Half the fun of moving into a new apartment is decorating your space. But sometimes that can be a challenge. The extra expense of moving can put a crimp on your budget, and the apartment itself might offer some problems – rooms on the smallish side, blah paint jobs or a less-than-stellar view can put your most creative decorating skills to the test. But don’t despair. We’ve got a few simple tricks that will help you spruce up the place without breaking the bank.
First things first. Sketch out a floor plan of your new apartment, and make scale cutouts of your existing furniture. Try out different arrangements and groupings on paper first. That will save your back the aches and pains of moving the real thing around.
Experiment with unusual placements. Don’t just line furniture up around the walls. Angle a sofa in the center of the room or a bed out from an anchor point in the wall. Then place area rugs at completely different angles to create interest and motion in the room. Think about the focal point for each room, and arrange your furniture to complement that. It may be a fireplace or a work of art or an interesting piece of furniture.
One of the most common mistakes that people make when decorating in smaller spaces is to gather smaller pieces. Fewer, larger items can make a small space seem bigger than lots of smaller things. That goes for accessories and art as well as furniture. If you can, paint walls in pale cool colors to help open the space. (Be sure this is allowed by your landlord. Many simply want prior approval or will require you repaint a neutral color when you move.) Mirrors too can give the illusion of more room in your rooms.
Take a look at the furniture and accessories you already have, and try to get a feel for your personal style. Are you traditional, contemporary, shabby chic? Defining your style, and keeping that in mind as you seek out and purchase new pieces, will help retain a sense of unity in the apartment – so that rooms look “together” and whole and not a jumbled collection of odds and ends.
When it’s time to start shopping for some new additions for your new space, don’t let a limited budget get you down. Anyone who’s watched Trading Spaces knows, you can completely transform a room for next to nothing, with a little elbow grease and some creative ingenuity.
Thrift shops and flea markets are veritable treasure troves of shoestring apartment décor. Don’t be put off by a few bumps and scratches. A few coats of high gloss red paint can work miracles! Garage sales are an even better source for next-to-nothing items for your apartment. Start early though. The savvy garage sale crawlers are out at the crack of dawn, snapping up the best buys. Unfinished and ready-to-assemble furniture are also a great economy solution to your decorating needs.
And you don’t have to shell out thousands for original art to adorn your walls. Posters and prints of everything from Renaissance impressionists to Picasso to pop art can be very inexpensively framed.
Moving into a new place is the perfect time to spruce up your look. And with a little work and a lot of thinking outside the box, you’ll transform a new apartment into your dream home.