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Here’s How to Style Your Very First Apartment Like the Pros

Here’s How to Style Your Very First Apartment Like the Pros


Moving out for the first time is incredibly exciting! What’s even more exciting is getting to decorate your new home in your own unique way. No matter your design style, it always helps to get tips from the pros, especially if you’re just bursting with ideas and don’t know where to begin. Need some amazing inspiration to help you design your first apartment? Look no further 😉

Award-winning interior designers Phyllis Lui & Aleem Kassam are the principal designer duo for Kalu Interiors, a Vancouver-based design firm that has helped create stunning interiors for more than a decade. Here are Phyllis and Aleem’s tips on how to design your very first apartment just like the professionals do.

Keep The Furniture Neutral

In the earlier stages of designing your first apartment, try to go for more neutral furniture. These key furniture pieces basically act as a blank canvas and provide the perfect backdrop for pillows, throws art and accessories.

Opting for neutral will also allow you to take the largest and most expensive furniture with you when you move homes in the future, while also giving you the flexibility to update and change things in your home whenever you want, without big costs.

Furniture Placement is Key

Make sure you buy appropriately-sized furniture for your space. The last thing you want is an enormous sofa that takes up all the space in your living room. Keeping larger pieces against walls or on the outside of the space will help it to feel more airy and spacious.

And if you live in an apartment, don’t forget to measure the elevator and corridors to make sure you can get the furniture into the space!

Make Selections Together

Often times, clients purchase items one at a time and they only look at that specific item individually. The room(s), especially if they are open to one another, need to be thought out together and items need to be relatable to one another.

For example, if the dining table has an interesting and busier base, go easy on the design of the dining chairs! Putting all your ideas in a mood board is a fun and practical way to see the design as a whole.

Layer, Layer, Layer

It’s important to consider all elements of a space, both large and small. This is to ensure that every item within a space brings something of value and importance. For colour, contrast or function, the items you use can range from throws, pillows, rugs and lamps to art, florals and vases. The options are plentiful here!

Don’t be afraid to include multiples, adding a theme, and tying in accents through colour, finish or pattern. Accessories are what make a space your own and truly like a home. Sometimes, it will take a few different tries with arrangements and layouts for it to look right. Have fun with it 🙂

Don’t Be Afraid of Colour!

Colour is the easiest way to add personality to a space. Choose colours that are complimentary to each other. If you have a palette in mind before choosing the items, it will be easier to ensure that the space looks cohesive and well thought out.

The colour you choose should evoke a positive feeling within you, and spark joy! Don’t worry, it can always be changed, it just needs to stay consistent. That will make the space feel well-curated and thought out.

Go Big With Art

Don’t be afraid to use larger art pieces to make a dramatic statement! Art is a great way to inject your own personality into a space. Be careful of heights when hanging the art, though! One of the mistakes that we designers typically see is art being hung too high so that it doesn’t relate to the room or the space.

In a hallway, it should be hung at eye level (approximately 5’6”) to the middle of the piece. Adjust upwards if everyone in the house is tall or vice-versa! Keeping it eye-level is key 🙂

Connect with Phyllis & Aleem!
Phyllis’s Instagram: @pippylui
Aleem’s Instagram: @amkassam

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