If you’re readying yourself to move into a new apartment in 2016, you may want to consider the latest design trends when furnishing your living space. After all, everyone wants to be in style, and moving into a new living space gives you a perfect opportunity. This isn’t to say you need to completely refurnish your apartment, but if you’re already out buying new furniture and other decor, you might as well remain up to date. With that said, here are three apartment design trends to keep an eye out for in 2016:
1. Blue decor
Grecian blue appears to be one of the main colors in 2016. This deep blue color is ideal for accenting your apartment, and can easily be paired with a wide range of other vibrant hues. What’s more, blue never goes out of style, so you’ll be able to hold onto your decor for the long term. Whether you opt for painting a blue accent wall, hanging dark blue curtains or using chairs with rich blue upholstery, you’re sure to give your apartment a contemporary aesthetic in the new year.
2. Mismatched styles
Now that we’re well into the new millennium, you can confidently mix a variety of retro and modern styles to make a truly eclectic living space. Not only will this give your apartment a genuinely interesting interior, but also it will showcase your diverse taste and wide-ranging interests. Consider borrowing some of the more transcendent style trends of the past and blend them with contemporary elements to take your living space to the next level. Don’t be afraid to vary the aesthetic a bit from room to room, but consider having some type of overarching theme that pulls your apartment together.
3. Wallpaper is back
Putting up and taking down wallpaper can be a lengthy, monotonous and challenging task. However, the look it provides to your apartment makes it well worth the effort. Moreover, despite the historically laborious nature of this process, mounting wallpaper has become easier than in the past. Temporary wallpaper now makes it possible to put up a stylish pattern on your wall without committing to a design for the long term. What’s more, temporary wallpaper is much easier to remove upon moving out, so you won’t be stuck painting over it or paying damages on your apartment.
An ever growing body of research has proven that too much sitting negatively affects your health. For many of us, this is particularly bad news because our jobs make us prone to a sedentary lifestyle. However, even if your stuck at a desk from nine to five, it doesn't mean you have to come home and sit around your apartment. Rather than spend all your free time loafing in front of the television, consider these three tips for sitting less in your living space:
1. Opt for a standing desk
Whether you work from home on a regular basis or just need a home office to accomplish various projects in your free time, a standing desk will ensure that you don't end up sitting for hours on end. Standing while you work will keep you more alert and prevent your circulation from decreasing, which is one of the reasons sitting for extended periods can be harmful to your cardiovascular health. What's more, most standing desks are adjustable, so whenever your legs need a break, you can easily move it to a comfortable height as you sit for a few minutes.
2. Set up a game room
It's easy to end up lounging on the couch and watching movies, but if you have other leisure activities available you'll be less likely to camp out in front of a screen. If you have room, a dart board or foosball table both provide enjoyable activities that can be played with roommates, friends or family. These games will keep you moving around and also provide better opportunities for socializing than staring at the TV. To make it even better, games increase your hand eye coordination.
3. Move around when you answer the phone
Smartphones have certainly made it easier to communicate in our professional and personal lives, but these devices have also made it a piece of cake to pick up a call while we sit on the couch or lay in bed. Whereas once people had to get up and walk the phone, now our cells tend to always be within reach. When you're talking with someone on your phone, stand up and walk around for the duration of your conversation. Another idea is to get up and stretch during every commercial break when you watch television to help maintain good circulation.
During the long months of winter, many people experience feelings of depression and loneliness. This condition, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also sometimes referred to as the winter blues, can make the short days and frigid weather unbearable. For those who live in a small and dim-lit apartment, SAD may particularly take hold. However, there are a number of ways you can nip seasonal affective disorder in the bud in your living space. Don't let the blues bring you down this winter, here are five ways to avoid SAD:
1. Schedule activities in advance
When the weather outside is cold and snowy, it can be tough to find the motivation to leave your apartment to meet up with friends, go to the gym or run errands. This is especially true when you get a last minute call for a social event and you're lounging in your pajamas watching television or reading a book. However, if you commit to going out in advance, you'll feel more obligated to actually showing up. For example, try signing up for a class at your gym or putting together a team for a weekly trivia night at your local pub. That way, you'll have a reason to regularly leave the house, and SAD will be a thing of the past.
