Moving into a new apartment can be both exhilarating and daunting. The good news is that once you’ve got past all of the stress of the financials and logistics, you can start to think about the best part – how you’re going to decorate. If you’re starting with an entirely blank slate, it can be quite overwhelming. What paint should you use in the hall? Would a three-seater sofa look good in the living room? What size rug would best suit the dining room? The solution is that you don’t have to answer all of these questions at once. Taking a logical step-by-step approach to decorating your apartment will not only make the process easier but decision-making, too.
What colors inspire you?
First of all, you need to find your design inspiration. There are hundreds of design sites and magazines with fantastic ideas – dedicate some time to research and working out what style most appeals to you. Creating a mood board is a great way of collating your ideas and seeing how they will fit together with the various features of your apartment – choosing colors, textures and materials will help put together a ‘look’ for a room.
Depending on your preference, you could create a Pinterest mood board full of ideas, which is easily shareable and easy to add to. Alternatively, you could create a physical board by cutting out pictures from magazines, adding actual textures and fabrics which you like. There is something more ‘real’ about this type of mood board – you can take it out with you or to your new home to see how your ideas fit. And, it’s a creative process which will leave you feeling quite relaxing.
Once you have collected all of your ideas into one place, it’s time to converge and identify any common themes. Are you naturally drawn to minimalist and modern pieces? Do you like many shades of blue? Are you inspired by more of a traditional cozy look?
Affording your new look
After refining your ideas, you should move onto making an inventory of what you currently own, which in other words, is a bit of a reality check. You may find that you have lots of items which fit with the style you’ve identified with, or you may find it just looks like one big shopping list for your apartment. There’s nothing wrong with working towards your style vision over time i.e. moving in and then slowly redecorating over time. There is an argument to say you should ‘settle in’ to your new place for a little while first, before deciding what best suits your home. That may give you time to save up for anything new you need.
Creating harmony at home
It can seem daunting deciding your color scheme, whether you’re moving to a new condo or a luxury apartment. There are lots of practical tips you can use to create a color scheme to ensure all your rooms work in harmony with each other. Start by understanding the overall layout of your new home, and how rooms connect with each other. You should consider which rooms are visible from each other, and most importantly, which is the largest room. Most commonly it tends to be the kitchen or living room. This should be the focal point of your design, and whatever you choose as the design for this room, should resonate with the rest of the apartment.
Begin by choosing your color scheme for this room, and then work on the rooms which are adjacent, and then the rest. If choosing color seems scary, then opt for neutral shades and soft hues. If you’re a little more devil may care, then use a color wheel to understand which colors compliment each other. Certain colors will suit rooms. Let’s take for example the kitchen, which should feel light and airy, so neutrals will always work well. Some colors are most suited to food and cooking and promoting a healthy appetite. Those tend to be earthy shades, or anything nice and bright. Colors to avoid for your kitchen include anything very dark or cold colors such as blues, greens, purples, violets.
Once you’ve nailed your main room, use hues of the same color for the rest of your apartment. It will ensure all of your rooms match and move seamlessly into each other. And if in doubt, go for white. It is a completely blank canvas to show off all of your belongings.
Preparation, preparation, preparation
If you’re moving into a new-build apartment, then there’s a good chance you have to do very little prep. You should still wipe down any walls with a duster to make sure they’re clean before starting to paint. Older properties require a lot more preparation before getting the paint brush out – you might need to do a deep clean on rooms such as the kitchen if there’s grease/dirt to get rid off. There’s also likely to be picture holes or dents which need filling. Make sure you set aside time (and funds) for DIY preparation and planning as it can take longer than you think.
Balancing your furniture with your decor
Believe it or believe it not, there is an ‘art’ to arranging furniture. That would explain why you walk into some rooms and it feels well-organised and welcoming. Other rooms may feel ‘not quite right’ if furniture either doesn’t go or is placed incorrectly. Interior designers apply a number of rules when arranging furniture in a room. A key consideration is balance – a room where furniture is squeezed into one area will make the room look ill-considered. When arranging the furniture in your room, divide the room in half and place furniture equally in each half. Similarly, try and place furniture symmetrically in a room e.g. a bookcase either side of a mantelpiece. For ease of use, make sure that items which get the most use in a room are easy to access.
Good decoration doesn’t just happen by chance – a well-decorated apartment requires some planning and thought in advance. Take your time to get it right, but if you do make any design mistakes, then it’s a great excuse to play around with your interior and try out another look until you’ve created your dream home.