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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

12 ways to make your apartment feel more ‘grown up’

By Cathy Hobbs Tribune News Service

Perhaps you have just graduated from college, just started your first job, or maybe you just rented your first apartment or purchased your first home, regardless it is an exciting rite of passage.

Part of the excitement relates to the opportunity to make a space your own, infusing your own taste and design sensibility. But good design doesn’t have to be expensive and there are a number of easy and affordable ways to make your pad feel fun, yet sophisticated.

High contrast. High contrast is a designer tip that anyone can use in their own space. Sometimes a single color palette can come across as unsophisticated, while using one that focuses “high contrast” techniques such as black and white, light and dark, can come across as more luxurious.

Pastel colors. Pastel colors are back. They are youthful and sophisticated; don’t be afraid to use colors such as soft blue, pastel pink or mint green.

High vs. low. Designers do it on the runway, so why not do it in your home? Mixing more expensive pieces with flea market or thrift store finds can be a fabulous way to create an overall sophisticated look.

Decorate with books. Decorating with books is one of the most affordable ways to design, and a “go to” designer trick. One way to display books is to turn them “spline in” in order to create a consistent look.

No stuffed animals. Stuffed animals are a no-no if you want your space to feel grown up and sophisticated. If you can’t bear to part with them, consider placing them in a decorative bin.

Add greenery. Plants, succulents, florals and trees are good for your environment as it relates to oxygen and health and are also a great way to infuse color and sophistication into your space at an affordable price.

Go for glass. Glass pieces of furniture are a fraction of the cost of pieces that are made out of wood. Glass coffee or dining tables can help to create an open, airy feel at an approachable price.

Purchase quality large pieces. If you can afford it, try to buy one or two high quality pieces that you intend to own for years, if not decades to come. Some ideas of where to start include case goods such as armoires or dressers, beds and sofas.

Consider leather. Leather if properly maintained, can be long lasting and add an element of maturity to a space.

Purchase inexpensive artwork. Artwork is like the icing on a cake and can really help to make sure a space feels complete. Framed art tends to look more expensive than pieces that are not. Some ideas for inexpensive art include framing pieces of fabric, posters, calendars, wrapping paper and even post cards.

Frame photographs. Whether they are from a vacation or your own collection, framed black and white photographs can be interesting and mature.

Add mirrors. Especially in smaller space, mirrors can really help to open a space and can even help to act as windows. Mirrors can also serve as an inexpensive design solution.