2. Host get-togethers
Another option for socializing is to simply bring the party to you. Consider hosting a weekly game night, happy hour or movie showing at your apartment. Not only will it give you a regular opportunity to see your friends, but also provide motivation to keep your apartment clean and tidy. In time, your apartment will become the go-to location for your friends to hang out, and you won't have to deal with feelings of isolation during a long, cold winter.
3. Try light therapy
Buying a light box or heat lamp is a great way to ward off SAD. Of course, natural sunlight is always preferred, so make sure to also spend a bit of time outside soaking up all the rays you can. Since the winter is often much more cloudy than the summer, make sure to take advantage of warm, sunny days and enjoy the outdoors as much as possible. Consider trying out a winter sport such as skiing or ice skating to get some exercise and sunlight at the same time.
4. Start using your kitchen
Eating poorly is bad for both your physical and mental health – plain and simple. If you've fallen into the habit of eating microwave dinners and ready-bake pizzas, winter is the perfect time to start making eating healthy a priority. Eating healthy will help whisk away the winter blues, as well as keep you more alert throughout the day. If you keep a rather hectic work schedule, consider prepping several healthy meals or snacks in one sitting and storing them in the refrigerator.
It can be hard to make exercise a priority during the winter if you're an avid runner or cyclist. Although, just because the bad weather is keeping you cooped up indoors doesn't mean you can't get in a good workout. Sign up for a month-by-month gym membership so that if you decide to cancel it once the weather gets warm again it won't break the bank. If the gym is too expensive for your current budget, consider trying out home workout tapes. You can always create your own workout regimen with a few simple items such as free weights, a yoga mat and a medicine ball.
Getting off the meal plan and leaving the dorms to transition to an apartment for the first time can be a new and exciting experience. However, moving off campus comes with an entirely new set of responsibilities, chores and financial expectations. For college students, this transition can take some serious getting used to. While dorm rooms are cramped and Spartan, they do come with several perks including building security, complimentary utilities and often a meal plan. With that said, consider these main factors when you finally decide to make the move:
Learn to budget
Figuring out how to manage on a monthly budget is a huge aspect of apartment living. As opposed to the dorms, you'll have to pay for utilities, groceries, new furniture and other miscellaneous expenses. For example, your heating and electric bill may go up significantly in the winter, and you'll have to be prepared to take on that cost, whereas it would have been covered in the dorms. Not only can it be tough to keep up with rent, but also budgeting for groceries, toiletries and various communal products can add up rather quickly.
Know what you'll need
Odds are your dorm room came with a sturdy desk, adequate lighting and firm (if not rigid) mattress. These items are often taken for granted, but when you move into a new apartment, unless you've found a space that comes furnished, you'll need to bring these necessities yourself. Initially purchasing all of these items can be a major expense, and once you move in you'll likely quickly build up a list of more necessary items. Do you have a trash can? A full set of kitchen utensils? Make a list of necessities beforehand so that you and any roommates can coordinate supplies and make as few purchases as possible.
Understand how a security deposit works
You'd probably have to wrack up some serious damage on a dorm room to get charged extra, but in an apartment small damages can swiftly burn through your security deposit. Make sure to speak in depth with your landlord before signing a lease about expectations upon move in and move out, and document any damages the living space has before moving in. After all, no one likes to throw away money, but if you beat up your apartment, that's exactly what you're doing.
Make note of your complex's security
One of the best parts of the dorm is feeling like your stuff is safely locked in your room at all times. Dormitories and other campus facilities usually require key-card access for entry and there's resident mentors or other staff on patrol. However, your apartment complex may not have a security system on the front door and there might not be anyone on duty to keep an eye out for intruders. Depending on how much you trust your roommates, having an individual lock on your bedroom door to safely store your laptop, tablet or other electronic devices can also come in handy. All in all, make sure that you feel comfortable and safe in your living space before signing the lease.
