New Home or Apartment Mistakes to Avoid

December 17, 2020 Atlanta, GA, USA

As someone who has taken pleasure in decorating my own space for the first time, I have learned a few things along the way. Through my own mistakes, I have learn some really valuable lessons when it comes to decorating my home. 

My biggest home decor mistake to avoid is not having a place for everything. As a person walks into a room, you don't want them to fixate their eye on the 50 products on your bathroom counter but rather the entire space. Instead of throwing everything in a drawer or closet, use specific organizers or baskets for items such as toys, shoes, skin or haircare products to allow the space to flow without clutter. This also sets the expectation of returning items to where they belong.

Before you move in, wait to buy your furniture. Sometimes you have an idea or picture of how a piece will work within your home, but you never actually know until you're moved in. I bought the cutest mid-century gray chair from Target to go along with our green couch. Little did I know, a friend's parents would give us their couch for free. We now had two couches, and the green one was less comfortable. That one went to Nick's office and the free couch went to our living room. The free couch is a greige (gray/beige) color, and I'm stuck with a gray chair next to it since I had already bought it. I'm very aware there is too much gray now, but it's too late to go back.  

Piggybacking off of waiting to purchase your items, avoid buying the wrong rug or furniture size. When you buy too small of a rug for the space, it can often get lost. In the same way, if you are working with smaller spaces, you don't want to purchase a bulky couch or a rug that overpowers the area. Once you have an idea of size for furniture, try taping out the different dimensions of rugs with painter's tape. A rug should fit the front legs of all your sitting furniture and come out just a little past the sides. With the taping method, this helps visualize what fits best with your furniture and room size. 

A tough lesson I have learned is refrain from buying practical, everyday home items only because they're cheap or cute. For example, I bought the CUTEST marbled trash can for our kitchen. It was on sale at TJ Maxx and was under $30, which is good for a tall trashcan. Little did I know it was a piece of garbage (pun not originally intended, but now it is). I should have bought a sturdier trashcan that didn't necessarily match my ~aesthetic~ because now the foot lever breaks every time I press on it too hard. To tag onto this, spend a little more for stronger paper towels and toilet paper. You end up using less in the long run, and it's just so much better. I know both of these are tough when you're on a budget, but think of it this way, an item that's cheap will likely break sooner and now it's going to cost even more in the long run when you have to repurchase the item again. 

This is something I knew prior to moving in, but I think a lot of people need to hear it. You can find a lot of furniture second hand. Between Facebook Marketplace, vintage and antique stores, and thrift stores, there are some unique items out there that costs way less than retail prices. They're sometimes free! Some great items you can purchase second hand are mirrors, tables (nightstands, coffee tables, dinning room tables), home decorations, picture frames (which I've come to learn are very expensive new??), or funky chairs. If an item is a little outdated, what I like to do is look at the design and picture it as a different color. If you don't have a lot of refurbishing materials, chalk paint is a great option. You simply just have clean off the surface and can start painting immediately- no sanding required! For those who are a little more crafty, re-staining a wood piece or reupholstering are always options. If you have a little extra money to spare, you can always give your furniture to someone who does refurbishing for a living/hobby! 

My last mistake to avoid is keeping items that don't serve you. Don't keep something from your old place that you keep trying to find a spot for or are forcing it to work. As someone who wanted to reuse as much as possible from apartments past. I did this a lot. Eventually I just realized I don't need it anymore if I can't find a spot that works for it. A lot of times, our taste changes as we both get older and find new spaces. It's okay to keep the sentimental pieces, but there is no use in keeping decor with no design purpose because it eventually turns into junk.

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