Is there anything more exciting than moving into your very own apartment? You get to try out new routines, go shopping for fun decor, and have a fresh start. It truly is a great time to be alive. And yet there's always one problem, and that's finding ways to make your new apartment feel like home.
Because once you set down the last cardboard box and look around, your exciting new place can quickly seem like uncharted territory. Nothing feels right or comfy, and it certainly doesn't look like yours. It's not a good feeling, but it is one that everyone goes through when they move.
This transitional period can tough, according to Laura Cattano, a professional organizer in NYC. "It's natural to not feel at home at first in a new apartment — especially in a boring white box apartment with no personality, or one that has details and finishes that aren't your style," she says in an email to Bustle.
Good thing there are ways to speed up the process, and help yourself to feel settled ASAP. Apart from spending time in your space and getting used to your new routine, you should set about sprinkling the place with comfy, familiar personality. Below are some ways to do just that.
1. Do A Deep Clean
Before you get carried away with decorating, be sure to start with a deep clean. Get out the disinfectants, find some rags, and start scrubbing away any signs of past tenants. "This gives you a fresh start both literally and figuratively," said Jen Jackowski on ApartmentGuide.com. Plus, if you get to know every nook and cranny of your new place, it will start to feel much more familiar.
2. Be All About The Paint
Get the go ahead from your landlord (or just check your lease), then have at it with some wall color. "Painting your walls is a really cheap, easy, and fun way to immediately change the feel of your space," noted an article on interior design blog LaurelandWolf.com. Coat the place in your favorite color, or ask your friends help paint a mural. The more fun you have fun with it, the sooner it will look like home.
3. Buy Real Furniture
It can be tempting to live on plastic furniture because "you're just renting." But this is your life! Even if you're only planning on staying a year, don't let it be the year of fold-up chairs and cardboard box tables. Go thrifting or hit up a store for a comfy couch or pretty coffee table. "Long after you leave your rental, you'll have these with you," said Rebecca Orlov on ApartmentTherapy.com. So don't be afraid to scoop up some nicer things today.
4. Pay Attention To Lighting
If you've ever walked into a room and felt like something was "off," it was probably due to the crappy lighting. So pay attention to it in your new space. "The right lighting scheme turns a drab space into an intimate and cozy one, so it should be one of the first things you tackle when you move in — after setting up all the necessities, of course," Jackowski said.
5. Choose A Signature Scent
Scent is very strongly tied to memory. So if you want to make a space feel cozy, try to mimic the smells of home. Or, claim your own signature scent and put that candle (or incense, or room spray) everywhere. According to LaurelandWolf.com, having a signature scent will make your entire space feel cohesive and connected. Pretty cool, right?
6. Display Those Sentimental Items
Once you have the walls painted and the lighting situation under control, you can then move on to tchotchkes. These are the little knick knacks and heirlooms that will make the space feel like yours. "A painting that hung in your grandma’s house, the throw blanket your mom knitted, and the mirror from your study abroad trip are all examples of decorations that not only look nice but have sentimental value," Jackowski said. Be sure to put them on display ASAP.
7. Cook Yourself A Meal
If you're feeling confused as to where to start when settling into your new space, then consider making the kitchen a priority. "I always unpack the kitchen first," Cattano says. "It makes such a difference emotionally when you can cook a meal in a new space."
8. Get Your Privacy On
Don't let your windows stay bare for long. Curtains not only help tie your decor together, according to LaurelandWolf.com, but they can also make your space feel "done" — not to mention super cozy and private. Just a few pieces of fabric and a couple curtain rods really will make all the difference.
9. Get Rid Of Extra Junk
Yes, your apartment will have boxes and paint lying around for a while. But do make a conscious effort to tuck away the unnecessary junk. "Having a balance of what is 'out' versus 'away' is key to making a space your own," Cattano says. "Many people have the wrong stuff 'out' ... cords, office supplies, toiletries, etc." It's much better to tuck these things away, and keep your shelves open for things that show off your personality.
10. Frame Your Family
Photos of your family and friends fall into the same category as your cute knick knacks. "Using them as decor will make you feel comforted and at ease," said Macy Williams on PopSugar.com. Stick some pics on your fridge and pop a few frames on your bookshelf. Or, be a true grownup and have some really nice photos framed for the wall. (Gasp, the adultness!)
11. Make Things Cozy AF
The first few nights in a new apartment might feel kind of lonely and cold and bizarre, so be sure to make things extra comfy. "Add throw pillows ... and area rugs to soften your apartment, start up a color scheme, and make it feel lived-in and comfortable," noted an article on ForRent.com. And don't forget blankets... lots and lots of blankets.
12. Throw Yourself A Party
Getting your kitchen up and running can help you feel emotionally connected to your new place. And so can throwing a party. Even if you aren't finished unpacking, go ahead and invite friends over for drinks. Or better yet, invite them for pizza and to help you paint. (How very win-win.)
13. Get Settled
Like, for real. Because nothing feels less "homey" than living amongst boxes for weeks or months on end. So please, for the love of all that is holy, unpack. "The quicker you can unpack and get settled, the more the place will feel more like home," Cattano says.
And the sooner you're officially moved in, the sooner you can truly start enjoying your new space.
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