I Decorated My Studio Apartment for the Holidays with Just $100


I lived in a studio apartment once.  It was 200 square feet and I shared it WITH my sister. When we’d unfold the futon that we slept on together every single night (ah…youth), our “mattress” touched our stove.

Grace Basala’s cozy, chic studio apartment is nothing like that.

I had seen photos of Grace’s apartment already, so I knew it was well-decorated and incredibly charming. When I asked if she’d be up for the challenge to decorate her apartment for the holidays with $100 or less, she hopped on board immediately. The result? A budget-friendly Christmas sanctuary with all the hygge one could hope for. Keep scrolling for the complete budget breakdown, and get all of Grace’s best tips for decorating your own studio on a serious budget.





How Grace spent the $100…

Michaels Frosted Red Ornaments, $5
Michaels Shiny Red Ornaments, $5
Target Candelabra, $18.99
Home Depot, 3-4’ Scotch Pine Tree, $22
Joann Fabric 4’ x 4’ Burlap Fabric, $5
(2) Trader Joe’s Boxwood Wreaths, $10 each
Home Depot Cedar Garland, $16
Target String Lights, $3


Free / Already Had
Neutral throw pillows
Free tree trimmings from Home Depot
Wrapped presents in craft paper with ribbons on hand
Throw blankets
Small ornaments from last Christmas
Christmas candles
Winter wallflowers





Name: Grace Basala
Age: 21
Location: Chicago, IL
Years Lived In: 6 months
Rent or Own: Rent
Square Footage: 250 sq ft


You have done SUCH an amazing job laying out your cozy studio! How did you find the best way to make your place feel so functional with so little square footage?


Before I moved in, I took measurements and mapped out the layout to make sure the furniture I was bringing from my last place/ordering would a) fit, and b) wouldn’t overwhelm the space. It helps that this is a two room studio because there is a natural division between the kitchen/dining room and the living room/bedroom. I started with the basics and made sure I only bought pieces that were functional first and foremost. And honestly, there’s not much room left after that!



You were decorating with a budget of $100, which goes super quickly! Did you plan out what you wanted to purchase before you went shopping, or did you make decisions on the fly?


I made a wish list beforehand of areas I wanted to decorate and how I wanted to style them, as well as my must-haves, i.e. a tree, lights, and wreaths. From there, I looked for small pieces of decor that would make a big impact, like the bowl of red bulbs for a bright pop of color, or the candelabra on the coffee table that could stand on its own without other decor. So, I had a general sense of what I was looking for beforehand, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t get distracted when I went shopping…











Which purchase made the biggest impact after you brought it into your home?


The tree. It makes all the difference in the living space. I can’t wait to come home and plug in the tree lights — it just warms up the whole place.


What was the biggest tip you learned during this process for decorating seasonally on a budget/in a small space?


Less is more! I didn’t want to clutter the space and have it look overdone, especially since my apartment has minimal decor to begin with. Sticking to a smaller budget prevented me from buying just anything that caught my eye, which, believe me, is my kryptonite. That, and greenery is your best friend. A little goes a long way and it’s super versatile.





What tips would you give for entertaining friends in a tight space?


Embrace the coziness and get creative with seating. And ambiance is everything. I always have candles lit and music on. It doesn’t take much when you’re only working with 200 square feet!


Overall, what’s your favorite thing about celebrating in this home? What are you most grateful for this year?


Being able to enjoy company in a space that I’ve put a lot of time and thought into and seeing others enjoy it as much as I do is really rewarding. I have so much to be grateful for this year, but most of all, my friends and family who have supported me endlessly.









couch, IKEA
coffee table, IKEA
black floor lamp, Target
candelabra, Target
roman blinds, IKEA
coffee table baskets, Target
television baskets, Target
coaster, Bed Bath & Beyond
tv stand, Homegoods (similar) and (similar)
holiday blanket, Homegoods (similar) and (similar)
end tables, Thrifted
table lamps, Thrifted
bed frame, Walmart (similar)
bedding, IKEA
bedside table art, Minted
rug, Crate & Barrel
black and white throw, Target
wine glasses, Target
doormat, Target
kitchen cart, Wayfair
dining room table, old IKEA (similar)
dining chairs, thrifted (similar) and (similar)