Opting for a pre-furnished apartment can be a wise move for many reasons, especially if you’re new to a city or your job requires you to relocate regularly. The downside to this, however, is that you may quickly find yourself feeling like a guest in someone else’s space. So how do you make your new place feel more like home? It’s not as hard as you might think, and everything you need to do it can easily be packed up and taken with you when you leave.
Step one is to decide what to do with the existing furniture. Most pre-furnished spaces are filled with uninteresting, utilitarian furniture in various shades of black, white and beige. Don’t be put off by that, though. You have plenty of options for turning an otherwise dull, drab room into a vibrant space full of life.
Take a quick inventory of what you have to work with first. What sort of condition is the furniture in? How does it all fit in the space you have? Are there any weird patterns on the upholstery you’re going to have to deal with? These questions will help you decide what the next course of action will be.
If the furniture is in good condition, but just a little bland for your taste, try adding a few colorful throw pillows to spice things up a bit. Not only are throw pillows easy to move from place to place, they are readily available at any nearby department store. Not to mention, there are countless websites and online retailers who sell throw pillows in every shape, color, and size imaginable, so it shouldn’t be hard to find a few that reflect your personality.
If you really want something unique and personalized, though, why not make your own throw pillows? This is easier than ever before, since most craft stores sell pre-stuffed pillows and you can find easy-to-follow patterns for pillow coverings online. All you have to do is pick out the fabric you want and sew it together. The bonus here is that you don’t need to worry about spilling wine on your stylish new pillow, because the covers can just slip off and be popped into the wash. You can also swap out your pillow covers with new fabric patterns as often as you like.
Sometimes the furniture in question isn’t in the best shape or it has a hideous pattern that makes you wonder who in their right mind thought that was a good idea. In that case, you’re going to want to go for a cover-it-all-up approach. Just like with the pillows, a nice slipcover over that ugly old couch or chair can make a huge difference in the overall look of the room. Once again, you can either buy a brand new slipcover, available in a wide variety of patterns and colors, or design your own with the help of a craft store pattern and handpicked fabric. Opt for machine-washable fabric so you can keep your furniture looking fresh and stain-free month after month.
Don’t forget about the bedroom too. Your new landlord may have already provided you with bedding, but there’s nothing saying you have to use what they left behind. This room is your oasis, so it’s important to make yourself feel comfortable and relaxed here. Pick out a bedding set in a style that you like and toss in a few extra pillows for added luxury.
Once you have the living room and bedroom furniture sorted out, take a look at the lighting in each room. Again, just because the landlord provided you with lamps, doesn’t mean you have to use what he or she selected for the space. Picking out your own lamps or even just changing the lamp shades on the existing lamps can go a long way toward making this space your own. You can even change the light bulbs themselves to adjust the brightness and set the mood of each room.
Once that’s done, you’ll want to start working on adding style to the walls, windows and floors of your new apartment. This is where your creativity can really shine through. Update the window coverings with new drapes or curtains, center the room with a chic area rug, or if you really want to go bold, create an accent wall using temporary wallpaper. It’s a great non-permanent, easy alternative to paint, and can also be used to add character to that boring coffee table, end table or dresser.
The final step is to accessorize your new home with vivid artwork, sweet-smelling flowers, and a few of your own little treasures. Find the perfect spot to display all your favorite photos and that collection of knick-knacks you carry with you everywhere you go. If your new apartment is low on display areas or bookshelves, you can create your own shadowboxes using cheap frames, 1”x4” boards and a can of spray paint.
Personal touches like these will make your pre-furnished space feel like home. A word of advice, though… as you’re making all of these changes, try to maintain a cohesive theme throughout each space with coordinating patterns and colors. This will not only help your apartment feel more welcoming and put-together, but it will also make it that much easier for you to set up your next pre-furnished apartment in style.