Whereas the dorms can feel rather boring and temporary, an apartment should feel like home. Get creative with your decor and ask your landlord about making alterations such as changing the paint color or nailing artwork into the walls. With more space, you'll have more opportunities to add your personality to your living space and truly make it your own. Work with your roommates to decorate common areas, such as the living room or kitchen.
During the long, cold months of winter, odds are you may procrastinate in regard to cleaning your apartment. However, in the spring, you can open up the windows and allow your living space to air out as you spray, wipe, sweep and mop every room in your abode. That’s why spring cleaning is an annual tradition, because it lets you erase the winter from your apartment. While this process may seem like a monumental, time-consuming task, once you’ve completed it you’ll feel great in your tidy and comfortable living space. If your apartment is starting to feel cluttered and in need of a good scrub, consider these tips for spring cleaning once the snow has finally melted:
1. Give some love to your kitchen
Whether you’re an avid home cook or just use the kitchen on rare occasion, this room is bound to get dirty rather quickly. Preparing and serving food is inherently messy, and spring cleaning is the perfect opportunity to tackle some bigger chores in the kitchen. Consider checking your refrigerator for expired or stale food, and also give a good scrub to your counters, stovetop, oven and microwave. Cleaning out the oven can take a lot of elbow grease, so make sure you have the proper cleaning supplies to do so.
2. Purchase good cleaning supplies
Day to day you might be able to get by with some makeshift cleaning methods, but paper towel isn’t going to cut it when you need to do a deep clean. Purchase sponges, cloths and various cleaners that are good for different surfaces in your apartment. For example, wood cleaner may be great for scrubbing down your cabinetry, whereas multi-surface or glass cleaner may damage the finish. A trusty broom and dustpan always come in handy as well.
3. Tackle cleaning your shower
People tend to dodge cleaning the shower and bathtub since it involves scrubbing a lot of surface area, but no one wants mildew buildup when they’re trying to clean. Shower liners notoriously get a bit grimy, so try throwing yours in the washing machine with your towels to get rid of any soap scum left behind. Remember to turn on the vent in your bathroom while you clean, so you don’t get overwhelmed by chemicals in the contained space.
4. Scrub down your baseboards
Baseboards are a prime area for dust and dirt to gather. As long as you’re sweeping and mopping or vacuuming your floors, give some attention to your baseboards, especially if they’re looking a bit dingy. Make sure to tackle these surfaces before cleaning the floor to avoid having to go over it twice.
5. Organize your front doorway
The entrance to your apartment is another area that’s bound to get messy. After a long winter of tromping in snow and mud, odds are your door mat has a bit of an odor and your coats, boots and other winter attire are probably in need of some organization. Since you won’t be needing these items much throughout the spring and summer, find a place to tuck them away for the season. Shake out your welcome mat and give it a good vacuum so that it doesn’t emit an unpleasant smell.
6. Clean your lighting
Though sometimes we overlook it, lights and lampshades are as susceptible to dust as anything else in your apartment. Make sure to give your lighting a good clean not only to rid your living space of dust, but also to revitalize your lighting for the spring season.
In a world where your love for movies takes over your apartment, there's nothing worse than having a cluttered mess of DVD cases and scattered cords in front of the television. For the film fanatic, developing a living space that allows you to enjoy movies after a long day of work or in between classes might be a major priority. However, it's hard to truly get the full theater-going experience without a proper misé-en-scene (to use the term somewhat liberally). Simply put, true movie lovers appreciate the importance of setting, and whether you're enjoying cult classics or contemporary arthouse flicks, you'll want to enjoy spending hours watching movies in your living area. Here are five decor ideas to bring your theater to life:
1. Frame old movie posters
Using framed movie posters to decorate the walls of your theater area will certainly add to the aura of being in a theater. You can easily find old movie posters online or get them directly from your local theater or poster shop. While vintage movie posters can cost an exorbitant amount, reproductions are relatively inexpensive and can be framed affordably. Find posters for three or four of your favorite movies so that when you have guests over you can show off your taste as a cinephile.
