Yay! You’ve got your first apartment, unpacked all the boxes, and are ready to make it your own. That’s one of the most exciting parts of having your own place: decorating it to reflect your personality. It can also be one of the most challenging, though, because there are so many possibilities and so many things to do to make it all come together.
It’s easy to fall into some frustrating traps. Things like buying things you end up disliking later, choosing things that clash or don’t fit in the space, or going over budget before you’ve even gotten close to finishing are all mistakes that naturally occur for most people when decorating their first place (or even their fifteenth place, in some cases).
To make things much easier, we’ve put together a list of some common first apartment decorating mistakes and how you can avoid making them. These issues and their solutions can apply to anyone, whether you’re decorating your first apartment or your umpteenth home. The principles behind them can be applied to any scenario to make a big difference.
First Time Apartment Decorating Mistakes
DECORATING MISTAKE #1
NOT SETTING A DECORATING BUDGET AND STICKING TO IT
SOLUTION: Figure out how much you have to spend and how you want to spend it. This will help immensely because you’ll be able to shop with ease and spread out the money as effectively as possible. Whatever you decide, stick to it. Even if your budget is $0, you can still decorate, you just get a little more creative, which breeds some of the best results anyway.
DECORATING MISTAKE #2
NOT THINKING ABOUT HOW LONG YOU PLAN TO STAY IN YOUR NEW PLACE
SOLUTION: If you’re not going to be there very long, then keep the decorating simple and easy to transfer to the next place. Whatever you buy is going to have to be packed up and moved when you leave. Also, consider if the cost of having to move any new major pieces is worth the investment or if it would be better to buy when you settle into a more permanent place. It’s easier to justify spending more on furniture and decorating if you plan to stay a while.
DECORATING MISTAKE #3
NOT DECIDING ON THE LOOK YOU WANT BEFORE YOU START BUYING OR COLLECTING THINGS FOR YOUR NEW PLACE
SOLUTION: Decide what style you want to go with. Look at pinterest, decorating magazines, and catalogs to get an idea of what you like. Once you have a style or look in mind, it will make shopping much easier and the final result will truly reflect what you love.
DECORATING MISTAKE #4
NOT TAKING MEASUREMENTS OF YOUR NEW PLACE BEFORE YOU BUY ANY FURNITURE
SOLUTION: As they always say, “measure twice, cut once.” The same can be said about furniture. Before you buy something and pay for it to be delivered to your home, make sure it will fit the space and through the door (and if necessary, the hallway). Consider both height and width when measuring these things. And if you need to use an elevator to get to your apartment, measure the height and depth of your elevator, too.
DECORATING MISTAKE #5
NOT ESTABLISHING A FOCAL POINT
SOLUTION: Every room needs a focal point. It’s what draws you into a room and sets the tone for the space. It’s the anchor for the room around which all the furniture should be arranged. Sometimes the focal point is easy to spot, such as a fireplace or a large window with a fabulous view. If your room doesn’t have a focal point, create one by bringing in a large piece of furniture or piece of art. Speaking of large pieces of furniture, that brings us to our next point…
DECORATING MISTAKE #6
NOT PLACING YOUR LARGEST PIECES FIRST
SOLUTION: Whether decorating a room or decorating a tabletop vignette, it always starts with the largest piece. Once you have your largest piece placed in the room, you’ll know what else you have room for. Even if you’re getting furniture cast-offs from family or second-hand items from a thrift store, think about what your largest piece is going to be and where it’s going to go.
DECORATING MISTAKE #7
TRYING TO BUY EVERYTHING AT ONE TIME
SOLUTION: Half the fun of decorating a new apartment is shopping around for everything and then finding just the right piece. It’s like a treasure hunt. Taking your time to find exactly what you want (even on a budget) will ensure that your place is going to be a reflection of your personality and not some boring showroom display. Have fun with it! When you are out and about, always keep your eye open for something special that you love.
Did any of these issues strike close to home? Let us know in the comments which one you relate to most and how you’re inspired to solve it now.