Design Tips for Your First Apartment

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If the time has come to move into your first apartment, whether by yourself, with roommates, a sibling, or a partner, there’s no doubt a lot on your mind. Apart from practical considerations such as costs, moving day, utility connections, and the like, you also want to design the home nicely. This transition can be daunting, but follow a few tips to get your first place looking lovely, even on a budget.

Consider How You’ll Truly Live in the Space

The first step is understanding how you’ll use the space. Everyone lives differently and has different passions, hobbies, values, and lifestyles. Consider what yours are, as this will help you to appropriately decorate the apartment.

For example, if you work from home, you’ll need a layout that provides you with a dedicated home office or at least a private, tucked away nook to concentrate. If you’re a keen cook and entertainer, you’ll want to prioritize things like a dining table (whether indoors or out), kitchen items, comfortable seating, and more.


If you love spending time gaming or watching Netflix, you’ll need a living room layout that works for a decent-sized TV. People who prefer exercising at home, on the other hand, may want to set up specific space in their new place where they have room for fitness activities.

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Start with the Basics

When moving into your first place, it’s tempting to go all out on a stack of home furnishings to set yourself up. However, don’t rush to get everything purchased and situated ASAP. Each property has its own quirks and pros and cons, but you often don’t work these out until you’ve been living in a place for a while. As such, start with the basics to get you going and then take your time accumulating the rest as you get a better feel for what will and won’t work in each room.

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Know When to Splurge and When to Save

Similarly, don’t feel like you have to splurge on everything or go cheap on everything you put in your new apartment. It’s best to have a mix of quality purchased goods and more low-cost ones. It pays to invest money into items you’ll use a lot and have for a long time. For example, buy a quality natural mattress, a good couch, decent towels and sheets, an energy-efficient fridge, and effective curtains, especially in your bedroom where you want to block light to sleep.


On the other hand, you can save on goods such as crockery, accessories, artworks, coffee tables, dining room chairs or kitchen stools, bedside tables, and so on.

Make Use of Gifts and Great Deals

For your first move out of home, don’t be afraid to accept gifts from family members, friends, and colleagues, too. People love to help those getting their first place to get set up, and many households end up with multiple versions of similar products so people are often happy to streamline their belongings anyway. Also, consider asking for helpful store gift cards when it’s your birthday or at Christmas, as you can use these to buy things you want and need.


Furthermore, keep in mind that you can pick up all sorts of great buys at garage sales, thrift stores, and via online spots such as Gumtree or Buy Swap Sell groups. You can discover interesting, unique pieces this way, too. Plus, keep an eye out for retailers running solid deals at certain times of the year, especially at the end of June, during Black Friday in November, and after Christmas. All of these avenues can help you save a lot of money on setting up your home.

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Photo by Max Vakhtbovych from Pexels

Choose Multifunctional Pieces

Another top tip for new renters and property purchasers is to choose multifunctional pieces, especially if you’re living in a compact apartment. Dual-purpose furniture such as an ottoman or bench that opens up for storage or a coffee table that extends into a desk will give you more bang for your buck.

Some other factors to consider as you design your first apartment include:

  • Making sure you add in enough storage so it’s easy enough to keep everything organized and clean
  • Introduce some greenery to brighten up the space
  • Add window treatments for privacy and to finish off the look of each room
  • Update lighting as needed
  • Bring in some rugs to make rooms feel cozier

All of these steps will help you create a home you love spending time in, without emptying out your bank account too much.