Posted Aug 4, 2015
How to Decorate Your First Apartment
Moving out of the dorm or your parent’s house and into your first apartment is one of the most exciting experiences of your young adult life. There are a lot of things to consider during this momentous occasion.
For one, you’ll need to create a monthly budget with your roommates to oversee financial details, which isn’t so fun. But there are some more enjoyable aspects of renting an apartment of your very own for the first time, and one of these is decorating.
However, making a space look great on your own can seem a bit daunting if you aren’t prepared. Also, it’s important to know that decorating an apartment can get expensive if you aren’t careful. Since most renters new to post-college life or the workforce might be living on a budget, you’ll need to know some pointers on how to make your first apartment look great without spending loads of money.
Here are some excellent ways to get started:
Figure Out What Furniture is Going, and What is Staying
When I moved into my first apartment with my roommate after college, there was a lot of mismatched furniture and loads of knick-knacks from years past. If you keep all of this stuff, it can make your apartment look cluttered and crowded quickly, so you’ll need to determine what’s staying and what’s leaving.
For instance, your roommate might have a really nice couch you’ll want to keep around, but you both might agree that your coffee table needs to be donated or tossed. This is usually easy to do with two or three roommates, but it might be tough to part ways with some of your older stuff if you are decorating your first apartment on your own.
Be sure to walk through the decorations and furniture you own and give it all a fair and honest assessment. If something doesn’t work anymore or doesn’t fit your decor esthetic, it’s best to let it go.
One easy way to decorate is to allow certain pieces to pull double duty or have an outlined purpose. You might be doing a lot of moving during those first few years after college, so it’s good to stick with neutrals for your major pieces, such as tables, couches and bedding.
This way, if you have to make several moves, your major furniture will be able to match easily with many layouts and paint colors.
If you have a favorite furniture store or manufacturer, look online for deals and sales– you might even be able to have certain pieces shipped at a low cost, too. Many times, pieces will be marked down significantly during holiday or end-of-season sales, so these are great times to do a quick search.
There are a lot of excellent sites like Amazon, Overstock, and Etsy that also sell plenty of quality furniture both old and new.
If you have some time on the weekend and want to save a few bucks, head to your nearest vintage store. Although a lot of these items have been pre-loved, many of them have been reupholstered, repainted, or repurposed for modern apartments.
Not only is this a cheaper way to decorate your apartment, but vintage pieces also tend to have a lot of character and charm (and vintage is a huge decorating trend right now anyway).
Wall Decals Add Sparkle
Most landlords aren’t going to allow you to paint the walls, which means you might have to get a bit creative with wall decor. While picture frames and posters can definitely be included in your wall decor, decals can also add some abstract design without causing permanent changes to the apartment.
There are many types of style to suit your personal taste, and if it comes time to move, the decals can then be peeled off.
Create Your Own Art
One cheap, fun, and easy way to decorate your first apartment is to get crafty and create your own art.
I was pretty lucky with my first apartment, as my roommate was an art major and loved using some of her past pieces from college as wall decor.
House Plants and Lighting
Two things that can dramatically change your apartment without a lot of effort are house plants and lighting. Just changing out a few lighting fixtures can add a lot of depth to a space (just be sure to get the OK from your landlord) and house plants create pops of color and literally breathe new life into the apartment.
You can even find very affordable (and low maintenance) plants for cheap as well as low-energy, attractive lighting at places like IKEA and Target if you’re on a budget.
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