Finding the right apartment that fits your budget, lifestyle and basic must-have list can be a challenge, but the larger challenge is making that apartment your own once you have it. Why? Because you have the space - you don't own it.
Luckily, personalizing your apartment doesn't have to mean permanent changes. We've created a list of apartment design ideas to make you feel at home while keeping your landlord or building manager happy, too. Put those paintbrushes away - you won't need them.
This most important tip we can give you - and perhaps the most difficult tip to follow - is that it is okay to splurge a bit on these items because they are mobile. You will be able to take these items with you wherever and whenever you choose to move. Trust us; it's worth the investment.
Idea #1: Find Furniture That Speaks to Your Personal Style
Don't fear the neutral color palette of your apartment home. Instead, think of it more as a flexible backdrop that can change as your style does. Feature walls are still very much a current home trend, but you shouldn't feel like your inability to paint the wall an electric blue is denying you from making the space your own. When we say find furniture, we mean furniture. As a rule of thumb, invest in these three items:
- Dining sets
- Lounge chair/sofa
- Coffee table
You'll be amazed how rooms - and even entire apartments - can come together with some carefully selected furniture.
Idea #2: Behold, the Unicorn of Apartment Design - Temporary Wallpaper
We were skeptical when this first hit the shelves, but have seen the pure magic of temporary wallpaper - if you choose a good quality product. Basically, this is aesthetically pleasing contact paper that won't destroy walls while putting it up or removing it. You can use this to cover whole walls, but we like it more for accents: behind the shelves in a glass door cabinet, kitchen cabinet panels and refrigerator wraps - just to name a few.
Idea #3: Window Coverings
No, we don't expect you to hang the lace curtains from Grandma's house, but window coverings are often overlooked when trying to personalize a space. You can find all styles of coverings out there, suitable for both men and women. If you are a movie buff or enjoy online gaming, you can find some nice blackout curtains that are functional and aesthetically pleasing.
Idea #4: Floating Shelves
While painting is probably the number one "no-no" of rentals, putting new holes in the wall is a close second. We admit you'll need to put a few screws in the wall with floating shelves, but that's better than tons of holes in the wall to accommodate all your framed pictures. Instead of hanging them all over your wall, strategically place them on the shelf. You will still get the visual interest without the hassle of adding even more holes to your walls.
Idea #5: Add an Area Rug
Another area you probably won't be able to change in your apartment is the floor - and why would you? New flooring is so expensive and takes a long time to install. Instead of being disappointed with "the largest shelf" in your home, find some area rugs to add to the mix. Even if you have carpet throughout most of your apartment, you can still add some visual interest with an accent rug.
Idea #6: Never Forget the Power of Well-Placed Mirrors
While not quite as magical as temporary wallpaper, mirrors are multi-purpose design items that will literally reflect you and your style. If you are worried about putting more holes in the wall, consider purchasing a full length mirror with a frame that is as simple or ornate as you like, and lean it against a wall instead of mounting it. Mirrors get bonus points for reflecting light and making your space feel bigger, too.
Just because you don't officially own your apartment home doesn't mean you can't feel at home there. When you find an apartment in a location you love, and within your budget, be sure to make the interior accommodate your lifestyle as well! And your landlord or property managers are great resources to refer to if you have questions about what changes can be made.