Every young adult dreams of the day they leave home and move into their very own apartment. What’s less clear is what exactly is necessary and attainable on a “first-apartment-budget” – bearing in mind that the majority of individuals moving into their first apartment are students or newly qualified individuals, living on a somewhat limited budget.
Mattress & Base
The single most important item in your new home should be a new mattress! Unsurprisingly a mattress base comes in at a close second. Although you’ve seen many New York-style apartments with mattresses directly on the floor (and you're aware that this trend is considered boho-chic among the home decor elite) - unless it has been impeccably planned and furnished, it looks less like the Brooklyn studios that you see in movies than you think. Bedside tables and lamps, although not strictly necessary, will complete the look, and should be among the first few things you purchase.
Reviving Previously-Loved Pieces
Although grandma’s paisley (and somewhat moth-eaten) couch is not your first choice in living room decor, inheriting second-hand furniture will save thousands of rands when furnishing a new home on a tight budget. However, showcasing this exquisite piece of 1940’s craftsmanship in what you hoped would be a Top Billing-worthy flat may not be the decor disaster you first imagined.
Diverting attention with a few artfully-placed scatter cushions is a simple and cost-effective way to revive old furniture. Vibrant colour and pattern choices are eye-catching and stylish!
A soft, warm throw draped over the armrest (or entire couch if need be) is another way to draw attention away from a hand-me-down, especially one that looks a little worse-for-wear.
If budget is not an issue, consider having the couch reupholstered by a professional. Faux material has become increasingly popular because it offers a wide variety of quality, economical fabrics to suit any taste.
What’s more; rich jewel-toned accents, velvet fabrics, upholstered headboards and repurposed pieces are hot home decor trends in 2017. Grandma’s couch may very well be in fashion this year!
Furniture that Fits
Fortunately for space- and budget-conscious consumers, over-sized furniture is no longer in. With a move towards smaller, more convenient living spaces, the inclusion of gigantic sofas is impractical and somewhat audacious in most apartments. Rather, living room furniture trends have streamlined - incorporating practical sizing and design choices that make the most of available space.
Comfort is the macrotrend of the season! Avoid sharp-edged, linear furniture and instead opt for pieces that emphasise deep relaxation and peace. Something you’d enjoy coming home to after a long, hard day at the office.
Dining Room Suite
Sit down meals and dinner parties at the dining room table is an important rite of passage for social young adults; however, it is not the end of the world to eat on your lap until you are comfortable enough financially to purchase a good quality dining room set. Thankfully, many modern, open-plan apartments come standard with a breakfast nook which can serve as a dining table in the meantime.
Pots, Pans, Cutlery & Crockery
Investing in quality kitchenware - such as pots, pans, cutlery and crockery – is a decision you’re not likely to regret. Kitchenware can be expensive; however, spending more in the beginning will guarantee that what you buy lasts. Mr Price Home offers quality kitchenware at a notably lower price than many other home stores. Keep a look out for sales at Boardman’s - for superior quality at a fraction of the price it would normally sell for. High quality dinnerware in neutral tones is a versatile option likely to outlast fickle fashion trends. A few kitchen essentials necessary for any starter home are high-grade cookware, dinnerware, coffee mugs, water glasses, cutlery, serving spoons, cutting boards, a can opener and quality knives for preparing food. The amount needed will depend entirely on the number of people occupying the home or likely to be served at a dinner party, and the budget.
Bear in mind that a kettle, toaster and microwave oven will also need to be purchased, sooner rather than later. Prioritise according to your needs.
Let there be Light
Proper lighting can transform a home, and the addition or replacement of a single fixture can make the world of difference. Design trends for 2017 feature wall mounts, pendants and floor lamps with industrial, geometric or natural inspirations. Many of these designs can be accommodated into your home, both simply and affordably. Proper lighting, in addition to overhead ceiling lights, can create an element of space and cleanliness.
Don’t forget that extension cords and two-prong plug adapters are essential in your new home!
No room would be complete without curtains or blinds. Apart from protecting the inhabitant’s privacy and obscuring early-morning sunlight, curtains assist in keeping the home warm in winter and cool in summer, as well as limiting drafts and absorbing noise. Sheet Street offers a wide range of curtains in a variety of colours at an affordable price.
Bear in mind that price denotes quality and life-span. Buying the cheapest curtains you can find may mean that you’re ultimately sacrificing on things like noise absorption or fire resistance, and increasing the chance that the curtains will retain dirt and dust, or fray easily.
Take your time. Consider wisely. Prioritise. Purposeful decorating has its benefits, even if it happens over a longer period of time. Allowing yourself time to live in the apartment will give you a good idea of what is absolutely essential and what you’re able to go without for the time being. You may discover that your taste or decor plans change over the first few months. Waiting on things like art, rugs, pot plants will allow you to save up for decent quality and will ensure you make thoughtful decisions that you won’t regret at a later stage.