038: 5 Tips for Decorating Your First Rental

So you’re moving into your first apartment! You finally have a place to call your own. You can arrange the furniture however you like, and you can get started making all those projects saved on your pin boards! But before you jump in and decorate every last inch of your new place, consider these five tips for creating a space that is both high in style and perfectly you!

Hone In on Your Personal Style

Shabby chic. Modern. Eclectic. Rustic. Traditional. Bohemian. There are so many different styles you can include in your home. Before you go shopping and start filling up your space, spend some time collecting inspiration. Peruse Pinterest, clip pictures from magazines and snap photos of any rooms, styles, displays, fashions and imagery that inspire you. Consider creating a dedicated pin board or make a binder to help tease out the styles and looks you like best. While you can (and should!) include elements from a variety of different styles, it is best to nail down a primary style for your space before you start to fill it!

Pick a Color Palette

Don’t know where to start with color? Check out our color eGuide!

Just as you should try to nail down a predominant style for your space, also use your inspirational images to determine what colors you are drawn to most. Do you find yourself pinning the same color combinations over and over? Do you gravitate toward certain colors in your wardrobe? Do you prefer soft and muted, or high contrast and bold? Don’t stress about solidifying specific colors and combinations. Instead, pick one color to be your predominant color, then two others to be a light and heavy accent. As you shop or collect items for your home, pick items that work within that scheme.

Start with Function

While it may be fun to shop for decorative accessories and throw pillows, start first with large, functional items. Large pieces, such as furniture, bear the weight of the design and style of a space. As such, try to pick larger elements that convey the look and feel you want in your rental. Space is often at a premium in apartment living, so focus primarily on items that are necessary and/or multi-purpose. Once you have added in the solid, functional elements of the room, next layer in smaller items that have more color, personality and flair!

A coffee table is often a “must” for any home! Check out these functional coffee table solutions to determine what will work best in your space!

Shop Around

It may be tempting to walk into a single home store (ahem, IKEA) and leave with everything you need to set up and decorate your apartment. And while this method is certainly efficient, achieving a stylish, well-designed look often requires bringing in items from a variety of sources. Combine high-end and used pieces. Shop new stores, thrift stores, flea markets and yard sales. Incorporate DIY where you can. Don’t rush to fill your home with random, meaningless stuff. With the functional bones of your space in place, take all the time you need to find the items you truly love and feel like you!

Be Mindful of Your Budget

While it is indeed much fun to set up and decorate your first place, remember that this is your very first place. Even with proper research and the best of intentions, your style will most likely evolve, your tastes may change, and it might even take a while to fully settle on a style that truly feels like you. Resist the urge to blow your bank account furnishing your first apartment. There will most likely be other apartments or homes in your future, and you will get a chance to try different looks, colors and styles as you go. Set a realistic budget and stick to it.

Setting up and decorating your first home is a fun and exciting endeavor, but it can also be overwhelming and challenging! Before you start, do some research! Use magazines and the Internet to help you hone in on your preferred style and color palette. Shop a variety of stores for functional items first, then add in decorative elements to tie your style together. By sticking to these easy and fool-proof steps, you’ll be well on your way to a personal and stylish first home!

Credit: For Rent