We frequently receive emails with questions about moving to New York and living in a big city on a budget. I wrote a few posts the past few months while I was looking for an apartment, and now that Adrianna and I finally have a new camera I plan on posting more on the decorating process. Have to be honest, it’s a little intimidating! There’s a lot to think about when making your new apartment a home, and to me it’s one of the most important parts of the move-in process. If I don’t make my place a welcoming sanctuary from crazy-city life, things get a little nuts.
With a little planning and thought, you can have a dream apartment in a city without headache. Here are a few things to consider:
Be honest about your space - Are you in a little shoebox studio? A strangely arranged railroad style apartment? No kitchen to be had? It’s okay to be honest about your apartment’s flaws. Decor is all about embracing the quirks and bringing out the best in your apartment. Don’t work against what you cannot change. By picking the right sized furniture and complementing colors, your space can feel much larger and more cohesive than it actually is. Which leads to…
Work the assets - This is an easy way to make a big impact in your apartment on the cheap. For me, that’s the sunshine that comes into my bedroom that practically lights up the whole space. I plan on keeping most of my walls white to keep things bright and only adding soft, breezy curtains for night. Maybe your apartment has a faux fireplace or a long wall that can be used for a gallery wall. The easiest way to bring a “homey” feel to your apartment is with properly placed accents, and things like prints from Etsy or a new paint color can be found for little cost.
Figure out what you like – I have to give big credit to Pinterest here. Before the site, I had no idea what my decor taste was. After many years and a LOT of pins, I figured out that I really like mid-century modern designs with a lot of color and modern trends. And yes, I embrace my feminine side with lots of flowers, blues and pinks. Head to Pinterest and just start pinning EVERYTHING that appeals to you. When you’ve gathered 100 or more, look at the elements that are similar in each photo. Maybe it’s soft lighting and candles with a white couch. Maybe you like punches of color in the kitchen. Maybe you see metallics everywhere, including in fabrics. Embrace your taste, and find a way to highlight it in each room with pillows, bed spreads, or fun accessories.
Don’t buy into high prices - Especially on your first few urban apartments, it’s silly to spend too much on furniture and accessories. Chances are you will be moving every couple years, and your furniture may not be able to come with you. I may settle on a piece that I really want (aka “I NEED A GREY COUCH!”), but I’ll look EVERYWHERE to find it. Once I’ve found a price point I can feel good about, I make a purchase, even if it isn’t the exact replica of the Pottery Barn couch I’ve been dreaming of (one day… it will be mine).
I’ll be posting more on the blog about apartment living, tips and tricks. You can check out my apartment inspiration board on Pinterest here.