Every once in a while, when The Crap Shack starts throwing up a few renovating curveballs, things break down and need replacing, or the weeds in the garden start getting a little out of control and heading into knee-height territory, I begin looking enviously at friends who live in apartments.
While I love my house and its renovation potential, there is also a lot that appeals to me about a low-stress, low-maintenance apartment lifestyle.
Do you live in an apartment? Do you think apartment living limits your interior decorating capabilities? You’re not entirely mistaken. You do have less space to work with, thwarting the possibility of having a life-sized chessboard in your living room. Don’t let this dishearten you; there is a world of possibilities to help you achieve apartment style success.
Recently Civic Heart and I sat down with an apartment style expert: real estate stylist Sara James, the director of Perth Style Co., to pick her brain about bringing an apartment to life and working within spatial constraints. Sara and her partner, Kaitlin Beck, create 'style narratives'; styling properties across Perth about to hit the market to get a quick sale and the best possible price. Sara has graciously shared some of their style hacks that you can apply to your own apartment styling escapades.
1. Drop the Excess Furniture
Giant buffets and excess cabinetry can overrun any space – creating a closed-in feeling," says Sara. "Hold on to the key pieces you love and that will complement your apartment dimensions. Otherwise, things can get boxy very quickly.
Once you consider how many people are utilising the space daily, you’ll soon realise that second set of dining room furniture won’t be necessary. Keeping it minimal is the mantra here, always striving to omit clunky pieces where possible.
It can be a difficult transition – particularly if you’re coming from a sizeable home – but it’s all worth it when you walk through the door to an uncluttered environment. Most well-equipped apartment complexes have a ton of communal amenities; each one takes on the role of a separate room in a standard home – private dining areas, games rooms, lounge areas, etc.
The excess room that comes with a house usually translates to a whole lot of excess stuff. You’re confident to bring home unnecessary items since you have ample area to stuff them. When transitioning to apartment living, wipe the dust off your strategic hat to begin the declutter process.
Don’t have CDs anymore? Get rid of the CD player. If you don’t use a storage service, create your own system within the wardrobe to store belongings. Aim to efficiently tuck away excess stuff to avoid it infiltrating your hallways and benchtops. If it doesn’t serve a purpose – get rid of it. Three key decorative pieces on any surface do a sufficient job of exhibiting the theme you’re going for.”
3. Embrace Trends
Don’t be afraid to unleash your eclectic side. You can have a super modern, contemporary apartment and dress it with an old telephone. Fusing old with new is certainly the design trend of the moment. The latest fashion doesn’t need to swallow up your entire space; adding quirky accents here and there is an easy way to embrace trending styles but not let them take over.
There’s definitely a bohemian interior design inclination going around recently. You can channel this look by displaying anything made of recycled wood. Wild animal prints are also popular and bring us to the fourth style hack.
4. Channel your Inner Art Aficionado
Artwork is your secret weapon. It’s transformative, versatile and can create a homey vibe. You put in a minimal investment and get to extract maximum impact. It’s a quick and simple way to add character to your apartment or establish a theme throughout.
You don’t need to splash your cash on exorbitant pieces – quite the contrary. There’s an abundance of affordable prints, tapestries and paintings for you to choose from for your styling pursuits. The biggest drawcard of utilising artwork is when you get bored with a theme or just feel like a refresh, you can take it down and replace with an alternative in mere moments.
5. Chop and Change Accessories
You need a few key interchangeable items to add a personalised touch. They can tie into the theme you’re channelling, whether it’s industrial (succulents, hipster trinkets) or soft and elegant (fur throws, floristry).
There are countless accessories you could experiment with like:
Unique lighting: segregates an area. Position them across an island bench or toy around with pendant lights along the length of a dining table.
Fresh-cut plants: last longer than flowers, easy to maintain.
Coffee table books: pull together surrounding colours.
Glass items: creates illusion of transparency, opens up a space.
It’s not about constantly changing your key interior investments – a costly and time-consuming method. It boils down to sourcing affordable pieces you can repurpose on a regular basis, and that you want to see when you walk through the door each day.
If you want to find out more about the joys of owning and styling your own apartment, why not take a look at Civic Heart? A landmark development with 294 apartments waiting to be transformed into your own private haven.
Do you live in an apartment? What have you done to its interior that works - and what hasn't? Maya x