2. Build your home theater
Though most people generally organize the living area in their apartment to have at least some focus on the television, there's not always the feeling of being in a theater. Make sure that when you host movie nights your friends don't have to pile around the sides of the TV or crane their necks to enjoy the show. When you set up your seating, try to align furniture so that everyone has a good view for enjoying the film.
3. Organize your library
No one enjoys digging through a disorganized library in search of the movie they want to watch. Categorize your movie library in a way that's not only easy for you to find the film you're looking for, but also designed for guests who may be helping in the selection process. If your library is rather extensive, consider first organizing titles by genre. Once you've accomplished that task, store your movies in each genre alphabetically.
4. Make popcorn a priority
If you have extra space, a theater-style popcorn machine is a great accessory for any home theater. After all, no one likes running back and forth to the microwave during important scenes to throw in another bag. With a larger popcorn machine, your guests will be able to go grab a snack individually to their heart's content. What's more, this will help add the delicious, buttery aroma of popcorn to your living space, making it truly feel like a movie theater.
5. Get creative with storage
The way you display your movies can be as important as how you set up your theater. Not only should your library be organized, but also it should be a main point of the overall decor. Of course, you can always store your DVDs the traditional way on bookshelves or in drawers, but don't be afraid to get creative. Consider more interesting display options such as floating shelves, storage-capable furniture or color-coded crates. Overall, you'll want to display your movies in a way that is both stylish and accessible.
6. Hide your cords
Your home theater will definitely look sloppy if speaker wires, extension cords and other cables are sprawled out around your living space. Conceal these connectors from view as much as possible to add to your theater aesthetic.
Building a stylish home bar comes in handy if you want to host guests often in your new apartment. After all, lots of people enjoy a stiff drink after a long week at work or during an intimate social gathering. What's more, a home bar serves as a powerful piece of decor. It adds an element of style and sophistication to your living space while also serving the practical purpose of providing you with a wide array of drink options. However, throwing a bunch of bottles on a table hardly constitutes a proper home bar. Here are five tips to get you started on this project:
1. Buy a bar cart
If you're living in a particularly small apartment, a bar cart might be the ideal apparatus for your home bar. One advantage of bar carts is that they're easily mobile, so you can push it into a closet or other free space if you need extra room. Furthermore, these carts are designed with both style and function in mind, and make it easy to store all of your glassware, liquor and other bar necessities. When you have a party, you can simply roll it out into public space and then roll it back into your bedroom, office or whereever else you regularly store it.
2. … or buy an end table
For those living in more spacious apartments, an end table offers a more permanent bar setting. As opposed to bar carts, an end table might also contain cabinets so that you can store a corkscrew, knives for cutting citrus and other bar tools. Make sure not to overload the surface of your end table with bottles, because you'll want at least a little room to mix and pour cocktails. If possible, put your bar by a sink so that you can easily wash glassware as needed during friendly get-togethers.
3. If you have space, build your own
Once you've comfortably moved into your apartment, building a custom bar might end up being the best option for your living space. If there's extra room to build a personalized bar, by all means take advantage of it. Not only will this give you a fun and challenging project to tackle, but it will also add a truly individualized aspect to your home. If you're not particularly goo with tools, invite some friends over to give you a helping hand or try working with an expert at your local home goods store.
4. Buy the basics
While having a bar in your apartment is perfect for hosting parties, it won't mean much if one of your guests asks for a gin and tonic and you don't have the ingredients to make one. Make sure to stock your bar with all the basics so that your guests can find a cocktail or mixed drink to enjoy. Besides stocking up on various liquors, make sure to purchase some triple sec, bitters, soda, tonic water, citrus fruits, grenadine and other various common ingredients found in numerous libations.
