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Design Inspo

How to Decorate Your Apartment to Make It Feel Like Home

When moving into a new place it can be easy to get lost in the chaos and deprioritize making it feel like a home. Here are my top tips for creating a space that really feels like you.

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Top things to know about decorating an apartment and making it feel like home:

  • Adding warmth to your space will make it feel homier. You can do this by decorating with throw blankets, warmer tones, and thoughtful accessories.
  • Personal touches, like photographs and mementos, will make your apartment feel meaningful and more like you.
  • Play around with your apartment layout until everything feels just right. Of course, you may not get it right initially, but trial and error are a key part of the design process.
  • Cater to your lifestyle and design with the things you love in mind.

I love interior design and decorating new spaces just as much as the next person, but I have to say—moving into a new apartment in the middle of a pandemic was exhausting and draining. At the time, I wasn't feeling very inspired, and because I had never taken the time to truly hone in on how I wanted my space to look and feel, my new apartment didn't feel like "home" to me.

During the peak of the Instagram vintage seller era, I jumped on pieces that were amazing individually but didn't work cohesively in the end. I'm sure everyone in NYC broke up with a few lamps after coming to a similar realization. As the WFH days went on, I realized that something was missing… my space didn't feel like me. The truth is, I had been sitting on an old couch in my living room (where I spend most of my time), and it was not sparking joy. And that was the exact realization that inspired a refresh! I decided to save up for a new couch and start rearranging my layout. Along the way, I've learned a few helpful decorating tips that helped make my one-bedroom apartment feel like home. Keep on reading for some design inspiration!

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Add some warmth to your space.

Have you ever noticed that cozy, homey spaces feel warm? It's usually due to some very selective accessories and color. Brown and caramel tones can warm a room, as do warmer wood shades. Throw blankets, candles, and lighting can all warm up a space not only visually but emotionally. It will instantly feel warmer. For my space, I chose a caramel brown leather sofa. Because it was such a significant focal point in my living room, I didn't go overboard with the brown tones elsewhere. For instance, adding some warm wood accents or a nice throw blanket will warm up your space with the same effect if you have a cream-colored couch. It's all about balance and working with what you have!

modern warm living room
I love the use of warm tones in this bedroom design—it’s the perfect mix of wood grains and warm colors. Source: Lorie Elrod

Don't forget to add those personal touches at home, and take your time

The concept of "home" is special because it will always be unique to you.

If I'm looking for affordable art, I often DIY something or hang up a framed postcard, greeting card, or souvenir from one of my travels. By doing this, you'll be reminded of a happy memory or person every time you see your decor, and your home will start to feel more personal. I also love thrifting for a good brass or burl frame to hang up personal photographs. Take your time with decorating—this is not a one-stop-shop at Home Goods type of situation! Choosing meaningful and unique pieces takes time, and that's okay.

Play around with the layout in your apartment until it feels just right.

When I moved into my apartment, I realized that my kitchen had a narrow walkway too tight for any bulky furniture. I purchased a small tulip table anyway because it was what I thought I wanted, but it was not suitable for the space. I ended up never using the table because it felt so cramped. After I swapped out the tulip table for a narrow high-top table, things got better, but I had pushed the table up against a wall. I never sat there because I was staring at a wall and felt so closed in and claustrophobic. Most recently, I moved the table outside of my kitchen, where I can work looking out into the living room. I've gotten so much use out of this seating arrangement, and the layout feels right. The third time's a charm! I played around with a floor planner tool to make sure I had the space planning down before moving my furniture, and it was a lifesaver.

living room design interiors
Figuring out your apartment layout, especially in an open-concept space, can be very tricky. It’s important to play around with the layout until you are completely happy with the end result. Source: Evan Helgeson.

Cater to your lifestyle and what's special to you.

Make a little coffee station for yourself if you're a coffee drinker. If you feel depressed without greenery, ensure enough plants in your space. I know it may sound straightforward, but prioritizing what makes you feel good will make your house feel like a home; this also includes doing things to help make your life easier. For example, if you hate doing the dishes, find a cute dish rack to make the process more enjoyable. And if you're unsure what you like or what makes a space feel homey to you, that's okay too. I recommend looking through beautiful images or online feeds to find some inspiration and see what speaks to you. After you've saved 10-15 photos (enough for a mood board), try putting them all together to see if you can find some common trends. Is there a specific color that's calling out to you? Maybe a material? Or a style of couch? Those common trends will be a great starting point for building your cozy home.

Photo Credit: (Left) Hannah Brown

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Date Posted
August 15, 2022
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