Living in a small space or a rented home (or a small, rented home) doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your own style and taste when it comes to interior decoration. Decorating your new apartment is one of the great joys of moving in, but plenty of dwellers have committed mistakes without even realizing it. Whether you live in an apartment with a limited space or a rented dwelling, every design decision counts. Before you fill up your new home, make sure to avoid these common blunders:
Buying the wrong kinds of furniture
Unless you’ve taken a lot of photos and a lot of measurements inside your new apartment, you won’t know exactly what you will need until you’ve spent some time living in it. Avoid falling into the temptation of buying all sorts of furniture on one trip– only to find out that you’ve overlooked the size of one room and a piece you planned for it doesn’t fit, or finding out later on that you don’t really need a specific piece you’ve bought. Sometimes, you think you have measured the space out and the dresser you bought fits, but you end up not knowing how exactly are you going to put it in the room so that you can open it conveniently and still have some space to walk in or move.
The perfect pieces are worth the wait, and it’s worth making a trip to check those furniture out in person. Stick to the essentials first, like the bed, couch, dining table, shelves, etc., and then check out the available space so you can assess the right size of coffee table or bedside table to buy, and so forth. It’s noteworthy to mention double duty furniture here – since these pieces offer extra storage or folding to look more compact. Consider buying sofa beds, murphy beds, a small table that folds to the wall, plus ottomans that have storage underneath.
Picking up too big or too small furniture
Furniture that’s too big or too small for the space can make it look off and uncomfortable. One of the biggest mistake of apartment dwellers is messing up the scale of furniture in their space. They either purchase items that are too big, which crowds the space and makes it look too tight, or they buy something too small to be “safe”, which ends up making the room appear smaller than it actually is. For instance, if you have a massive space, you can place a sectional sofa or an overstuffed sofa, but don’t do it in a smaller living room. Don’t place a couple of small club chairs either.
Treating a studio apartment as one room
If you’re renting out a studio apartment, your first instinct might be to treat it as one open room or dividing the space into even smaller spots. However, creating visible zones that separate your sleeping, eating, working and living areas will help maximize your space and maintain your sanity. If the whole space is everything in one, it may get cluttered easily. You can divide the room to delineate spaces, so you don’t have to eat in your bed anymore. You can place dividers like curtains or built-in sliding doors, or place your furniture like shelves or couches strategically to visually divide the room. With planning the right layout, you can pack a lot of utility into a small space.
Being afraid of wall treatments
For renters, your landlord may have given you strict guidelines to not paint the walls as you like. Because of this, most are stuck with boring walls that may not reflect the dweller’s character. But painting is not the only way to add color and pattern to the room. You may use a removable wallpaper, as these things do not pose any risk of harming the current paint on a wall. If you want to learn more about other wall treatments you can try for your apartment, read here.
Incorporating too many patterns
Speaking of patterns, you might be a more of a creative and a risk-taking kind of person and you may fall into the mistake of using too much pattern in one space. There’s nothing wrong with mixing and matching patterns – these are very essential in creating a visually interesting space – but doing so without restrictions can make your home feel chaotic. For instance, if you do have a chevron rug on the floor, you may pick some geometric patterned pillows, but limit the patterns to those that look closer to each other, and make sure you maintain continuity in other parts of the house. The sensible thing to do is to use pattern as an accent only, especially if you live in a very limited space.
Trying to create an accent wall in a studio apartment
Perhaps you’ve seen a lot of design blogs or magazines and they tell you it’s great to have an accent wall in your home. That works great for homes that have more space, but if you’re living in a studio apartment, it will look more pulled together if it’s painted in one color. This way, the flow in your interior looks seamless and clean. If you really want to add something eye-catching to the wall, better yet display art instead of transforming a whole portion of a wall into an accent wall.
Suffering under lack of light
Apartments, especially rentals, are notorious for lacking adequate light source, or having boring light fixtures or overhead eyesores that needs cleaning. Sometimes, a thorough cleaning for a light fixture makes a whole lot of difference, as dust and dirt may accumulate on the fixture and block some light it should be giving out. But if the fixture is totally hideous or boring for your taste, you can swap it out for prettier pendants, and simply remove them and bring it with you when it’s time to move. Always remember that good lighting can set the mood for your home and make it cozier. If lights are inadequate, you can upgrade your ceiling fixture, or simply focus on buying lamps instead. Floor lamps and table lamps are great accessories to consider, since you can bring them with you should you leave your rental home.
Hanging curtains too low
If you place your curtains correctly, it can transform a small room effortlessly. When you hang draperies, try to mount the rods as far up on the wall as they will go. The more closer it is to the ceiling, the better, because it makes an illusion of a taller ceiling. If you’re a renter, consider asking your landlord if he/she will agree to drill a hole and install hooks on the wall to place the curtain rods higher, as future tenants may enjoy the hardware, too. Also, choose curtains that hit the floor. Letting the curtains hang midway down the wall looks unpolished and unfinished. Curtains that hang from ceiling to floors make the windows feel bigger.
Hanging art at wrong heights
There are a lot of people who hang their art or framed photo too high. There’s a pretty easy logic behind this: you hang the art while standing so you install it at standing height. But the problem is, the art is often observed while sitting on your chairs or couches. The observer must comfortable view your art or any framed piece without having to crane his/her neck just to view it. The safest way to hang your art is to put it at 57 inches on center. This means, when you measure from the floor up, the 57 inch mark is where the middle point of your art should lie.
Using rugs that are too small
Rugs can get expensive, so it’s easy to fall on opting for smaller pieces to save money. And a lot of homeowners do this mistake – they purchase theirs too small. Putting these too small rugs in the middle or a room or an area you want to define makes it look weak and floating, and you may be better off to go without a rug. Ideally, the rug should touch all furniture in a room.
A rug should ideally take up 75% of a room’s floor space and placed within a few inches from the wall. If you go with the proper rug size, make sure you also place it correctly. Otherwise, the rug will look odd or out of place. Your furniture should be placed in a manner that some part of it falls within the rug’s parameters.
Overlooking the entryway
Your apartment, no matter how small it is, can still have its own version of curb appeal. The entryway is the first thing people will notice about your home, and they will largely draw conclusions about the rest of your home through your entryway’s decoration (or the lack of it). You may lack the front yard or porch, but you can start with a doormat that’s unique enough to reflect your personality and welcome your guests. Avoid overlooking your entryway, and invest in great coat hangers and shoe racks for your guests. This will add appeal to your home.
Overcrowding the entryway
Speaking of entryways, apartment dwellers have the tendency to overdo “decorating” it by leaving too much personal stuff in there. Make room for useful items and some storage for the guests, and add to your entryway just the right touch of personality.
Everything doesn’t always need to match. This error makes your apartment look like it’s staged or look like something from the pages of a catalog. Yes, there must be consistency with your style, design or color choices, but there’s something charismatic about mixing and matching your beloved pieces to keep it interesting.
Decorating with accents that fall short or having too many knick-knacks
Too few accessories can make your apartment look sparse, but too much of them can make it look cluttered. You may be fond of a lot of things, but this doesn’t mean you need to display them all the time. Keep your other collections hidden while some are displayed, and rotate them seasonally, so it would seem like you’ve got new stuff but you just actually got them out of storage.