Journey Into Interior Decorating

Moving. The word itself evokes stress, annoyance, and images of boxes. Maybe there was a falling out with a roommate, a breakup, or you are out of the dorms. Either reason, you have your own space. However, it is pretty small and more than likely a rental. After moving to my apartment this summer, I wanted to make my new space my own.

For most of my early 20’s, I didn’t have a chance to decorate to make a place of my own. Usually, it was just grabbing what I needed or coordinating with someone else’s tastes. This time, I decided to take my time. Even with being a rental, I still want it to feel like home. So naturally, I went on to Pinterest. While I could get inspiration in terms of colors and vibes, I needed some practical guides. Interior decorating is often looked down on as something that anyone can do. It seems easy, but it is an art and science. 

For one thing, you have to consider how you use and feel within a space. There are colors, lines, textures, forms, and compositions to consider. Then you have the logistical aspects to consider. Rental terms from your landlord, if you work from home, do you have children, and the other little things to think about. Of course, the next thing to consider is how much stuff you want to bring with you and acquire in your new place. All of it can feel somewhat overwhelming.

Part of my journey into DIY interior design is figuring out what kind of furnishings I would be using. I'm 5'2 and the last thing I want is the constant struggle with climbing in and out of bed. Naturally, I went to IKEA for furniture that is a staple among renters. In the saga that I have told many of my friends about, Ikea does not offer complete bed frame kits for some odd reason. As a result, I had to sleep on an air mattress for longer than I would like to admit. Word to the wise: When buying furniture from IKEA, make sure you have ALL THE PARTS NEEDED.

Another thing that can trip people is this fear of a lack of taste or artistic abilities. It is far more essential to have a home that feels comfortable to you. One thing that has made home decorating so difficult is social media and numerous HGTV improvement shows. I was going to get an armchair for my reading corner. Then I remember how badly I wanted to have floor pillows. Once I laid them all out, I was giddy with how well it turned out. I am sure it doesn’t look as sleek, but it is perfect for afternoon reading sessions.

The ability to handle tools and take on projects can stop people in their tracks. One thing I learned when attempting to put up shelves was taking risks and then understanding your limits. After drilling four different holes into the wall, I decided it was best to apply some spackling compound, hang some posters over the holes and call it a day. I learned that putting up shelves is more a two-person project, and mistakes happen. If anything, I believe it gives a home more character. When company comes over, you can point out all of your various attempts at homemaking.

So whether you are renting for a whole year or subletting, you can make a home wherever you lay your head.

Rental Style

My Small Space

Decorating Your First Apartment

The Interior Design Handbook

Small Space Style

How to Make A House A Home

Small Spaces

The Life-changing Magic of Tidying up

Spark Joy

-Margaret Burke is a Technology Assistant at Lawrence Public Library.