Small home living is on the rise as homeowners are living more sustainable lives and moving into overpopulated cities. What is your advice to the first time apartment home renter for making their small apartment feel like home?
– People who want to make their space feel like home, whether they own or rent, should treat it as if they plan to live there long-term. If you think it is a temporary situation then it will feel temporary to you and the people who visit you. Move in! Make it a home with personal effects, a colorful rug, spaces that are used in the way you live.
– When I lived alone in my first apartment in Dallas, I filled an entire wall with framed black and white photos of various sizes that were special to me. It was a simple and inexpensive way to make the space feel like me. Put holes in the wall, paint…fill it as if you have the title to it!
Your background at Grace Home Design is from a contemporary and colorful Western background from Jackson Hole, Wyoming area. What are your suggestions for apartment renters to bring the local flavor of their location into their home decor?
– I think of artwork when I’m asked about local flavor. What feels local to you may not be to the next guy, so it’s personal! In Jackson Hole, people often grab taxidermy, a photo of the Tetons or realistic wildlife art and call it local flavor. My local flavor isn’t any of these things. For me, it’s a favorite t-shirt worn on hundreds of hikes in the Tetons or the Farmer’s Market every Saturday in the summer. Experiencing local things and what pulls you to the place will translate into your home.
Apartments often will not let you change any permanent physical qualities to the apartment. Do you have suggestions for temporary decor fixes that will still liven up their space?
– Colorful rugs with bold patterns, artwork, a vintage chair with a lively pillow…moveable pieces, but signature pieces that will pull your eye away from the vanilla finishes of an apartment toward the flavor that’s all you.
What is your favorite accessory to use in small home decorating?
– Rugs! I love Madeleine Weinrib Atelier @ ABC Carpet and Home. They are my go to for killer pattern and saturated color. Can take a simply decorated room and totally transform with a signature floor covering.
At Grace Home Designs you strive to create “Interior designs that are completely livable and geared to make residents and their guest feel comfortable and welcome.” How can apartment renters make their home welcoming to guests?
– Fill your refrigerator with food, buy flowers from the farmers market, stock the bar, turn on accent lighting! Even if you can’t spend a lot of money on furnishings, bring the space alive by living in it and entertaining in it. If you do invest in furniture and accessories, go for comfort. Sit in the chairs and sofas before you commit. Mix your styles and play with color & pattern combinations. I think of dressing a home like I dress myself. Layers and it’s got to feel good on my body, otherwise I won’t wear it. The home is no different.
On your blog you have great tips for decorating your home! One of your posts “Lighting the Way” is wonderful. How can apartment renters use lighting as design elements?
– Lighting is the most important thing I do in my design work. Sadly, it tends to be the first thing people value engineer out of the space but it’s the thing they miss the most when it’s not done thoughtfully. So, I do not budge on my lighting plans. Often track lighting or cans are used in the social spaces of an apartment. Layer the basic overhead light with table and floor lamps, clip on art spots or wall mount a plug in light! The same goes for bedrooms. Often lights aren’t put in bedrooms at all, which drives me crazy. Add lights for reading, getting dressed, chilling out…set the mood and think about what you do in each space. Layer, layer, layer.
Children’s rooms in small apartments can be a challenge to decorate. What organization tips do you have for small bedrooms, especially for the kids?
– Bookshelves no taller than what your child can reach (otherwise, they won’t use it and definitely won’t clean-up!). Shelving system will accommodate all of the different things your kids are into…divide into sections, and use bins that your child can see into (I love metal mesh bins or woven baskets). Hooks are great for costumes, hats, hanging Barbie…whatever…another way to get things off the floor.
When decorating in a small apartment, multi-functional furniture is a must! What key furniture pieces do you suggest for apartment owners on a budget but still need multi-functional flexibility?
–I am a big fan of big dining tables that invite dinner conversation and double as a work space. Try a reclaimed farm table with a Ghost chair and sheepskin rug thrown over it. Classic, relevant and crazy comfortable.
We love when small apartment renters are creative with color. What suggestions do you have for bringing color into small spaces?
– Experiment with painting two tones, like a wainscot in a bright color (just did a hot pink in my guest bedroom) with white to keep it crisp. Another fun technique is to paint the ceiling but come down the wall 1-2’ based on your ceiling height. Totally transforms the room.
Homedit would love to know what you think about our site? We’re always trying to help the small home owner!
– So cool! I love the fresh images and tips!