Decorating your first apartment

By Rachel Hartman
Info Guru,

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Donít be afraid to add your own personal touch to your decorations
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Most of us move out of our parents' home with great zeal and enthusiasm, ready to live on our own in a space that truly reflects who we are as an individual. If you are moving from your parents' home into an apartment, that zeal may get a bit squelched as you recognize that decorating your first apartment is going to take some creativity, especially if you are doing so on a tight budget. The key to decorating your first living space is realizing that you can decorate in stages, and that you don't have to do everything all at once.


Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, in her article "The Apartment Cure", states that a living space has a great impact on our attitude and emotions, so taking the time to decorate your first apartment with care and thought is an important first step in defining the kind of lifestyle that you will create as an adult.

Purchasing furniture is the first step you will need to take in decorating. The essential pieces of furniture you will need initially are: a dining set, a sofa, a bed, and a dresser. You will be amazed at how quickly you can learn to live without other pieces of furniture, but these first items are highly important to have if you want your apartment to start feeling like a home, not just a place to hang out.

The best places to shop for these items are consignment shops and second-hand stores. Often, you can find beautiful, one of a kind pieces in these stores at a fraction of the price of retail, but you will need to visit them often and be ready to buy as soon as you see a piece that you like, because good furniture does not last long.

Once you purchase these first items, you can begin to slowly accumulate accent pieces, like end tables and ottomans. Luckily, an apartment is a small space, and so a table or two with a lamp can change the look of your home dramatically, for a relatively small cost.

Artwork for the walls

If you are intimidated by the empty wall space when you look around your apartment, don't fret. Finding eclectic artwork doesn't have to be a pain; you can visit your local art gallery or an online store. Even better, if you are artistic, you may find that decorating your first apartment with your own artwork adds a level of authenticity to your living space that is quite satisfying. Simply find some inexpensive frames, or make your own, and proudly hang your pieces for all of your visitors to enjoy.

Family items?

As you are decorating your first apartment, you may want to start asking your friends and family if they have any furniture or decorative items to contribute. While you want your apartment to be your own, you should not neglect the items that you might receive from others in your life who fondly remember what it was like to first live on their own. Often having a few items from friends and family members will make you feel more at home yourself, and it is okay to ask your parents if they mind if you take your old mattress set, or that old lamp from your room or even that picture hanging in the den.

Don't forget the bathroom

It may be the smallest room in your apartment, but don't forget to add your own personal touches to the bathroom, too. Look for bathroom decorating ideas that will carry through your colors, theme or unique touches. For instance, if you've choosen old movie posters and Hollywood memorabelia for your living room and bedroom, look for a shower curtain featuring Andy Warhol's famous Marilyn Monroe images. Or frame old Playbills for an inexpensive theatrical touch for your bathroom walls.

Decorating your first apartment should be fun, but remember that it will take some time and effort; don't expect to have a fully-furnished home, complete with a guest bedroom within the first week of moving in! Just be content to enjoy a meal and watch a movie in a home that is slowly beginning to become a reflection of who you are and your own personal tastes.

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