Many apartment-dwellers struggle with transitioning the empty canvas of a new apartment into a space that expresses their own unique style. To help get you started, we’ve narrowed things down to a few easy elements that—when chosen as reflections of your own style and taste—will help give your apartment some of your own, special and unique personality.
Pillows. Whether placed individually or piled on a bed, sofa or chair, pillows can totally change the personality of a room. They can take a space from ordinary to extraordinary in seconds flat by adding color, texture, shape, dimension and style; and they can be mixed and matched eclectically or selected to fit a specific theme. And they aren’t just for bedrooms and living rooms … try placing a pillow on each dining room chair or creating inviting stacks of cushions in a corner.
Throws. Like pillows, one or several throws can lend color and texture to a space in addition to adding warmth (perceived and practical). Let them overflow from a large basket, hang over a sofa or chair, or stack them neatly folded on a shelf. Again, like pillows, you can mix and match colors and textures to compliment or contrast with the other décor elements in the space.
Candles. Candles are great ways to lend both scent and light to your space, whether placed individually or in groups; and everyone knows that a lit candle automatically makes a space warmer, softer, cozier and yes—more romantic. It goes without saying that candles should always be used responsibly and never left unattended; and if your apartment community discourages real candles, try LED candles made of real wax. Chose containers and bases (candlesticks, pedestals, jars, etc.) that suit your own personal taste and style.
Display bowls. A big, beautiful bowl placed on a coffee table, dining room table or bedside table is an easy way to add style, color and dimension to the space. Whether placed alone to speak for itself, or to serve as a container for other interesting pieces, a bowl is an instant, easy and readily available art piece that doesn’t require a great deal of thought.
Art. What hangs on your walls is as much a reflection of your personal style as what goes within those walls—and some people will argue, even more so. The famous decorator, William Morris once said “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” That’s a great rule for choosing art. You’re the one living with it, so make sure you believe it to be beautiful … if you do, then it will serve as an accurate reflection of who you are.
Mirrors. So many people knock themselves out choosing a focal art piece for their living room or bedroom when a mirror is really the better choice. Mirrors have the added benefit of visually expanding a space, which is a huge bonus when it comes to decorating small apartments; and they also multiple light, and reflect the rest of the décor elements in the room to multiply their impact. Often the only tough considerations when it comes to choosing a mirror are shape, size and frame style; so they’re not just the more practical option … they’re the easier one, too!
Lamps. Lamps are among the most practical items you’ll place within your walls; and because they come in so many shapes, styles and sizes, they’re also among the most practical pieces of artifice you’ll choose. It’s important to note that you can spend ridiculous amounts of money on lamps precisely because so many decorators will unabashedly call them fine art pieces—and it’s equally important to note that discount home décor stores, as well as your friendly neighborhood thrift store, are stuffed with the things. Before you invest your life savings in lighting, hit the discount stores. Your favorite lamp will probably be the one you might have paid $500 for … except that you found it at HomeGoods for $24.95. Tip: don’t skimp on the shade … it’s at least as important as what sits under it. You’ll find a wealth of those in the discount store aisles, too.
Bedding. This one’s kind of a no-brainer because everyone knows that bedding comes in every color, texture and pattern imaginable. Unfortunately, choosing bedding is a lot like trying to find something good to watch on a 500-channel cable-ready TV … you’ll browse a million options before you settle on one that you love. We recommend that you don’t go into shopping mode with a particular color and style in mind. Instead, stay open to what moves you and speaks to your personal style; and then determine if that special something will, indeed, work with your furniture and the rest of what’s in your space.
Last but not least—choose your shower curtain wisely. It sounds kind of inconsequential, until you realize it’s going to be the most visible thing in one of the most visible and highly-trafficked rooms in your home, telling everyone a little bit about who you are … whether you’re a stylish, coordinated print fabric curtain kind of person; a solid-color minimalist; a clear plastic exhibitionist; or a something else entirely (my first apartment’s bathroom showcased a giant, cartoon Mona Lisa). For that reason, the choice of a shower curtain as a mode of personal expression should never be underestimated. That one key choice often dictates the color and style of the rest of your bathroom linens and accessories, so take the time to make that bigger choice a perfect one before moving on to the smaller ones that will follow.
Whatever you choose, remember that your apartment will feel much more like home when you decorate it with things that make it look and feel like YOU!