4 First-Apartment Mistakes Everyone Makes (and How to Avoid Them)

published Aug 3, 2016
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(Image credit: Marie-Lyne Quirion)

Decorating your first apartment is an exciting endeavor – and also one rife with pitfalls. How do you avoid making mistakes when you’ve never decorated a place of your own before? Well, first check out this list of 3 mistakes everyone makes when decorating their first apartment — and how you can avoid them.

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Thinking you have to buy everything at once.
When you move into your apartment, there are some things, like a mattress and a place to sit, that you’ll probably want to have right away. But there’s no rule that says that your apartment has to be completely finished in the week that you move in. Spacing out your purchases will lessen the strain on your budget, and also allow you more time to figure out what your apartment really needs (and maybe find a bargain on just the right thing).

Thinking everything has to match.
Unless you really want your house to look like a furniture store, there’s no reason that every single thing in your apartment has to be the same wood tone, or the same style, or from the same era. Freeing yourself from matchy-matchyness will also give you the freedom to source from more diverse (read: more budget-friendly) places, like garage sales and your grandma’s attic, and also give your home a texture and personality that painstakingly matched spaces often don’t have.

Paying a lot of money for things that will only fit one particular apartment.
This is your first apartment, and chances are, if you’re anything like the average renter, you will move many, many times in your life. So don’t sink a lot of money into things that look great in this apartment, but might not be a good fit for another space. So if you say, need a rug for your living room that needs to be a really specific size, consider DIYing one or buying one on the cheap — so you don’t spend a lot of money on something that will only be with you for a year or two.

Buying things you think you’re supposed to have, instead of things you’ll actually use.
Sure, the conventional wisdom may be that you need a coffee table, or two nightstands, or a certain number of pots and pans, but it’s your home. So rather than buying things because you feel like you ought to have them, buy things that you want and know you’ll actually use.