10 tips for decorating your first apartment

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You’ve finally moved into your first apartment! All that’s left for you to do now is unpack your boxes and get set up. We’ll bet that even if you’re not sure where to start, you’re eager to transform the new place so it reflects your personality. To help you reach that goal, here are 10 tips for decorating your first apartment—without breaking the bank!

1. Planning your needs

Avoid the temptation to just go shopping and buy whatever suits your fancy, without taking into consideration what your new apartment really needs. Instead, walk around each room and note down the kinds of furniture or decorative elements you’d like to incorporate. Then divide your budget based on what each room needs and include the allocated amount to your list.

2. Don’t buy everything in one shot

Don’t blow your entire budget by purchasing all your furniture and decor at the same time! Wait until you’ve spent some time in your apartment before dressing your windows or buying accent furniture. This way, you’ll avoid getting curtains that are too thin for a room that gets a lot of sunlight, or purchasing an eight-person dining set when you eat all your meals in the living room while watching your favourite Netflix series. Be patient!

3. Dare to try some D.I.Y.

Admit it: Your Pinterest board is chock full of D.I.Y. projects. Well, now’s the time to try some! Decor D.I.Y. projects are affordable and often quite easy to pull off. You’ll also feel a sense of pride from knowing that you created a decorative item for your first apartment.

4. Buy a few high-end pieces

Instead of spending all your money on a bunch of dollar-store trinkets, set some cash aside for investing in some beautiful high-end items. Decor items like frames, plant pots and shelves can move with you from one apartment to the next for several years. Save up so you can buy things that will be more durable.

5. Support local designers

In addition to shopping at big-box stores, be sure to visit local designer boutiques for your decor items. A beautiful pottery piece, a macramé wall hanging like those available at NovaMercury, or a piece of furniture designed by a local artisan will give your apartment some flare without leaving you broke. For inspiration, check out our list of Québec artisans who sell their beautiful items on Etsy.

6. Create zones

Based on your lifestyle and needs, visualize how you will use each room in your apartment. If you live in a small apartment, use decorative elements to create zones. For instance, you can create a workspace in your bedroom by including a small desk, as well as decorations and useful items that will motivate you to get to work.

7. Turn your bathroom into a Zen retreat

The first few weeks after a move can be exhausting! Create a spa-like atmosphere in the bathroom within the first few days of moving so you have a mini sanctuary to go to whenever you need a break. Stock it with fresh white towels, place your favourite candle in the corner of the bath, add a few plants along the window, and relax! Need some inspiration? Check out our blog post on 10 ways to turn your bathroom into a peaceful oasis.

8. Decorate with family treasures

Incorporating objects that illustrate your family’s history will add a human touch to your decor. Place your grandmother’s woven bedspread at the foot of your bed. Place the family silver in marble utensil containers you can snap up for a bargain at liquidation stores. Create a gallery wall using family photos from your parents’ house.

9. Assess your collections

While we may be quite fond of them, our collections can sometimes take up valuable space. Take the time to review each item in your collection and decide if you still want it. (Do you really need those old microbrew bottles from your Cegep days?) Use your nicest and most interesting collections by combining them to create a vignette in a room.

10. Maximize small spaces

It’s not uncommon for a first apartment to be small. Remember, the best trick for creating the illusion of a bigger room—mirrors! Put up large mirrors in the entryway and dining room. You can also add round, porthole-type windows to a bedroom, or make the sun dance across the living room by placing a large mirror above the sofa, where the sun’s rays can reflect.


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