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first apartment

10 Design Tips to Make Your First Apartment Feel Like Home

Meet Alessandra Wood, the Director of Style at Modsy. With a PhD in Design History and an M.A. in the History of Decorative Arts and Design, she is a bona fide design expert. Today, we’re picking her brain on how to decorate your first apartment on a budget! Here are her best tips to help you get started.

So it’s finally happened. You just signed the lease for your first apartment. Congrats! But once you get the keys, the excitement may start to dwindle. What are you going to do with this space? How will you decorate it – and on a budget, no less?

Well, it’s time to flex your decorating muscles and make a space that reflects your style (and doesn’t feel like a college dorm room). Don’t worry – it’s simpler than you think! Use this post as a “first apartment checklist” and you’ll have a space you feel at home in and are proud of in no time.

first apartment1. Size Matters

Make sure your furniture is the appropriate scale for your space. Don’t try to cram a big sectional into a tiny space or fit a tiny futon in a large sitting area. Many furniture brands now have apartment lines, designing sofas at a smaller scale to fit the constraints of an apartment.

For smaller spaces, I also recommend looking for floor lamps that have big design impact but smaller bases – like the one pictured here – so they don’t take up too much floorspace in your room.

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2. Find Furniture that Pulls Double Duty

If you’re in a smaller space, look for dual-purpose furniture to stretch your dollars and maximize your space. Pull-out sofas are a great way to have guests over without worrying about inflating and deflating an air mattress.

And it’s not just sofas that can pull double duty. If you work from home or are working extra hours out of the office, dining areas are an easy solution that can double as a work-station, so you don’t need to worry about cramming a desk into your space.

studio apartment3. Add Sneaky Storage

When it comes to smaller spaces, storage is a must! Only have one closet? No problem. Look for beds that come with built-in storage or that have space underneath to place storage bins. Bring in bookshelves that match your style to keep books and knick knacks organized.

I love finding cool baskets or ottomans with hidden storage for hiding clutter, my dog’s toys, and things you don’t want to put on display.

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first apartment4. Show Some Personality

Bring your personality into the space through art and decor. For your first apartment, don’t worry about spending too much on new prints or expensive mirrors. Instead, consider putting photos of friends and family into new frames and hanging your diploma and other accolades front and center.

And add in any art or decor you’ve collected on trips and travels! Then, sprinkle in a few smaller pieces to round things out – whether it’s a throw pillow with personality, a special print, or a sculptural knick knack that caught your eye.

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5. Beware of Freebies

When you’re on a tight budget, it’s tempting to just take free items from family or Craigslist. But I’d encourage you to be picky with hand-me-downs so your space still feels like a reflection of you. If you can’t afford a new sofa, instead look for new pillows and throws that can freshen up the one you inherited and cover up any wear and tear.

The same goes with other key pieces like bookshelves or coffee tables. A new coat of paint can often make something feel like new – and you can cover any dents or scratches with fresh flowers or small decor pieces.

first apartment6. Layer On The Textiles

Make your space feel lived in with layers. Pile pillows and throws on the sofa for a comfortable feel. Layer rugs to bring in color or texture to the floor. Add a curated gallery wall to bring in pops of color. Mixing different textures and materials will make your space feel designed and well thought-out.

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7. Add Cozy Lighting

Is your space window-less or just feeling kind of drab? Use lighting to make it feel more homey. Combine task, overhead, and table lighting for different intensities. Lamps are also a great way to add some style and personality to your space. And, you can layer in candles for mood lighting, too!

first apartment8. Make Impermanent Changes

Often times landlords aren’t keen on tenants painting walls. But a bad wall color can really negatively impact a space! My favorite (and affordable) way to freshen up a room is to use removable wallpaper. This can add a pop of color and pattern to a room, and showcase your personal style in a bold way. I’d recommend just doing a single wallpapered wall as an accent to your room.

