Designer 101: Answers to Our Reader’s Design Questions!

Alissa woman with paint chipsAs a reminder, it’s DESIGN MONTH here at My First Apartment! We’re working with Kate Marengo of Arranging Order to share tips of the trade, as well as show how interior design can, really, be quite affordable. Check out the first post of the series here. In today’s post, we’ve worked with Kate to answer our readers’ questions. But, we had SUCH a great response that we’ve broken up your Q’s into two posts.  Be sure to check back next week for Part II – in the meantime, enjoy Kate’s quick fixes to everything from paint colors to apartment storage below!

Ashley: I’m moving into my first apartment next month and I am thinking of going with a sort of sage green color scheme (hehe that rhymes). Anyway, what color/type of wood goes well with sage green? I’m asking so I can have a better idea of what to look for when I shop for a coffee table and such!

Kate’s Response to Ashley: Congratulations on moving into your first apartment!  How exciting!   I use sage a lot in my designs, because the color is so versatile.  It goes well with any wood, but I prefer it with darker woods and stains.  My most favorite color combinations with sage tend to be brown, camel, and light blues.  But you can also use yellow, black, taupe, etc.  When using any type of “earthy” color, it’s a safe bet to use other earth colored tones.

Catherine: How do you add a lot of color when your not allowed to paint the “apartment white” walls?!

Kate’s Response to Catherine: When you are not allowed to paint your apartment’s white walls, there are several things you can do to add pops of color.  My favorite way (as of recently) is applying decals.  Decals are relatively inexpensive and you can find them on Etsy.  They tend to come in a wide variety of colors, and are easy to apply (it just takes a little patience and time).  The best thing about decals is that if they are installed properly, you can remove them without damaging the walls in anyway.

Another great way to add color to your walls is to do a vignette of frames arranged in a stylistic way.  There are many ways to arrange a large grouping of frames (check out Pinterest for ideas!) and you can take it one step further by buying cheap frames from somewhere and spray painting them in a bold color (be sure to use the same color for continuity).  One more easy way to install color on your walls is to go to a fabric store and pick some fabric you love.  Tack the fabric up neatly on a smaller wall to make a big impact.

Maya: My husband and I just moved into an apartment with hardwood flooring. (We’ve always had carpet.) The floors are beautiful, but we don’t have much furniture and are wondering if we should buy some interesting rugs to add pizzazz. Good idea, or should we let the floors shine on their own? Also, do the rugs have to match each other in some way??

Kate’s Response to Maya: Maya, congrats to you and your husband on your new apartment.  I love hardwood floors.  It sounds like the floors are in good condition, so covering them with area rugs is purely a stylistic choice.  I always recommend using area rugs in spaces like the dining and living areas, because it helps “ground” the furniture and also defines a space more easily.  If you have an open floor plan, and will be using multiple area rugs, be sure that they are of the same type and color scheme.  This will help blend the two spaces.

A: How do I add more storage in a way that looks good?

Kate’s Response to A: There are many ways to incorporate storage solutions that look good.  The easiest way is to combine storage with function.  For example, there are ottomans that open up to reveal storage inside.  If you buy a side table, make sure there is a drawer.  Another important way is to make sure that your organizing items are of similar design, for example, if you are using baskets, be sure to buy the same baskets to be used within the room.

Author My First Apartment
Alissa

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I've lived in apartments in 6 cities (including 2 foreign countries). Does that make me an expert? As of now, my ceiling isn't leaking and I don't have rodents (knock on wood) -- so I'm going to say yes . . . but ask me again tomorrow:) These days, I'm enjoying life Chicago style, but my years in Brooklyn are never far from my mind. P.S. By day I work at GolinHarris, but these opinions are totally, 100% my own.

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