When does a new apartment start to feel like home? Sometimes it takes months to clean and rearrange furniture or find the perfect piece for your kitchen or living room.
But other times, you may find that your house feels like home within the first few days of moving in. All you need to do is follow a few helpful tips and tricks, like giving an old room a fresh coat of paint or a deep clean before it's out of the box.
We've compiled a list of top tips to help you personalize your space with as little hassle as possible.
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Clean, clean, clean!
If you're lucky enough to move into a clean apartment, congratulations. Most people can't communicate. Your new cage is probably a little dusty, a little dirty.
Before you pack the boxes and assemble the Ikea furniture, take the time to clear the empty spaces. Swiffer clean the floor, wipe the windows, scrub the kitchen counters until you see your reflection, pamper your bathroom and finish with a good old vacuum cleaner.
You start a new life in a new place. Why start with your former tenant's leftovers?
Cover the walls with fresh paint or wallpaper.
When my roommates and I moved into our apartment in New York, we were surrounded by bright yellow walls. It was strange for us – no more than two days. We soon realized that this much oil can be absorbed by your eyes.
So my roommates picked their favorite colors and changed the living room, hallway, bathroom and bedrooms from yellow to forest green, crisp white and light gray. It was a simple decision that breathed new life into our home and made it feel like our place, not just another NYC apartment.
Of course, with the consent of the landlord, you can change the impression of your new home with colors that reflect who you are and how you want your apartment to look. Don't go with the wall color you're given – look for whimsical backgrounds and eye-catching colors to make this space your own.
Please note. If your landlord allows you to paint, it will likely be on the condition that you paint the walls their original color when you move in.
Add scents that remind you of home
Create a space that feels like home with aromas that take you back to the old days. Maybe that means adding a Yankee candle to a basket of flavored sugar cookies or plugging a Glade Clean Linen air freshener into the living room vent to reminisce about the good old days. This trick also works if you're trying to get rid of bad smells in your apartment.
Carpets, curtains, mirrors and beds, oh my!
A few basic decor items can brighten up your space with minimal effort. Hang curtains over the windows to add character to a dull living room or bedroom.
If you're moving into a small apartment, hang mirrors in sunny areas to expand the space and add light. You can choose a more private space by decorating it with colorful patterned rugs and pillows.
Consider adding multiple layers of lighting to give your rooms a warm, spacious glow. Don't just rely on ceiling or table lamps.
A general rule of thumb for interior designers is to have three to four light sources in each room. Some of these resources may be purely functional, while others may add personality, character, and space.
For smaller rooms, consider small light sources such as table lamps and floor lamps, while larger spaces such as the living room or kitchen may require ceiling lights instead. Don't forget about darkness – control the atmosphere of your room by dimming the lights based on the time of day and the atmosphere of your room.
Decorate the walls with your favorite paintings and photos. Get creative and print your favorite family photos or artwork and hang it on a bare wall. Wall art will instantly transform your space and give it a different personal touch.
Liven it up with plants and cacti
Plants and cacti not only add life and greenery to your apartment, but also purify the air and lift your mood. Choose plants that match your plant care style: If you're killing a purchased plant, choose fuzzy containers, and if you're an intermediate or professional parent who knows your plants, choose a decorative cactus or string of pearls.
For more tips around the house, here's how to lift heavy boxes and furniture without hurting your back, and what you need to know before you move.