10 Ways to Keep Falling in Love with Your Apartment
Are you moving into your first-ever apartment and wondering how to even begin to fill it with furniture and decor you love (and won’t regret a few months from now)? Make your way through our starter pack. This content was created independently by our editorial team and generously underwritten by the Toyota Corolla Cross.
Congratulations! You’ve found your personal style, gotten over the major design hump of decorating your first apartment, and can’t help but smile when you stand in the middle of your home and fully take in the space that you’ve created for yourself. But, the question is: What now? How do you keep falling in love with your apartment, week after week, month after month, maybe even year after year?
Luckily, with a couple of simple strategies and mindset shifts, you can make sure your apartment feels like home for the long haul. Ahead, find 10 ways to keep your apartment at the top of your love list.
1. Let Yourself Keep Settling in
Sure, you can’t make major changes in a place you rent, but continuing to introduce small, reversible updates can make the space feel homier and more and more like you. For example, California-based interior designer Kelly Finley recommends hanging up artwork (yes, with a hammer and nails) and even painting your walls with your landlord’s permission. “A lot of people are worried about their security deposits so they don’t personalize their spaces, but those small easy-to-fix changes can change the feel of your whole space,” she says.
2. Get Sentimental
Accumulating decor for your apartment can be overwhelming (and, honestly, expensive). One way to soften the blow and make your space feel more lovable? After you set up your apartment, continue filling it with items that remind you of things and people you love. Next time you go to your grandma’s house, ask if she can part with a knick knack to display on your shelves, or print out photos of family memories that make you feel nostalgic (even if those things aren’t officially “on trend”). “A blown-up photo from your favorite family vacation will mean so much more than a random print from HomeGoods,” says home consultant and lifestyle blogger Sarai Reed. “Let your space reflect who you are and you will always feel affirmed there.”
3. Host People You Love
Over the last few years, you’ve likely experienced more isolation than normal, which makes it super easy to fixate on imperfections in your home. To remind yourself of your apartment’s purpose — making you and others feel cozy and welcomed — prioritize hosting people you care about. Whether you add a routine potlucks with your friends to the calendar or simply have a loved one over for coffee once a week, you’ll inevitably take time to see your space through others’ eyes as you prepare for the gatherings. “Hosting always reminds me of how my space functions, what I’m able to do in it with others, and that how I feel in my space is the most important thing,” says Amilia James, a licensed clinical social worker and home Instagrammer.
4. Rearrange Your Furniture
You don’t have to buy new things to get excited about your space. Moving around what you already own costs absolutely nothing and is totally reversible, but can still leave you with a brand-new look and feel. Sometimes seeing a piece of furniture or decor from a new perspective — literally — is all it takes to remember why you fell for it in the first place. “As much as you are able, keep moving furniture around just to try out different combinations and setups,” says Megan Hopp, founder and principal at Megan Hopp Design. “Varying layouts might surprise you in terms of beauty and function and allow you to utilize the space in an entirely different way.”
5. Regularly Rotate Your Textiles
Fresh bedding can totally change the vibe of your room, so instead of purchasing a second set of the same bedding for laundry day, spring for a totally distinct alternative. Then, every time you change your sheets and duvet cover, you’ll feel like you’re redecorating your space. Finley says you can do the same thing with throw pillows in the living room, or even throw blankets — just keep your extras in a labeled bin in your closet or storage space, and change them out seasonally or whenever you want to feel inspired.
6. Update Your Hardware
Something as simple as switching from chrome to painted ceramic knobs in your kitchen or changing out your dresser drawer knobs for something that didn’t just come with the furniture can make the whole space feel more stylish and less generic. “New fixtures on a cabinet or dresser is a simple and inexpensive way to add some flair and personalize something, and you can always put the original knobs back on if you want to,” says Finley. “I do it sometimes even when I buy a new piece of furniture.”
7. Practice Self-Compassion
As your life ebbs and flows, so will the state of your apartment. You might hit a rough spot in your personal life and have less capacity for all the cleaning, organizing, and design strategizing you used to do. When you don’t have time or energy to invest in your apartment like you want to, be as kind to yourself as you would another person in your shoes — and resist the urge to compare yourself or your home to others (even if that means temporarily deleting Instagram or Pinterest). “Sometimes, we feel pressure to get things perfect, but you’re allowed to make changes because you need them in the moment,” says James. “Try to practice self-compassion by letting go of the things that once felt important or that you used to be able to do easily.”
8. Take Photos
Whether you share them on social media or not, snapping photos of your apartment is a great way to notice (and fall in love with) the details that make your space so special. Plus, as you settle into your home, you can look back — hopefully with fondness — and see how much your apartment has changed. If you want to share your home with the world, then you can also submit your home tour to AT!
9. Adopt a Gratitude Practice
It’s easy to focus on what you don’t like about your apartment and all the things you want to change. While it can be important to make changes to improve your space’s functionality, it’s also important to remind yourself of what your apartment actually is: a safe space for you to be yourself — regardless of how it’s decorated. “When we are feeling emotionally stuck in our lives, gratitude can help us bring in another perspective, reminding us how our homes are serving us even when things feel hard,” says James.
10. Keep Decorating!
Remember: Your apartment does not need to be “done” the moment you move in. In fact, it’s much better if it’s not! And since you hopefully followed this advice, you’ll likely continue to decorate as time goes on — and fall a little more in love with your apartment with each change. “People tend to neglect the fine details after setting up their apartment because they get design fatigue, but luckily this is something you do little by little,” says Larisa Barton, founder of Soeur Interiors. “I love adding pieces from travel or vintage finds to bookcases and case goods. This way, the apartment grows with you and is ever-evolving.”
Additional reporting by Avery Matera