5. Learn the basics
Once your bar is fully stocked, you're going to have to learn how to tend the bar like a pro. While no one is expecting you to pull off the moves in "Cocktail," you should be able to confidently make an Old Fashioned, Manhattan and other classic drinks. Have a bar bible on hand so that you can look up drinks you don't know how to make off the top of your head. After you get comfortable making these drinks, you can take your home bar to the next level by creating a signature drink.
Keeping your apartment toasty during the long months of winter can seem to be an unending challenge. The frigid breeze always somehow manages to find a way in, but keeping the heat cranked up can really dig a hole in your pocket. At the end of the day, this leaves many renters trying to find a way to stay warm without breaking the bank. Of course, there are several simple changes you can make such as layering your clothes, changing out your bedding for thicker sheets and cuddling up with a loved one to share warmth. However, if you're still feeling a bit chilled, here are five additional ideas for keeping your apartment warmer this winter:
1. Let the sun in
During the cold season, pulling back your curtains and raising your blinds can let in a lot of cold through your windows, especially if it's dark or stormy out. But if you have a chance to soak up some direct sunlight, by all means take advantage of it. Open up your blinds or curtains whenever the sun can shine through, as it will naturally heat your living space. Although, once the sun has gone from view, make sure to close the curtains so that you retain the warmth. Take note of what time of day each window in your apartment gets direct sunlight, that way you can create a schedule for when the curtains can be pulled back and when the window should be covered up.
2. Invest in candles
Candles are perfect for setting an intimate mood for a romantic dinner or get together with some friends. Of course, candles also serve as a great way to warm your apartment on the cheap. Remember to blow out all of the candles in your apartment before leaving, and make sure not to leave candles unattended when you're not in the room.
3. Weatherstrip your windows
Weatherstripping your windows puts an extra layer between you and the blustery outdoors. This is also a great way to seal air leaks or cracks that are constantly letting in cold air. When purchasing weatherstripping, work with an employee at your local hardware or home goods store to find the product that is most suitable for the weather conditions in the area. If weatherstripping is already present in your apartment, double check to ensure it hasn't become damaged or worn out. In the case that the weatherstripping appears aged and ineffective, it may be time to ask your landlord to replace it.
4. Buy an area rug
People often don't think of the floor when it comes to retaining heat. Like any other surface in your abode, the floor can take away your much treasured warmth. To mitigate this issue, purchase an area rug that will not only stop your flooring from sucking up all the heat, but also make your apartment more cozy. While buying a rug might be an immediate cost, in time it'll save you on having to turn up the heat to keep your feet warm.
5. Seal off gaps
Windows might not be the only point in your apartment in need of being sealed off. Check your doors, mail slip and vents for potential breaks in the seal. Odds are you'll be able to find leaks relatively easily since you'll feel the cold air entering your living space. If you're struggling to identify leaks, light a match around the area in question to see if it blows out or sends smoke in a particular direction.
If your apartment lacks natural light, it can be a major challenge to give it the bright and sunny feeling you desire. Whether your apartment simply doesn't have many windows, your view is obstructed by trees and buildings or you don't get much direct sunlight, maximizing natural light can take some serious reworking of your decor. On another note, plugging lamps into every corner of your living space may make it feel cluttered. Don't let your apartment take on the feeling of a dark dungeon, instead use these five tips for making the most of your natural light:
1. Invest in mirrors
Mirrors not only make great decor, but also are a smart and easy way of reflecting natural light around your apartment. Place a decorative mirror across from your windows for a look that's both stylish and practical. If you have the room, a full-length mirror may be just the ticket so that you have a place to get ready for a night out with friends. If not, look for a mirror that complements your furniture and artwork so that the room maintains a sophisticated look.
2. Find the right window treatments
Dark curtains might come in handy when you're trying to sleep in on a lazy Sunday, but day to day dark window treatments can really cancel out a lot of your natural light. If you absolutely need curtains to get some shuteye or keep in warmth, then this may be unavoidable, but otherwise it may be smart to just let blinds stand on their own. Another option is lighter, diaphanous curtains that can still add to the decor without drastically darkening your apartment.
