Lessons Learned from Your First Apartment

As I've mentioned before, my first apartment was composed of an embarrassing match-matchy collection of birch veneer furniture and a general array of generic accessories. Of course, this was 11 years ago while I was in college and didn't have resources like this to help with DIY projects and decorating advice. Still, if I could go back there are a few things I'd tell my 21 year old self.

1. Don't buy all of your furniture from the same store.
Granted, it's easy to do the one-stop shopping thing, but it makes the space look like it lacks character and effort. I remember being very proud of myself for buying some "quality" (i.e. veneer, but not from Target) pieces, but a few years later I loathed how everything matched perfectly.

2. Take time to find things you love.
I moved from a dorm to a shared apartment to a studio and needed furniture fast. Still, I would've appreciated the space much more if I actually loved every piece in it. I remember hopping around a few different thrift stores, but impatience got the best of me and I just went and bought everything I needed in one afternoon. If only I had waited, some of the pieces from that first apartment might still be with me.

3. A good mattress really does make a difference.
It's unfair to begrudge 21 year old me for not wanting to spend $1,000 on a new mattress, but I probably could have spent more than $200 (and foregone my old shopping addiction for a week or two) to make sure I had years to come of good nights full of sleep.

4. Lamps will never do what natural light does.
My biggest memory about my first studio was that it was dark...and I lived in Arizona (the other sunshine state). Unfortunately, I had already signed my lease before I realized how much getting natural light truly affects my motivation and mood. Needless to say, I have yet to make that mistake again.

What lessons did you learn from the mistakes and successes of your first apartment?

Image credit: Laure Joliet

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