Updated: Jan 19
The Best Tips for the First-Time Renter
Congratulations on your first apartment! It’s time to start decorating!
And while I know there are bills to pay and you have to work smart, there are simple yet attractive ways of decorating your very first apartment on a budget.
Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at the top ideas for decorating your new apartment.
Heard of Multi-Use Furniture? It’s a Great Addition to Any Apartment on a Decorating Budget
Multi-use furniture is just that! It can include a combination of a dresser and a mirror, an ottoman with legs as a chair and storage space, or a bed with pull-out storage in the base. You can find many items online at affordable prices. You can also save by looking at used furniture stores.
What is Flat-Pack or Ready-to-Assemble Furniture?
For any first-time renter of a small apartment, the flat pack or ready-to-assemble range is the way to go.
Flat-Pack furniture is available in wood, chipboard, and fiberboard. It is one of the least expensive ways to decorate an apartment while taking up less space. This makes it the perfect choice for the small apartment while shopping for furniture on a budget.
These items do not come fully assembled. When you purchase a bookshelf for example, you receive the boards, the fixtures, and the accessories that you are required to put together. It is a bit of a DIY task, but well worth the effort once your fully assembled shelf, bed, or desk is ready for use.
Ready-to-assemble furniture is also ideal for first-time renter who doesn’t want to spend too much on furnishing the apartment. It is available in different styles, colors, sizes, and finishes to complement every theme or color scheme.
Bring Plants In
If you’re an avid gardener or wish to get started on planting your own greens, there is no better time than in your first rental! If you have a balcony, all the better to decorate with some lush green plants that add freshness and positive energy to the space.
A popular apartment decorating tip is to purchase pot plants or containers and to grow your herbs or vegetables. There is certainly nothing better than adding a few sprigs of fresh celery and mint to your salad from your home-grown garden!
If you don’t have green fingers but still want the appeal of apartment greens, then artificial plants including cactus and broad-leafed plants will provide the exotic look and feel without the maintenance!
Let’s Take a Look at Used-Furniture
If you have never considered used or thrift furniture, I recommend considering taking another look. For budget-friendly purchases, you can find a variety of styles and at a fraction of the cost of furniture, you will find online or at a local store.
With some research and careful furniture selections, you can invest in some solid pieces that would last a lifetime. Many of these items simply need a makeover. A fresh coat of paint reupholstered material and a good sanding can bring many styles of furniture to life.
Giving thrift furniture a good clean and look could create an impressive conversational piece when you invite guests over!
The Sofa or the Pillows?
An important part of apartment decorating is choosing the right sofa. You could have a really tough time choosing a sofa for your first apartment. Do you invest in leather uppers (which could really break your bank) but it would last for many years, or do you purchase a fabric sofa that is less expensive?
The sofa you choose all depends on the price and the style. L-shaped sofas can create a comfy space while single chairs could appear cumbersome in a small living area. My advice is to purchase what you can afford and to decorate with scatter cushions. Bring color in with cushions and throws.
You can also find more DIY decorating ideas for a small apartment by visiting: affordable-diy-tips-to-make-your-small-apartment-look-amazing.
Create a Beautiful and Modern Entryway
The easiest way to make your new apartment look modern and attractive is to create a neat entryway. A clothes hanger, storage boxes, and a contemporary rug are simple and affordable ways to create a positive impression the moment you walk through the door.
Keep the clutter to a minimum. You don’t want to feel overwhelmed and overloaded the first time you walk through the door. Your new space should be light, airy, and spacious so you can freely express yourself, relax, and feel safe.
Makeover Your Kitchen
You can easily give your kitchen a makeover without a stitch of paint or adding fixtures. Introduce storage canisters that keep your countertops neatly organized. You can also use something like a portable wine rack to organize your spices, dishcloths, and similar items.
A kitchen can feel modern when you know how to keep your cooking utensils and groceries neatly organized.
Hang a Shelf within a Shelf!
Did you know that you can purchase slide-in or clip-on shelves that you can place in a kitchen cabinet? These features do not require fixtures and you can take it with you should you move at the end of your lease term. It creates more storage and helps you keep things off the counter and packed away.
Use Your Bed for Storage
If your bed is propped up and you have a cavity, you can use this to store goods. You can easily purchase a pull-out shelf you can place under the bed. This will help you manage your valuables and ensure that it is always within reach.
Accessorize Your Bedroom
The bedroom is a space where you can unwind. With scatter cushions, decorative features that you love, and the smart use of furniture for storage, your bedroom can become a modern oasis.
Avoid Fixtures in Your Apartment
If you have moved into a first-time apartment, you may want to add shelves, change the color of the walls, or hang some interesting artwork. I don’t recommend any fixtures that include knocking into walls or repainting unless it’s approved by your landlord and in your lease.
First-time renters should maintain the original condition of the apartment. This can prevent losing your deposit.
Why You Should Work with What You’ve Got
I know the excitement of a first-time rental and the desire to make the space your own, but to avoid the financial implications and the possibility of compromising a future rental, do not perform DIY fixtures or additions.
Work with the apartment that you have and incorporate decorative accessories. If you damage the walls, carpeting, or apartment features you will be liable for the repairs and the restoration. Worse yet, you could lose getting a recommendation letter for a future apartment from your current landlord. This is not ideal as a first-time renter.
Maintaining the Condition of Your Apartment
Keeping your apartment well-maintained will go a long way to passing your move-out inspection. Simply keep the apartment well-organized through the course of your lease. Address any damages or wear and tear by bringing it to the attention of the landlord. This can avoid complications when your lease expires.
Every apartment will have a scheduled inspection by the landlord. Decorating without changing the apartment condition can help you save your deposit and place your tenancy in a positive light for your next rental.
The Beauty of First-Time Renting
Renting for the first time provides a sense of independence and pride. Once you’ve managed your finances, the most exciting part of your new space is adding the accessories and the features that you love.
Create space with storage solutions and inexpensive additions that leave you feeling good while making for a practical home.
Another tip is to read your lease terms. Before you decide to get adventurous with a scarlet red feature wall, understand your lease concerning changes to the apartment. If there is a change you need to make, call your landlord and speak to him or her about the change before proceeding with it. I know it's tempting to modify your new place but to avoid the complexities of penalties and losing your deposit, always check, then proceed.
Ready-to-assemble furniture, plants, pillows, and accessories will add the value that you are looking for. It also reflects your personality which makes you feel more at home.
If you notice any problems in your apartment, from degraded fixtures to stained carpets, inform your landlord. You can also take pictures that are time-stamped to prove you are not the cause for the damages by the end of your lease.
At the end of the day, your first-time rental should be exciting, fun, and rewarding! By thinking outside of the box and looking for a good deal, you can decorate and come in under budget.
With only a few additions you can transform your space and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune!