(Image credit: Apartment Therapy )

Our friend Genie has a budget of $300 to makeover her living room, dining room, and home office. It's not much money, but we're teaming up with Nicole from Making It Lovely to make it happen. With the help of Nicole's excellent eye, we're hoping to transform this 2-bedroom Chicago apartment by decluttering, rearranging, and scouting for thrift store finds. Click below to see how we started...

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy )

The cheapest way to decorate is to rearrange the furniture you already have. Before, Genie's large-scale pieces were lined up along one wall, which threw the apartment off balance. By rearranging the living room furniture, we were able to create a better flow throughout the entire space. An exposed brick wall was covered up with shelves before. By moving them into another area, we opened up a key feature in the apartment.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy )

We want to create an area that acts as a home office and dining room, but we don't want a lot of clutter crowding the space. We'll need to get some new pieces to hold Genie's office supplies: a console table that will double as both a desk and a buffet, a new dining set, and a credenza that will keep Genie's papers tucked away behind closed doors.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy )

Our first stop was Jubilee Furniture, a warehouse-sized thrift store in Carol Stream. (Store review coming soon!) It was a goldmine of good finds.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy )

We scored a new dinette set ($45), an oversized table lamp for the living room ($30), and a desk chair ($5). With tax, everything came out to about $87! That leaves $213 for the rest of the space. This mod orange lamp helped us choose our accent color.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy )

Nicole even found a new dining room table and chairs for herself! We think it might be a vintage Henredon set.

Next on the list: curtains for the living room, a console table/desk, a credenza, and a few accent pieces. Stay tuned to see if we can bring this space together for under $300...