Settling into a new apartment can be an overwhelming task. This is especially the case if it’s your very own first apartment. You’ve got nothing to put on the shelves, and no basis for your interior design except for the paint on your walls and the colour of your carpet.
There are several things you’re going to have to sort out when you move into your starter apartment. Unless you have a swish penthouse apartment (lucky you if you do), you’ll have to compromise once you move into your new abode. Most apartments have less floor space than houses, which means you’ll have to be choosy about furniture and clever about storage options.
Here are a few handy tricks to nesting your starter apartment, from creating a furniture plan to picking your design and – most importantly of all – selecting your furniture.
Creating your floor plan
Some people might think this is a drag, but we get excited about drafting up floor plans (and it’s certainly less of a hassle than literally dragging your furniture from one position to another to see what works).
In fact, these days the internet has made floor plans a real game – like your own Sims home design you can put into real-life practice. There are plenty of free floor plan programmes you can find online, such as Gliffy.
Of course, some of us are a bit averse to the internet. That’s OK too. There’s a simple way to map your own floor plan – although you’ll be short on time before all the furniture clogs your space. Use either your boxes, towels or newspaper cut-outs to decide where everything will go.
Settling on a design
Choosing a design for your starter apartment is perhaps the most important aspect to decorating your new place. Whatever you pick, you’re going to be stuck with it for a considerable while, so you’ll want to get it right first time.
There is a very simple key to unlocking the right décor style for your apartment: go with what you like.
These days settling on a design you like is easy. You need only traipse through the internet, browsing on Pinterest, Houzz, and other interior design websites to fix on a style that appeals to you. If you’re a real home bug you can create a scrapbook – a virtual one using Pinterest for example, or you can go old-school with newspaper cutouts in an A3 folder.
Your décor preference could be rustic chic or New York elegance, but once you’ve picked your style you can start choosing your furniture.
We do have to issue a word of caution here: it’s all very well for you to adore a certain design style. But if it doesn’t fit with your permanent apartment fittings it’s going to flop.
If you own your pad, it’s relatively easy for you to mix and match styles until you find one that fits. Paint the walls and ceiling, refit the kitchen cupboards, or tear up the carpet to reveal the polished floorboards underneath (at your own risk, of course!). Create styles based on both home features and décor.
But if you’re renting it’s a whole different story. Without being able to tailor the apartment to your favourite style, you’ll have to compromise to make sure whichever design trend you choose fits with the existing décor.
Selecting your furniture
Your furniture is perhaps the thing you can be most flexible within your apartment, but that doesn’t mean you should just pick something willy-nilly. This is the area you really want to invest in since your furniture is probably going to be with you a long time.
Think about how you intend to use each piece of furniture now, but also in the future. It’s all well and good to buy a small square dining table for four, but what happens if you have a growing family or turn enthusiastic dinner host?
And since it’s possible you’ll move out of this apartment and into another at some point in the future, try to get furniture pieces that are malleable to different room designs. Chairs, sofas and ottomans in neutral tones work best. You can then focus on particular décor styles in the accessories you use to adorn your furniture and walls.
Adding the décor
Your décor is where the house truly comes into its own – or your own. Even if you can’t overhaul the brown carpet or linoleum floors, you can add décor to spruce up your space.
Photographs and paintings can personalise your wall space while throws, cushions and large rugs can add colour to your living room. It’s an easy way to spice up a space without spending loads of money which may be wasted should you move and have to start over again.
Clever Storage Tricks
If you’ve moved into an apartment, you’re probably going to have to deal with some space issues. Apartments can be roomy or boxy, but unless you’ve gone for a plush, modern affair you’re probably going to have to get creative with your storage options.
Use all the spaces available to you. That means walls as well as floor space. Use cheap hooks and over-the-door storage racks.
A particularly clever trick for storage is to give your furniture a dual purpose. Fill the space beneath your bed with organised storage boxes. Better yet, purchase a storage bed frame that offers plenty of additional storage space. Choose ottomans and couches that also offer extra room within the frame (or on the other hand are expandable for when you need that extra seating or bed).
And finally, make careful considerations when selecting your commodes and bedside tables. If you’re looking for some compact storage, choose something that has plenty of storage space without taking up too much room, such as this Edgar chest of drawers.
Finally, if you’re heading into your first apartment, you’re probably starting from scratch: that means no towels, no cutlery, no can opener or cheese grater.
Thankfully, instead of scribbling up a long and desperate list of things you need only to realise you forgot the dishwashing liquid, the internet now supplies an array of starter apartment stock lists. We find this one by My First Apartment particularly useful.
Don’t forget that more important than your design and décor, a floor plan, a stock list, or even the furniture and accessories is having fun. This is your first home! It’s yours to truly enjoy.
So our last piece of advice to you once you’ve shifted all the boxes inside is to put up your feet and crack open a bottle of champagne – just don’t forget to include a bottle opener on your starter apartment stock list!
At Brosa we celebrate the starter apartment. This is a big step in your life! So we supply elegant yet practical furniture that’s made to last. Make a mark on your apartment with one of our designer pieces.