Moving into your first big girl apartment is exciting — and for a good reason! It is your first place to call your very own, whether you are moving on from a shared college living space or your parent’s home. Let’s be real with each other for a second, though. Chances are pretty likely that this first apartment of yours is no penthouse suite. Don’t let your place’s limited square footage and lack of fancy upgrades get you down. There are plenty of ways to work with what you’ve got and make it work for you and reflect your style, all while feeling like home and not a tiny box.
Establish Specific Areas or Rooms
You want your space to be functional and a place that makes it easy for you to do all the things that you want and need to do. Each room (or each of the separate areas you designate if you live in a loft or an apartment with an open floor plan) should have its purpose and be defined. Making this happen in your space will make you more productive and help you to keep your belongings in their proper homes, while overall benefiting the flow of the entire place. Using the following items throughout your home can provide ways to divide up your space as well as serve as fun decor items.
- Rugs: Putting down a rug in each of the areas or rooms that you wish to be defined is an easy way to break up your space and add pops of color or pattern to your apartment.
- Curtains/Tapestries: A curtain or tapestry hung from the ceiling can divide a living area from an eating area (or some variation of that) instantly while still looking neat. Like with rugs, you can choose fun colors and patterns that add some extra style to your space.
- Screens: Just like a curtain or tapestry, you can use a screen to make a design statement that also has a purpose in dividing spaces.
- Shelving: A tall bookshelf strategically placed in a room to divide into two separate spaces looks good AND does double duty by holding some of your stuff on its shelves.
You will never be able to feel fully relaxed at home if you are never able to find what you’re looking for or if you’re things are strewn all over the place. Especially in a small space, it is essential to do what you can to keep the place organized! Work on the organization before the task becomes too overwhelming! Prime areas to focus on include:
- Closets: One of the worst ways to start your day is by not being able to find that black sweater you had your heart set on wearing when you’re already running late. Avoid having to resort to wearing your second favorite sweater (and from merely having a clothes-filled monster on your hands) by taking the time to make and keep your closet organized.
- Kitchen cabinets and drawers: Kitchen drawers are notorious for being demoted to the dreaded “junk drawer.” They say every home has one, but yours can certainly be the exception.
- Bathroom vanity: Although I’ll be the first to tell you that you don’t NEED the 17 different shades of red lipstick you have in your makeup collection, we all know you’re not going to endure the mental anguish it would be to choose which ones to part with. The least you can do is not have them all thrown in an overstuffed drawer along with your curling iron, Q-tips, fragrance samples you got last time you were at the mall, and headbands. Optimize your bathroom space by keeping it organized, and you will end up being able to get ready to leave the apartment even faster and with more peace of mind.
- Under the bed: Do not let the space under your bed become a black hole of random piles of who-even-knows-what! That’s all that needs to be said about that.
Now, for the most exciting part — decorating! This is where you can have fun and let your personality and sense of style shine through. Find ways to make your dull, cookie-cutter apartment look different than all the others. Choose (or create if you’re feeling crafty) things you love to make your apartment feel like home and to show off a bit of your style to all its guests. From the throw pillows on your couch to the wall art you hang to the window treatments you install, to the comforter you use on your bed, go with what you like and will make your apartment feel like it’s distinctively yours.
Your first apartment is a place you’ve been looking forward to having and a place you’ll always look back on as the one that started it all. Make it the way you want it to look and the way that will best work for you!