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first apartment9. Add Natural Elements

Bring life into your space through greenery! A boho style – which majors in greenery and natural textures – is perfect for all budget types and design styles. Place plants on shelves, bar carts, or even hang one from the ceiling to add texture everywhere you look.

Plants improve the oxygen quality in your home and add brightness and color to your space. Just make sure you look for plants that are suited for the types of light you get in your apartment. And if you’re afraid of killing your leafy friends, faux succulents and fiddle leaf fig trees are affordable way to get the look without the effort.

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10. Make Smart Investments

If your budget allows, invest in a piece of furniture that can be a statement piece for your space. What do you want to be the topic of conversation when guests enter your home? Is it an inviting velvet sofa for wine and cheese nights? A well-styled bar cart or a luxuriously cozy-looking bed?

My design philosophy is all about investing in one high-quality piece that you can take with you to your next apartment and beyond. And, if you’re really unsure where you’ll be in a few years, pieces like this often have a high resale value so you don’t have to stress about moving it!

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art deco style

Art Deco – Design Movement to Design Trend

art deco styleYou may or may not follow – or be a fan of – trends, but they probably show up in your life (or your Instagram feed) in some way. No matter how you felt about millennial pink, or whether you’re backing the mcm trend (obsession) years later, trends play a role in how we choose to decorate our homes.

Interior design trends, like any trend, evolve organically, and tend to follow patterns. To scope out which trends are on the horizon, the Modsy style team travels every year to the Las Vegas Market. There, they scour the market to find new furniture, retailers, and looks we love for the upcoming season.

Read this Next: 5 Decor Trends to Try This Fall

The trip to Vegas this year gave us an early look at one of the biggest trends for fall 2018. Move over farmhouse chic, because Art Deco is the new trend on the block.

Ready to meet the Art Deco style? Read on to learn more about the design movement that started it all and how to get the look in your home today!

art deco styleArt Deco, a Brief History

If you don’t know what exactly “art deco” is, don’t worry – you’ve likely seen it somewhere before (the lavish interiors of the Great Gatsby, for example). A style that’s all about luxury and drama, Art Deco gives us all that and more, always in an unexpected way.

The Art Deco movement originated in the 1920s and 1930s. Beginning in France, the style paired newly developed materials with luxurious ones – think ivory, mahogany, and shagreen alongside chrome and plate-glass.

With the dawn of Art Deco, furniture and decor moved beyond just function and transformed into sculptures that mimicked architecture. It was all about smooth and streamlined surfaces, vertical lines, and geometric patterns such as zigzags, chevrons, and starbursts.

In the 1930s, the style gained popularity in America as the look was associated more and more with technology and the future. Art Deco artists and architects celebrated the idea of modern life through their use of new materials and emphasis on luxury.

art deco style

art deco style

Art Deco as a Trend

If you follow trends you know that they tend to repeat themselves. As such, it’s not surprising that this isn’t the first time we’ve seen a re-emergence of Art Deco. Most recently, the style enjoyed a revival in the 80s, which involved a lot of black marble and brass.

Both of these elements are now back in fashion, but we’re also seeing new elements unique to 2018.

So what does the Art Deco style look like today? In furniture, we’re seeing a lot pieces with sculptural lines, both curved and geometric. In rugs, wallpaper, and upholstery, geometric patterns echoing some of the great Art Deco designs are plentiful. Rather than whitewashed woods, which were popular with the Farmhouse Chic look, 2018’s Art Deco favors burl woods with their rich, grainy patterns.

art deco styleTry The Art Deco Trend in Your Space

Overall the Art Deco style is all about high contrast and dramatic spaces. If you’re ready to try the trend, look for furniture in rich materials, like velvets, leathers, marbles, and concrete. Finish it off with accents in chrome or brass, and don’t be afraid to incorporate statement pieces with fringe, decorative inlay, or smoked glass.

What Modsy styles make the best match for Art Decor interiors? We’d say Less is More Chic, the Chic Collector, and Industrial Chic will all have a great time with art deco!

 

Want to try some Art Deco style in your room?