3. Paint your ceiling
Painting your ceiling a plain white hue can potentially bring a lot more natural light into your living space. Matte paint is perfect for reflecting light, even though it doesn't have the same sheen as a glossy paint. This can be especially helpful if your walls are a duller color that darken your apartment. As always, when painting make sure to consult with your landlord beforehand. He or she may want to tackle the project themselves, or at least pick out the paint since they'll be dealing with it after you move out. Since the ceiling can be challenging to paint, invest in some drop cloths or use old newspapers to avoid making a major mess.
4. Keep windows clean
Dirty and dusty windows can really take a toll on the lighting in your apartment. If you're not a meticulously clean person, make sure to at least prioritize cleaning your windows on a weekly or monthly basis. Making a chore calendar is a great way to keep track of this task, so that you don't forget about it even if your schedule is particularly hectic. Standard window cleaner should do just fine, but if your windows get especially foggy, it might be necessary to buy a special defogging cleaner to keep them as clear as possible.
5. Highlight your furniture
Your furniture can be a key ally in lighting your apartment or your worst enemy. If you position sofas, bookcases or other furniture so that it blocks some of your natural light, it can really put a damper on your living space. Instead, organize your furniture to complement the lighting in your apartment, especially in common areas where you host guests or hang out. Highlight your favorite pieces of furniture by windows or in areas where you'll be able to relax and enjoy some sun.
At the beginning of a new year, we tend to be ambitious and strive to take on new challenges. While many people pledge to make changes in the way they eat and exercise, one resolution that may get overlooked is maintaining a cleaner and more organized living space. Whether you've lived in the same apartment for several years or just moved in before the holidays, there are numerous ways you can make your home a bit tidier in this coming year. If you're looking around your living space and feel it's time to get rid of some of the clutter, consider these five cleaning resolutions:
1. Make room for new stuff
One of the great things about the holidays is exchanging gifts with friends and family. This often results in a combination of new clothes, decor, kitchenware and other items that will take up a lot of space in your apartment. Of course, if your storage areas are already fully loaded, this can cause somewhat of an issue. The new year is a perfect time to go through your old stuff, in your closet, desk drawers, etc., and decide what you no longer have use for. Old clothes can easily be donated to charity, and stacks of old papers can be recycled, freeing up some room for your new belongings.
2. Create a schedule of daily, weekly and monthly chores
It's easy to get overwhelmed by a busy schedule of work, school and other obligations. If you have a hectic lifestyle, cleaning might fall on the back burner for a few weeks, and then it becomes a monumental task. Avoid an overwhelming mess by creating a schedule of chores that should be performed daily, weekly and monthly. For example, doing your dishes and making your bed are quick chores that can be done at the beginning and end of every day, whereas you may need to vacuum and dust somewhat less frequently.
3. Get to know your neighbors
No one likes hosting friends and family with a messy apartment. Befriending your neighbors isn't only a great way to build a fun local community and expand your social network, but also will encourage you to keep a clean apartment so that you can invite in neighbors if they choose to drop by. Hosting more in the new year will inspire you to optimize your apartment space and make organization a priority.
4. Clean out your refrigerator
Odds are when you glance in your refrigerator you'll find a few items that haven't been touched in weeks or months (hopefully nothing perishable). While condiments are year round necessities, some of the more miscellaneous half-used items may have passed the expiration date or simply may never get finished. Take the time to remove all the bad food from your fridge and make a point of eating anything that is nearing expiration.
5. Pack up and label your holiday decor
Decorating your apartment for the holidays can be a lot of fun. It brings a new look to a tired space and announces the festive nature of the season. Most people don't make much of an effort to take down decorations until the new year, but if winter is turning to spring and your decorations are still up, it's time to put them back in the box. Label all of your holiday decorations and find a place where you can store them in an organized fashion. That way, when the holidays come back around, you'll be able to easily recreate that festive aura.