Decorating for Renters – Part 4: What to Buy for Your Apartment

There are several buying categories for renters. These are things which are flexible, decorative, affordable and portable.

Furniture purchases need to be thought out carefully. Consider size and style. A piece that is too large or extreme in style might not fit in your next apartment or home. If you stick to the medium in sizes and finish you have the flexibility of using each item in different rooms and different ways.

Storage is always a problem and furniture choices can overcome defects in apartment and house design. Lamp, cocktail and sofa tables can be used for other purposes than just to put at the end of your sofa. Tables with drawer or shelf space are great. Night chests can be used as livingroom tables; they usually have more available storage. File cabinets that are carved and decorated can be used for storage. Sofa tables can double as serving pieces for the dining area. A drop leaf or gate leg table used as a sofa table gives you dining table. Before buying a case piece, table or chest, try to think of how many ways you can use it. If you can’t think of at least two ways to use a piece of furniture, consider carefully before you buy it

One word of advice: if you fall in love with a piece of furniture just because it is beautiful, buy it. Everything in your home doesn’t have to be practical and a truly beautiful piece of furniture is something you will enjoy for years. Use it as a focal point, light it and decorate it and don’t worry if it doesn’t have half a dozen uses. These pieces become your treasures and you will move them form place to place and design rooms around them.

Seating can be flexible as well. Choose upholstered dining chairs which mix with your livingroom furniture. Extra chairs can be used in entries and bedrooms. This is where your carefully chosen color scheme will help you. The chair can be used for dining or extra livingroom seating and the color and style will blend.

There are the obvious choices, as well. Sleep sofas are invaluable and come in many sizes and styles. Many are available with air mattresses are really are comfortable. Large storage ottomans can be used as cocktail tables and places to store the bedding for the sleepers as well as extra seating when entertaining. Smaller ottomans can store under sofa tables for a decorative and useful addition.

Armoires, are available in an enormous number of sizes styles and configurations. They can be used for combination storage-tv on top, table linens in the drawers, or clothing if the armoire is in the bedroom.

Moving beyond furniture, screens either decorative or purchased from the home store, will hide work spaces and storage. Architectural elements such as columns or bricks can be used for display, as shelving and to hide ‘uglies.’ Plants, real or really good artificial plants, add interest and can be used to hide an awkward corner. If these are lit with some of the new halogen spots they make a really beautiful accent corner and brighten a room.

Choose lamps carefully. Stick to simple, classic shapes and be creative with shades. They come in beautiful colors and styles. Don’t under light.

Visit the nearest large craft store. You can find small accent pieces of furniture and shelving there as well as picture frames and other decorative elements which would be much more costly in a design or home store.

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