So we're at that point lives, out of college and just beginning our professional career (or grad school), where we have learned to appreciate the finer things in life yet have absolutely nothing to afford them with. Does this mean that we are stuck living dorm-style where we will forever stick pictures on the wall in the form of [insert your favorite shape] and hope that it looks somewhat like a piece of art? Not at all. Here are a few tips to indulge on the finer things you want but still keep it within your budget.
1. Simpler is better
The modern minimalist look is in these days. Less stuff = Less money. So choose wisely, and then tell yourself no more!
2. Think about your habits
What do you use the most everyday? The couch? The table? Your dresser? Or maybe it's your coffee machine? Your TV? Invest in what you use often as well as what you appreciate. Be careful though, this is not what you hope to use in the future ("I'm totally going to use this espresso maker every weekend!"..."sweetie, you don't drink coffee"), but what you have observed yourself to use the most in the past. The rest can wait.
3. Focus on a few details
You don't have to spend a fortune dressing up every detail. Just like in a picture or photograph, too many things are distracting, and no one is going to look meticulously at every part of the room.
The key to having a nice apartment is to have a few really nice things, positioned in a way such that they have a high appearance rate. Determine where the eyes are drawn in the room. That's where your money should go. Focus on buying high quality things there, because they are likely going to be viewed the most. The rest can just be a clean backdrop.
4. Buy things over time
The secret to having more money is simply time. Make a wish list and make yourself wait. This will also bring more satisfaction to your purchases. Overtime, you will build a richer backdrop by adding accents here and there to "fill" the room.
A tip here: ever buy something that was just spectacular in the store but didn't actually quite make sense after you brought it home? Many times vendors create visual illusions by perfectly positioning and embellishing items in order to incentivize purchases, so make sure though that even if something looks great in the store, that it actually fits the rest of your apartment. Try to isolate the item in your mind and see whether it would really fit.
5. And the most important rule of all: don't buy just to fill it up
Unless it is a necessity of an item, it's better to have nothing for now than to fill it with something cheap or that you just simply don't care for. Not only will you likely find something better later (and end up throwing out the first), there's nothing wrong with leaving a little empty space...for the imagination for now.
Things, too, will have more meaning if you take your time collecting:
Some last words...
I like to think that the best apartments are those that you can read like a book. They tell a living, breathing story of the people who live there. First impressions of ambiance and the atmosphere instantly reveals the owners' personality and perhaps moods. A closer look at individual items reveal more specific interests and hobbies. Then upon deeper inspection, pictures, souvenirs, and treasured possessions begin to tell a rich story of a person's past, present and future aspirations, where they came from, how they think, and who they are today.
Apartments tell stories. Here's my visit to a 17th-century aristocrat's home in Paris: Muse Jacquemart André.