If you've just graduated and are moving into an apartment for the first time, you know how overwhelming it can be to make your new space feel like home. Maybe you're just getting acquainted with your roommates (and their decorating "tastes"), or perhaps you're stuck with hand-me-downs you're less than crazy about. Perhaps your apartment is a little less clean, organized, and practical than the family home you're so used to. Whatever you're struggling with, we've got all the solutions. Get ready to turn your new apartment into a home you'll love.
Any self-respecting adult should have a dedicated spot to drop their keys, bag, coat, mail, and shoes upon entering their home. Otherwise, these things end up on the floor, on a bed, or on the back of a chair—and that's neither practical nor pretty. May we humbly request a console with some simple catchalls?
Courtesy of Megan Pflug
When shopping for kitchen essentials, think first about what you cook regularly, what you want to learn how to cook, and how you want to entertain. For instance, you don't need a food processor if you favor spaghetti over soups, but you should get a large pot and a strainer. Keep your essentials to a minimum so you can purchase higher-quality items and add to your collection over time.
Courtesy of The New Design Project
We get it. Sofas are a big investment, and they're hard to transfer from one home to the next, so you might be inclined to stick to your hand-me-down or an IKEA basic. But no matter what your sofa is, it should never be the only piece of furniture in the room. Decorate around your sofa with a rug, side tables, pillows, and throws to give your room a layered look.
Whether it's a couple of bar stools at the kitchen counter or an eight-person dining table, you should set up a proper dining space. You can only eat in front of the TV (or worse in your bed) so many times before feeling like a lonely caveman. Sit at a table to feel like a grown-up and entertain your friends on the weekend. You'll appreciate your space much more.
While your flannel sheets from college served you well, those ratty (and Cheetos-stained) blankets have no place in your adult apartment. A crisp set of quality sheets will transform the way you sleep and instantly lift your bedroom. We love white sheets for their simplicity and ease of care. Just dip them in bleach (or ask your dry cleaners to do it) to give them brand-new life.
Courtesy of Grzwinski + Pons
We all know that when you get a proper night's sleep, you're more productive. Therefore, investing in a quality mattress might be the most important purchase you'll make in your first apartment. With the proliferation of direct-to-consumer mattress brands, finding a great one to suit your needs at an attractive price is easier than ever.
Courtesy of Ashe + Leandro
You don't need to be buying Warhols and Basquiats just yet, but investing in a few pieces of artwork that didn't come from a rack at a big-box store will make your space feel more personal and curated. Look out for young up-and-coming artists, and pick prints and photography over original art to save on costs.
Courtesy of Stadshem
If you're just getting started in your career, chances are you'll have to bring you work home with you on a few occasions—that's just how the world works. Instead of hustling away from your bed or sofa, set up a dedicated workspace—it'll make organizing paperwork and taking care of accounting that much easier, too.
Don't just rely on bad overhead lighting installed by your landlord. Invest in a variety of lamps to give your space depth and ambiance. Some companies now offer pendant lights and wall lamps that can be plugged in, so you can install them without an electrician. Always try to invest with lighting with integrated dimmers—you will glow under the soft light.
Storage is the bane of existence of anyone living in tight quarters. If your apartment doesn't have enough closet space, get creative: Clothing racks, dressers, hooks, and even bookshelves can solve all your storage woes. If you're still stuck, it might be time to call Marie Kondo.