Sprucing up your first home can be a daunting task, but don’t let your to-do list intimidate you. Interior designer Tala Singson shares these handy tips to help get you started in your studio unit.
Cover the basics. You don’t have to get every single piece of furniture or décor you see when you’re out shopping for your home. Just stick to the basics first: a dining set, a sofa, a bed, or a sofa bed, and a coffee table. That way, you’ll still manage to create functional spaces without spending too much. Make sure, though, that you invest on quality since you’ll be using these pieces for a long time. “Acquire basic furniture while keeping in mind [the pieces’] longevity and flexibility in style. In doing so, you are able to take [along] these investment pieces if you decide to move homes or change the overall look of your space,” says Singson. Later on, you can add more items as you see fit.
Use neutral colors. Neutral hues like beige, dove gray, and off-white are always a safe bet. Singson explains, “A neutral color scheme provides a blank canvas that you can play around with. If you’re not the ‘beige type’ and want a bolder, more unconventional neutral color, try dark gray or sage green.” If you want more interest, pick one wall as a focal point and paint it in a bold hue, like teal, burgundy, or hunter green.
Define areas. Studio units usually come with a limited floor area, so it’s not a good idea to put up walls to define spaces. To keep your unit from looking like a plain box, take note of proper layout. “Defined areas give a sense or organization to the space and visually allows rooms to breathe,” says Singson. An area rug can visually separate your living space from the dining area. A slim bookcase can serve as a divider to conceal your bedroom and give you privacy. “Wall decor or groups of framed prints, as well as different lighting fixtures, can also help differentiate your living area from your bedroom,” adds the interior designer.
Play with accessories. An affordable trick to spruce up a bare home is using accessories. Throw pillows, for instance, can instantly jazz up a plain couch. A tablecloth can easily create a festive vibe for when you have guests coming over. These accessories don’t cost an arm and a leg, which means you can change them up on occasion without spending much. Singson advises, “If you [can’t decide on] what kind of accessories to put in, think of big sculptural pieces for an empty bookshelf—they can instantly fill up empty spaces while still adding interest. If all else fails, my go-to accessory is a potted plant—it lends a fresh, lively vibe to a bland space.”
Add personal touches. How do you make sure your studio space does not look like a model unit? Personalize it. Stack a few of your favorite magazines on your coffee table. Corral some of your travel mementoes and display them on the TV console. “Don’t buy an item that doesn’t speak to you,” says Singson. “You will be coming home to this space, and [you’ll] want to feel that it reflects who you are. Take your time personalizing the studio unit. More often than not, it happens organically.”
Keep things organized. A small space with plenty of unsightly knickknacks lying around will only look smaller, so make it a habit to keep it orderly. Keep clutter in your studio unit at bay by stashing them in baskets, but make sure to do a weekly purge so that they don’t accumulate. Don’t fall into the trap of getting too many storage bins, though, lest they also clutter your space. Singson suggests getting identical bins and baskets for uniformity. “Make sure these baskets have their proper places, too, and keep them there,” she adds.
Tala Singson is a freelance interior designer. She is the former associate style editor of Real Living magazine. You may get in touch with Singson at email@example.com.
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