Picture this: You’re a fresh-faced university graduate that has just moved into a new apartment all by yourself (or with your friends!) and you’re ready to tackle life head on! But before you start the work grind, you need to properly settle down in your unfamiliar apartment and make it feel like home. And this is more important than you may think it is.
Wherever you are, you need a comfort space; somewhere you feel safe to relax. This becomes even more important once you become a working adult combatting workday exhaustion, office politics, overtime, and the myriad other responsibilities that come with adulthood. In childhood, this safe space would have been your room in your parents’ house. In college, it may have been your dorm room. And now, it’s this strange starter apartment that has none of the trappings of comfort and is yet to feel like home. But every home started off with bare walls and empty space. And while you may not be making enough dough right now to spruce up the place with eclectic paintings or mahogany bookcases, there are a few simple ways to instantly make your apartment feel cozy.
The Bare Basics
Your color palette can set the mood in your space. To decide what dominant color you want in your apartment, it’s generally a good idea to first decide what you want to feel once you walk in. Cooler colors like blue and light grey can make the space feel very calming and is perfect to wind down after work. Warmer colors like red and yellow, however, can make the space feel more lively and exciting and may be more suited for socialization. Once you’ve decided on your dominant color, mix in one or two accent colors through furniture or decorations to create a sense of dynamism and break up the monotony. But be careful not to use too many accent colors or to pick clashing colors as this can make your space look chaotic and disharmonious.
Once you have your color choices down, the next step is choosing your furniture. Whichever pieces of furniture you choose to go with, try not to over-accessorize. Survey the space that you have to work with, and choose just the right amount of furniture to make the space feel roomy and not cramped. Of course, you’ll want to choose the essentials first like a couch, a bed and something like a TV for entertainment.
If you do get yourself a TV, keep it in the living room. I know the temptation to place the TV right across the bed is real. But apart from cramping up your bedroom, watching TV right before bed is a slippery slope: you never know what sorts of content will pull you in. Using electronics before bed has also widely been proven to affect sleep quality, and as a working adult, you can no longer afford to survive solely on coffee.
The next step in creating a put-together look is choosing blinds or curtains to cover up your windows. You want to be at ease in your own home and be able to experiment; whether this is marathoning the entire star wars franchise in one sitting or creating your own hair regrowth for men potions following a DIY YouTube tutorial. You don’t want your neighbors peeking in at your window unsolicited. And you definitely don’t want sunlight streaming in and waking you up before your alarm does. Curtains or blinds are a must, not only because they protect your privacy, but also because they are aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Just make sure that the blinds or curtains you choose are the correct length for your windows and stretch the entire width. An easy way to color-coordinate your curtains is to simply pick them in the accent color you chose for your space.
But the focal point of your space—the thing that can make or break it—is the lighting. Like all influencers know, lighting is king and fluorescent lighting can make even the most beautiful space look ugly. Opt instead for softer lights that bathe the space in a forgiving luminescence. Yellow light is a good choice to make the space look homelier. If you find that the softer lights strain your eyes too much in certain places, add in additional sources of light such as desktop lamps or floor lamps to brighten up the dim areas.
With the above tips, you can be sure to create a space that ties well together, and produce a relaxing environment where you can comfortably wind down after work. And all you really need to accomplish this is a couple of cans of paint, a beginner’s grasp of color theory, and to make some smart furniture and lighting choices.
And once you have the starter apartment you wanted, make sure to keep it clean! If your place isn’t clean, nothing else you do will make it seem inviting. So do clean your apartment regularly and keep things neat and orderly. And then, once your first paycheck rolls in, you can start sprucing up the place to reflect your unique personality and interests!