It’s so exciting to move into a new place, but the thrill can wear off pretty quickly when the reality of creating an attractive and functional space sets in. The good news is that there is so much you can do to turn your new apartment into a cozy, intimate space for a fraction of the cost you were expecting. Here are 6 designer tips for creating a chic apartment to call home:
Lighting is one of the most effective changes you can make in a rental. Lamps obviously don’t require any structural change, which is why they make great decorative tools for renters. There are so many awesome options available from traditional style to modern and glam. Don’t be afraid to swap out fixtures if the owner allows it.
The apartment can transform in an instant just by swapping out an old brass fixture with a statement chandelier or elegant pendant light – it just depends on your style. Key to great lighting is to layer ambient, task and accent lighting for the most drama. The effect can be startling as you try out different lighting combinations. In fact, the change your lighting can make is as powerful as a fresh coat of paint.
Paint is another change many renters overlook, because it may not be worth the trouble or simply not allowed by the apartment community. However, if asked, many landlords will be happy to indulge your interest and energy in improving your space with paint. Of course, you may be better off with a soft or neutral color that’s easy to paint back when you move. Think shades of white, brown and gray, as these palettes will really pop when accessorized with complementary colors.
Refresh the details around your apartment with new throw pillows and rugs, bedding, shower curtains and bath accessories. You’ll be amazed at how these textiles can pull together the look and feel of your space.
Art comes in many forms, and with most of it being portable, it makes a great way to upgrade the apartment. One of the biggest complaints we hear from new clients is that they never took the time to put anything up on the walls in their previous homes. You don’t have to purchase an original Picasso painting to own a true piece of artwork. Find a friendly and affordable frame shop, go online and search through prints, or browse posters that speak to you. Artwork that speaks to you is the ultimate personalization of your space.
5. Window Treatments
Just like lighting and painting, window treatments are often overlooked by renters. Replace those old mini-blinds with simple curtain panels that hang off an easy-to-install (and remove) curtain rod. Or, if you’re looking for something a bit more tailored, then check out Roman shades. Roman shades are simple and efficient in both aesthetics and operation – plus, the installation is a snap. Simply pull on the cord, and watch the shades draw up into a tiny series of pleats that give off a warm, custom appearance.
6. Fresh Flowers
Flowers are my favorite way to quickly add color and fabulousness to a space. The smell, look and thoughtful details are just magnificent with fresh flowers. My personal saying is, “living in an apartment is no reason to forgo style and comfort.” Check out these house plants and flower combinations to liven up your apartment.
We’d love to hear about the changes you’ve made to your home! Share with us and other renters your ideas in the comment section below.
California-based interior designer Kerrie Kelly writes on lighting, window treatments and other décor for the Home Depot. Kerrie is the author of Home Décor: A Sunset Design Guide.
Photos courtesy of Kerrie Kelly.