Your first apartment is a huge milestone no matter if you’re in college, graduated, or simply moving on to the next portion of your life. For the first time, you can truly establish what kind of space you want to be living in, what kind of decorations you want to be surrounding yourself with, and what kind of atmosphere you want to set for others who enter your place. But along with that, your apartment is also the place you will be returning nearly every day and spending free time. With this in mind, it’s important to establish an apartment that you will truly feel comfortable in. Here are some decorating and life tips and tricks to help you achieve the ultimate apartment hominess without breaking the bank.
- LIVING ROOM
In most cases, the living room is the first thing you see once you walk into an apartment. It’s the place where you will be spending the most time with friends or roommates, and it sets the tone for what you want out of your entire apartment. But, living room furniture is the most expensive stuff you will purchase for your space. Because of this, you want it to be resistant to changes in life and changes in taste, and neutral is the best way to go. Going the extra distance to invest in framed posters or large wall art is an easy way to create a visual point for your eye to go without requiring tons of pieces. And of course, keeping an ample number of pillows and blankets in your family room not only helps with unexpected couch crashers but also is a great way to add alternating pops of color depending on how your tastes change.
While a living room is a great space to entertain and show off your apartment, your room is the space that is yours and only yours. It is your oasis at the end of the day, the place you will fall asleep and wake up to, and a place where you can be secluded to do your work. With all that in mind, you want this space to feel truly relaxing when you walk in (granted you’re not like me and rip the whole place apart looking for an outfit in the morning). Once more, keep the main elements neutral while incorporating pops of color throughout. Also, making sure that you have a nice desk space is crucial. If you have a smaller room, I recommend arranging furniture so that your desk can double as a bedside table. Additionally, if you are looking for more of a bold look that’s relatively inexpensive and non-permanent, check out stick-on wallpaper to create an accent wall.
Bathrooms and kitchens are interesting because they are two areas of the apartment that are more for functional activities rather than social spaces. They also differ in the fact that they have more permanent/non-changeable features which you have to work around than other rooms. These features and fixtures include cabinetry, tile, faucets, and hardware. While this can sometimes feel limiting, there are still plenty of ways to make these rooms 100% you. In both the bathroom and kitchen, cute and colorful mats and towels can help you create the color scheme you want. You can also use organization as a means of expression. Choosing to display pieces that you want to look at outside of cabinets will give you the Insta-worthy bathroom you never imagined. And, incorporating person elements like pictures in unexpected ways, can turn a basic white refrigerator into a work of art.
Last, and traditionally least glamorous, is storage. In your first apartment, space can be tight and hard to come by. You need to maximize every bit of space you can, without making rooms feel crowded, heavy, or quite frankly, ugly. Just like in the kitchen and bathroom, choosing which items to display and which items to store is extremely important. In the words of Marie Kondo, show the items that “spark joy” for you. In my apartment, I have all my shoes displayed on two sets of glass and metal shelving. Not only does this make it easy to make a decision when I’m picking out an outfit in the morning, but I love my shoes and I love being able to see something that makes me happy. If you don’t have a lot of closet space, free-standing coat racks, bed risers, and floating shelves can be a life-saver. Lastly, if you are going to display clothing, taking the small bit of extra effort to have cohesive hangers can pull the entire space together.
In the end, an apartment is a place that is entirely yours (…and your roommates’). In most cases, a first apartment involves other huge life changes and milestones. Aside from simply decorating, take this time to look inside of yourself and ask what you want out of your future living spaces and just your life in general. Because, when you come home to a place that you are proud to call yours, that confidence will transfer to other aspects of your daily life.