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Decor and Design During Quarantine: Tips On How To Save & Decorate

May 19, 2020 Nicole Daliana 5 min read 10 Comments

I’m going to tell you all about how I redecorated my apartment from beginning to end by shopping on a strict budget.

If you like saving money then this is for you.


***This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I may receive a commission if you use them, at no cost to you. I only recommend products I use, love & trust.

I’m a single mom living with my son, and unfortunately, I have no business paying $600+ for some designer accents and ceramic figurines. Shop cheap, but make it look LUXE.

Before I share some of my favorite stores to shop the best deals from, I want to give a little background story as to how I even got into this.

Back in December 2017, I moved into this apartment. It’s a small studio basement apartment in a 2 family house in NY. Now, if you’re from NY or did enough research to want to live here, you know how small these apartments are. They truly give you a run for your money, and this one especially was SUPER old and dusty. I mean they probably haven’t renovated since the 70’s and the walls are all stucko.

Yuck, tacky. I was gagging—but hear me out…

I was pregnant at the time and my mom happens to live in close proximity, so all the extra hands and assistance was necessary at the time. Ideal situation right?

– artwork from @weewaz on Instagram


This apartment was completely out-dated, dull and had a bunch of miscellaneous problems from the start. It made me super upset being home—and I’m a homebody, so for those of you like me, you might identify. I always felt sad and down because the vibe of my apartment was gloomy and dark. It wasn’t ME.

Did You Know? The results of several research studies reveal that rooms with bright light, both natural and artificial, can improve mental health outcomes such as depression, agitation, and sleep.

women sleeping

Read this amazing article on Talk Space for more information on how to improve your mental health by making environmental changes.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t focus on any of that—I had a whole baby to attend to. Do you know how much WORK babies are? Whew. I barely had time to brush my own hair. I never committed any serious time to redecorate and jazz up the place.

spongebob meme
Visual representation of me becoming a mom.

When you see the before and after photos, you’ll really understand how much of a difference these changes made. Keep in mind, all these decisions were cost-effective and done over the span of a few months. There’s no rush!

It wasn’t until losing my job and being on lockdown during a global pandemic that I actually had the TIME and money to really make a difference at home. (Isn’t it crazy this is what the world has come to?)

I wanted to make my apartment feel like both me and CJ had our own space, even though there’s no actual bedroom structure. That’s when I found Kallax. Oh, my sweet beautiful Kallax. You’re probably asking yourself what the hell is that? Kallax is this incredible unit I found at IKEA. You can find it here.

kallax from IKEA

IKEA is a godsend. They have tons of different layouts and sizes of this unit for whatever your specific needs are.

My vision was to have the Kallax serve as a wall separating CJ’s space from mine. Before this unit was installed (thanks to my handy dandy boyfriend) my house felt like a nursery. A big ass crib and Thomas the Tank Engine trains and tracks taking up every square foot. After Kallax, it changed everything. See for yourself:

The best part about this unit was all the empty cubes I could play around and get creative with. You can also choose to add cabinets or drawers according to your preference for as little as like $12. Literally.

This is where I get down to the specifics.

Plants. Plants are a necessity to an aesthetically pleasing set up. I found the cute little ones for close to nothing at Target in their $1 section.

book shelf and plants for decoration

They also have larger plants which is where I bought my other two that you see displayed. They run about $20-30 depending on the size/type of plant and pots.

You can never go wrong with some plants and pretty colored faux flowers to add some color to your home decor and design!

rose bear from target
Rose bear was a gift, grass plant ($20) from Target.

My books were a gift from my son CJ to me (via my boyfriend, he refuses to take credit 🙄) for Mother’s Day. I believe he got them from Barns & Noble. It was a super thoughtful way to add joy to my life since he knew how obsessed I was with decorating my new unit to perfection.

Can you blame me?!

Second most important addition to top notch aesthetics are lights! Lighting is key for so many reasons. It sets the tone and mood for your space, and gives off a very calm/relaxing vibe. I have white Christmas lights (super affordable!) bordered around certain areas of the place to balance it out. This is another great and inexpensive idea to add to your home decor and design!

interior design and decor
Artificial banana tree was only $25 at Target ($20). Standing mirror from Adesso on Amazon ($98).

Remember back when I mentioned the disgusting, tacky stucko walls from the 70’s that I absolutely hated with every fiber in my being? Well thank god for hanging wall tapestries because that was a game changer.

bedroom design for women

I found this absolutely stunning tapestry on Society6 that i fell in love with. (PS: They’re on sale right now for 40% off.) Yes, I’m aware it does look like me, that totally wasn’t intentional lol. I’m just big on manifesting the vibes I want and that image hit the vision spot on. ✨

Check out some of my favorite places to shop for home decor and design on a budget for all sorts of home goodies!

There are so many fun little projects you can set yourself up to do and make your home feel cozy and up to your standards. You don’t have to be “good at that kinda stuff”.

small progress is still progress

I’m no HGTV expert, but I sure as hell did pull off a home makeover all by myself. That just goes to show you how EASY it is for you to do it too!

home design painting

It took a lot of visual efforts and some patience waiting for packages to come in little by little, but now my home is everything I wanted it to be.

I hope you all enjoyed this read! Let me know if you have any questions about specific items I forgot to mention, or need some advice on how to remodel your personal space.

Also, if there are any other amazing and affordable home decor and design sites you’d like to share as well, drop them below! Let’s help each other be great and design the life we love. 🎨



  • Ty May 19, 2020 at 2:42 pm

    I love the progress you’ve made! I can’t wait to see what the final product will be!

  • Patty May 19, 2020 at 2:54 pm

    Omg Niki. This is an amazing start to your new venture. I absolutely loved it and hung on every word! Good job 👏❤️

    • nicoledaliana May 19, 2020 at 2:57 pm

      Lol so glad you liked it, thanks mom ❤️

  • Amanda P May 19, 2020 at 2:59 pm

    Love love love !! So many helpful places! Deff going to check them out 🤗

    • nicoledaliana May 19, 2020 at 3:47 pm

      You won’t be disappointed! ☺️

  • Christine May 20, 2020 at 1:10 am

    Killing the game girlie! Proud of you!!

  • sunriseplayschool May 20, 2020 at 10:56 pm

    Looks great, girl! What a change!

    • nicoledaliana May 20, 2020 at 11:11 pm

      Thank youuu! Such a big difference right 😂

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    Meet Nicole

    Hey Everyone! I’m Nicole, a toddler mom and a lifestyle blogger from NYC. I love to help inspire others to create the best life for ourselves! Check out my blog for some great tips to stay inspired and learn more about beauty, fashion and travel. 💖 Read More

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