Decorating your new apartment can be exciting and daunting. Getting it right doesn’t necessarily mean spending a lot of money or being a professional decorator. It just means avoiding a few common mistakes.
Mistake # 1: Not having (and living within) a budget
As a rule, start with a decorating budget equal to one month’s rent. If you already have furnishings you love, plan to spend less. If you prefer to start with a clean slate and get all new things, then plan for more. Even if your budget is small, you can still have a great looking place. It just means investing slowly over time, or visiting a few garage sales and thrift stores. Whatever your limit is, the most important thing is that you know it and stick to it. Don’t let yourself fall in love with an item that quickly blows your budget, leaving you unable to afford everything else you need.
Mistake #2: Buying only cheap items
If you’re moving into your first apartment or are on a tight budget, you probably want things to be as inexpensive as possible. And while everyone loves getting a deal, don’t ignore quality, especially with big-ticket items. When you purchase things that are low-quality, you’ll be frustrated by their performance and need to replace them sooner. Keep in mind that sometimes getting the best quality for your money means buying used. A vintage kitchen table and chairs you pick up for $100 at a flea market will likely serve you far better than what the same money gets you in a brand-new set.
Mistake #3: Buying all your furniture at once
Even if you’ve taken careful measurements and photos, it can be hard to plan for everything you’ll want in your apartment. While everyone wants to move in with a truckload of furniture and get settled quickly, you often don’t know what you really need until you actually live there. The best thing to do is create a list of the major items you need and purchase them in order of importance. If you desperately need a couch, then get one. But maybe hold off on side chairs or the coffee table. Spend some time living in your place and getting a feel for what’s needed most and where those things should go. Then find the right pieces and buy them as it makes sense for your budget.
It all comes down to having the patience (and creativity) to find the right items, and being careful about when you splurge and when you save. If you can do that, chances are you’ll create a space you love coming home to.