Your First Apartment: Decorating Like a Pro

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Your First Apartment: Decorating Like a Pro

Staff Writer · Jan 28, 2011

No one has to know that the place you’re renting is your first apartment decorating project, if you know the basic tricks used by professional interior decorators. It’s important to make your apartment look the best that it can if you plan to invite others into your home, or just for your own comfort and enjoyment. Following some decorating principles and settling on a decorating style can help to make your apartment look as if you hired someone to come in and spruce it up.

Choose a Decorating Style

Your first apartment decorating style can be fancy or simple. It should be one that reflects your personality, and one that you can afford to set up. There are many decorating styles to choose from, but not many are suited for your first apartment. The ones that are include:

  • Minimalist
  • Contemporary
  • Country (French, Italian, Swiss, English)
  • Retro
  • Vintage
  • Japanese
  • Chinese
  • Modern
  • African

Whatever decorating style you use, shop around for bargains at yard sales, thrift stores and furniture clearance centers, and look for sales at department stores.

Window Treatment

One sign that will give you away as a novice decorator, is the absence of window treatment. Do something with the blinds that came with your apartment. Dress them with draperies to match your furniture. Use a valance if it fits with the decorating style you’ve chosen. The benefits of using window curtains go beyond decorating. They can keep the sun out and help to keep the apartment cool. The reverse happens when it gets cold; they can trap the heat inside. If you like blinds, replace any old looking ones and experiment with wood or bamboo blinds. Leaving your windows bare tells the world that this is your first apartment decorating attempt.

Fireplace Mantle

The same is true for your fireplace, in that it should be decorated with a few things. You don’t want an empty looking fireplace mantle. A mirror on the wall directly above it, a clock or framed artwork will help to draw eyes to it. Continue adding a few more things to the mantle itself, such as:

  • Books
  • Candles
  • Pictures
  • Flowers

You should also decorate the floorspace around the fireplace. Use fireplace accessories, even if you don’t have a working fireplace. It gives it an authentic look. Take advantage of the interior space of a non-working fireplace, and add plants or a sculpture to make it look interesting.

First Apartment Decorating Mistakes

You’ll want to avoid making mistakes in your decorating that are easy for people to catch. Many decorating professionals have a list of “don’ts” in their minds when formulating a plan. Knowing what some of those are will help you with your decorating. Three of the top mistakes to avoid are:

  • Don’t repaint the apartment before you buy furniture and draperies, and don’t paint without your landlord’s permission
  • Don’t leave rooms dark; use lamps
  • Don’t hang artwork too high, but keep it at eye level

These are simple mistakes to avoid, but many first time decorators make them.

Have fun with your first apartment decorating attempt, and be creative. With practice, you can make improvements just like a pro.

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