were recommended in 2 of the designs. That size is too short if they’re hung high & wide like you’ve told us to do.

  19. Question… can you do a wall mounted sconce on one side of a bed and a lamp on the other? Does this look crazy? Our bed sits partially in front of a window and we only have the space for one, but I love the look! I’d love your thoughts!

  20. There are just TOO MANY DAMN ADS on your blog. It is beyond distracting! I know you have to hustle and make money but come on – this is just ridiculous. Can you just keep it a bit more minimal ?!

    1. If you use Chrome, try downloading AdBlocker! It’s a free plug in, and it blocks most of the ads (sorry EHD). It’s life-changing.

    1. No you’re not alone. It’s like they’re always somehow 4-6 inches too short on each side. WHY?? I’ve tried going up a size, but then it looks enormous and sloppy. They might sell oversized duvet inserts (I’m pretty sure this is a thing) that are a few inches larger, but no idea if they sell oversized duvet covers (nothing a Google search can’t help). If you’re handy with a sewing machine, you could always buy a size up and tailor it to the slightly larger comforter but why does it have to be so complicated?? RETAIL COMPANIES HEAR OUR CRY.

  21. Room is one of the favorite places for many people. Apart from being a place to rest, the bedroom can also be used for other activities such as learning and even some people use it as a gathering place for their friends. The bedroom is also a reflection of itself for the room owner. Decorating my own room is one of my favorites.

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