An Interior Design Crash Course for Apartment DwellersAugust 14th, 2009 by Jordan Gaither
So, you’ve found yourself a living space (or you’ve grown bored of its look), and now you’re looking for a quick run-through on interior design. With a few basic concepts rolling around in your head, it’s really not that tough!
Here are some general categories to think about:
Don’t Let Large Furniture Stand in Your Way
If your apartment is anything like mine, you are looking to maximize your living space as much as possible, and the biggest use of that space is, inevitably, your furniture. However, you can save yourself both headaches and floor-space by allowing the room itself to dictate where the furniture should go.
Visualize what the bed would look like jutting out from that wall, and then imagine it tucked into a corner near the window, and decide which one the room’s proportions can better accommodate. A good general rule of thumb is to put the longest line of your furniture piece (the back of the couch, the long side of your bed, etc.) against a wall. This ensures that the least amount of walk-able floor is being used up by your various pieces of furniture.
Don’t Color Your Apartment in the Dark
Though you may think coordinating the colors of your apartment is best done after you’ve outlined a picture of the room, it’s actually easier to manage at the beginning of an interior design campaign, rather than struggling to coordinate your favorite colors with an uncooperative set up.
Catalogue the colors of your couch, chairs, picture frames and tables, and try to find a common color scheme that you enjoy. Once you’ve done that, you can cover mismatched pillows with new material to match the new theme, or sand down and refinish a dark wood coffee table to match the rest of the light-wood décor. These simple, cheap measures will help ensure that your living spaces won’t give you the feeling of living in a perpetual garage sale.
Fine Tuning with Your Extras
In this category, I include things like art, lamps and potted plants; unnecessary things, strictly speaking, but items that everyone seems to accumulate at one point or another. Firstly, let’s talk about plants.
A couple of potted plants, especially hardy ones that don’t need a lot of attention (like a cactus, for example) add a wonderful feeling of vibrancy and organic life to your apartment, and can be put anywhere that gets sunlight. For the creative apartment decorator looking for more of a”jungle” style, a German or English ivy plant can add a great look to an outdoor trellis or balcony, and only needs to be watered once a week or so.
Art, while subject to the opinions of each individual person, is always a great way to liven up your apartment. Ideally, I recommend self-made art, both painting and sculpture, and it makes a great conversation piece. For those of you not artistically inclined, unique art can be bought directly from the artists at local craft fairs or even online.
There are multitudes of unique and creative ways to master interior design, but the above crash course should give you the basic overview you need to get started.
Jordan Gaither: I’m a Communications major by trade, an artist by choice, a welder by day and a dancer by night (Okay, I made that last part up). Having lived in a succession of cramped, oddly-shaped apartments, I have a wealth of personal experience in apartment living, as well as arranging and decorating to maximize effect and livable space.