It’s always so pleasantly surprising when a minor change has dramatic effects. Case in point: that one minute eyebrow tweeze that suddenly makes your whole face look more symmetrical, or the perfect leather jacket that transforms your entire wardrobe. The same goes for your home. We’ve all been there — something compels you to move your dresser three feet to the right, and voilá, your bedroom is miraculously twice as spacious.
We were craving a change, so we talked to Noa Santos, co-founder and CEO of a service called Homepolish that was created to match homeowners and renters with interior designers. Basically, this guy knows a thing or two about how to spruce up a place, and we were all ears. He gave us ten simple ideas that will give your apartment a serious update.
1. Entryway upgrade
Making a great design impression starts the minute people walk into your home, apartment, or office. Be in tune with what people need when they arrive. Instead of the entryway being a quick transition spot from outside to inside, make it a purposeful and considered space. Set up a space in your entryway that cleanly and conveniently stows away coats, scarves, and hats with hooks or hangers. This will be far better than having to trot items off to some far-flung spare room or closet. Adding in a small storage bench allows for a place to hide away bags or other items guests may be toting around. If you’re the type who likes people to take off their shoes upon arrival, it allows for a convenient space where people can put their footwear. (Instead of having a giant line or pile of shoes, which is an eyesore, not to mention a hazard.) Also, consider putting in a mirror, so guests can make sure they look presentable (and not weather-worn).
2. Dimmer lights
Lighting is a huge part of creating the right ambiance in a home or office. You can spend hours and hours scouring the lighting departments for the perfect sconce, table light, or pendant, but an easy way to up any lighting is to put it on a dimmer. This allows you to adjust the lighting to just the right amount you need for the occasion. Just be sure to hire a professional – you don’t want anyone shocking themselves out there!
3. Unique cabinet and drawer pulls/knobs
Instead of allowing hardware (a usually overlooked and utilitarian part of home and office design) to blend into drawers and cabinets, make it stand out! Brushed brass, rose gold, and blackened metal have all been favorite finishes for hardware, depending on the color of the surrounding furnishings. Or you can be really daring and choose knobs and pulls with wacky patterns.
4. Painted moldings
Moldings around ceilings, floors, and doorframes need not be ignored! Just because they are architectural details doesn’t mean you can’t change them. Painting moldings the same color as the wall can help the cohesiveness of a room, or alternatively (and perhaps more exciting), paint it a contrasting color. This will put a modern spin on the room and highlight the beauty of that architectural detail.
5. Gallery wall revamped
When people imagine gallery walls, they imagine geometric layouts of pictures and paintings, all in their perfect rectilinear frames. But gallery walls aren’t just for art! Hang pieces from your travels, treasured momentos, small knick knacks…just because it’s 3-D doesn’t mean it can’t go on your wall. Even empty frames can be hung on the wall (as long as they’re really beautiful)!
6. Curated vignettes
More than any other space in your home, vignettes can tell people about you and your story. Now, this isn’t an excuse for a ton of clutter and junk to be sticking around your space. On your desk, sideboards, side tables, etc, choose a small selection of items that all coordinate together. Think about the story you want to tell, and try to tie each vignette together with a subtle theme.
7. Invest in art
You might be telling yourself that you’re too young, too poor, or too whatever to have art in your space, because art is for rich millionaires who live in penthouses. You couldn’t be more wrong! Picking out and investing in pieces that really speak to you will add an air of sophistication to your space. (Even if you have to splurge on a poster version instead of the hand-signed original.)
8. Smart electronics
This may seem like a boring detail, but it makes a world of difference when it comes to your home or office. Whenever you have an excess of power cords whether its from appliances, entertainment systems, or lighting, make sure you organize them. Nicely wrap them up and hide them behind large pieces of furniture, or stealthily conceal them under rugs. It’s much better than having a mess of cords.
9. Landing spots
No, we aren’t talking about planes. Landing spots are high-traffic areas in your home. Think about the spot before your bathroom mirror, the kitchen sink, the stove, and your bedside. Pick out small area rugs to designate these spaces and make them special. Since these are also areas where you’re typically barefoot, your feet will thank you.
10. Don’t forget to make it homey
Whether it’s a home or an office space, make it welcoming. Add in small items such as pillows, throws or books to make a space look as if it’s been lived in. Not only does it make it more inviting, it also makes newcomers more at ease.