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Festooning Your First Apartment

I finally have a place to myself! After two years of dorm life I have moved to a little studio near campus. It is great, for what it is, and I want to make it perfect, because I definitely want to stay here for a few more years. I am very serious about decorating, and now that I have my own space, I’m imagining all sorts of ways to liven it up. It is a studio, so it is pretty small, but creativity requires constraints, right? What are some cool design ideas to decorate a space that may not be that big physically, but can accommodate big ideas?

You’ve moved off of campus. You have a place to yourself. You’re ready to make it look great. Now, where to begin? We’ve got three tips for you to help fit your big ideas in a small space: get organized, get wallpaper, and go bright. These three tips taken together will help fill your space with a visual richness to surprise anybody who walks in.

With limited space, the first thing you want to do is ensure it’s organized. Now, as soon as we start talking about organization, people’s eyelids begin to flutter. But it’s key to making a small space feel cozy, without feeling cluttered. Furniture designers have fortunately thought about this problem. You’ll want to find furniture that does double duty as storage: seats with shelves, dressers as nightstands, and storage containers as desks. Consider, as well, sleeper sofas and Murphy beds (the beds that fold up into cabinets along the walls). A folding bed can add as much as 30 square feet of space to an apartment. At the size of a studio, that can make the difference between cramped, and comfortable.

Another idea to liven up your apartment is wallpaper. Wallpaper went out of fashion for a few years, mostly because the cheesy designs and dated aesthetic of mass-made wallpaper from the 50s and 60s soured a generation of homeowners to the idea of wallpaper as decoration. In the interior design world, though, wallpaper has come back with a vengeance. Computer-aided design and printing techniques have given artists more ability than ever to create eye-catching, unique wallpaper designs. Wallpaper has an additional advantage — it takes up no space the way a standing lamp or statement chair would. For a small studio, decking it out with beautiful wallpaper seems like a no-brainer. Sites such Wallpaper Boulevard are overflowing with affordable wallpaper designs. Click here to check out some of their ideas.

Finally, when it comes to a small space, light is your friend. If the space is brightly lit, it will seem larger and dispel the “cave syndrome” that some studios suffer from. You want to draw in as much natural light as you can, forgo window shades for curtains. When you hang the curtains, hang them high above the windows on rods wide enough to open to both sides of the frame. This will make your ceilings look higher, and allow full natural light into the room. Another great way to maximize the natural light in your space is to embrace mirrors. Mirrors create the illusion that the space is larger than it is, and, with some creative frames, become statement pieces in their own right. Finally, for when the sun sets, forgo floor lamps and opt for wall-mounted lights. Wall-mounted lights, which don’t take up as much space as floor lamps, make the ceilings seem higher by casting more light up, than out. Overall, you want your space to feel bright and energetic, with shadows out of sight, and out of mind.


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Festooning Your First Apartment