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Simple home design moves make a first dwelling your own

August 20, 2014

hardwood flooringWhether they're decorating their first apartment or considering whether to buy a condominium, consumers love seeing hardwood floors when they're considering putting down a deposit. The warm tones of wood floors like those in Anderson's Urban Loft collection not only have a classy feel, but they're a great starting point for people who have to stay within a decorating budget.

There are plenty of budget-conscious ways for people to design the living quarters of their dreams, rented or owned. But for renters there are still restrictions dictated by the landlord and newly-minted condo owners may have to abide by association rules.

That doesn't mean they can't ask about making changes, according to Some landlords, for instance, will allow renters to paint their apartments as long as they repaint it back to white before they move. It may be worth the effort even for the short-term if it makes the apartment look brighter and more interesting.

Re-do and re-use
Home decorators who are bent on exploring their DIY side can take family hand-me-down wood furniture and strip off old finishes. If the wood is in good shape, it's worth preserving under a new stain and varnish. If not, painting it in a bold color will add the bright accent shades that every room design needs.

Dealing with worn upholstery is even easier. There's a wide variety of slipcovers available on the market in pre-made shapes that fit every kind of seating from recliners to full-length sofas. Both contemporary and traditional styles are available in a range of colors, patterns and prints offset by a variety of pillows in the same color scheme.

Separate activity areas
Many first homes, whether they're rentals or purchased, come up short on space. Home decorators who have to divide one large room into areas for dining, socializing and relaxing can do so with a variety of design tricks.

Lamps give a cozy look to one section of a room, while overhead lighting brightens the whole space. Apartment Therapy recommended using lower wattage bulbs for a softer glow. Place a few task lamps around one large room to direct attention to a living room, dining area or home office corner.

Rugs should be placed strategically - in front of a sofa, under a dining table - to separate sections of a room. They not only protect beautiful hardwood floors in heavy traffic areas, but the right combination of textured rugs with the wood brings out the best in both.