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Apartment renters face several challenges when it comes to decorating. They’re usually living in small spaces and are on relatively small budgets. Plus, many property managers won’t allow renters to make any big changes —meaning it’s tough for renters to decorate. But fear not. We spoke to two different interior designers who shared their tips on how to make your new place beautiful —budget and space limitations aside.

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Making the Most of a Small Space

“Space-saving furniture and multi-purpose pieces are a great way to take advantage of all the space you do have,” says Kassin Adelman, founder and CEO of San Francisco-based design firm IDF Studio. Think ottomans or coffee tables with hidden storage. But beyond that, “bookshelves can act as room dividers, desks can act as vanities and a coffee table can provide a great place for storage. Use the room you do have by building vertically, hanging things on walls and using bins and baskets in strategic ways.”

Kitchen & Office

“Don’t be afraid to store things where people can see them,” says Adelman. “Knives can stick to a magnetic metal strip on the wall, nice pots and pans can hang, and pretty dishes (you can find fun, vintage patterns at thrift stores or on sale at Anthropologie!) and glassware can sit on shelves when you have a small amount of cabinet space.”

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No doubt about it: you’ll spend a ton of time in your bedroom. Adelman advises that you create a dreamy oasis so you can drift off to sleep.

“Make this a calm, relaxing space with neutral, light colors, fluffy blankets and pillows, and an area rug if there’s room. Try a fun, removable wallpaper behind the headboard to add texture without taking up any extra space. Be sure to have plenty of candles and things that bring you joy since it’s the first, and last, thing you see each day,” says Adelman. She also advises buying cute bedding including decorative sheets and throw pillows.

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Her first tip? Use all of your hidden storage to hide your bathroom supplies. Next, “pair solid-color bath towels with different hand towels in order to layer in color or pattern. Use a beautiful jar, vase or tray for attractive countertop storage,” says Adelman.


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“Making changes to the lighting can make a huge change to an apartment, whether it’s just the bulb to a lower wattage or warmer color, or by adding a variety of table and floor lamps that can create points of interest in a room, this addition can transform a space,” says Los Angeles-based interior designer Mark Cutler (who has worked with A-listers like Jennifer Lopez and Steve Carell) and recently launched an online decorating business Nousdecor.com.

Check out different lighting options at discount stores to see what might your apartment literally brighter. Start with places of your apartment that feel darker and go from there.

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Cabinet Hardware

“If you are looking for a simple bath or kitchen upgrade, do not lot look any further than a cabinet hardware upgrade. It will give you a totally custom look for not a lot of money that is easy to switch back later,” says Cutler.

He also recommended visiting Anthropologie (our other interior designer’s favorite, too) for the store’s colorful selection of knobs. Be sure to save the originals and put them back on when you move out.



Dress Up Your Windows

Cutler tells us that it can be hard to find well priced semi-custom lighting solutions, but you can dress up your windows to make your place feel more inviting. “Window treatments will give your space a totally custom and designed feel,” he says. He recommends rattan shades as an affordable solution.


For more tips on how to make your apartment feel like your own, practice some bathroom decorating tricks or for advice on decorating your first apartment, take a look at these decor tips. Happy decorating!



All images courtesy of IDF Studio.

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Ever since I first started writing for my middle school newspaper, I knew that I was born to tell stories. Well, that and travel. I've been fortunate enough in my professional life to combine both loves. My work has appeared on sites like USA Today, Fast Company, Racked, Refinery29 and The Daily Meal. I enjoy covering lifestyle topics like food, fitness, travel and decor. When I'm not writing or travelling, you'll find me reading books, playing with my two Chihuahuas, exercising or searching for my next great cup of coffee. I've never met a cupcake I didn't like. Visit Chocolate and Chihuahuas

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