Furnishing your apartment: our tips and tricks
The Danes lead the way with their concept of ‘hygge’: a cosy, stylish home fosters well-being and happy moments. With our furnishing and decorating tips, you can create a home that fits your style and makes living in your home a pleasure every day.
1. Getting inspired
Before you dive into the details of what your apartment should look like, get a feel for design styles and current trends. There are a lot of interior design magazines available on the market that can offer inspiration. And of course the internet is an inexhaustible source of ideas for furnishing and decorating. Do you use Instagram or Pinterest? Great, because you’re sure to find loads of pictures of apartments, rooms and decorating ideas with the right search terms. The more different styles you get to know, the sharper your own sense of style will be and the better idea you will have of how you want to live and what will suit your apartment.
Once you’ve decided on a style, you can create a mood board for every room. Put photos of different pieces of furniture, textiles and colours on a big board (pin board or large sheet of paper) to make sure that the individual pieces actually work together. A mood board helps you work out the style for your home and follow through on your plan later in the implementation phase.
2. Planning the rooms
Take a close look at the rooms in your apartment and decide which room will have which function. And bear in mind that you don’t necessarily have to use the rooms as they were intended by the architect or builder. Many parents, for example, opt for a smaller room as their bedroom and leave the bigger rooms to the kids. Look at how the size and configuration of the rooms and where sockets and any special features are located. If your apartment is on the small side, you will naturally choose different furniture than you would if you had loads of space. By the way: there are lots of apps that can help you plan. You can simply store floor plans of your rooms and virtually arrange furniture in the rooms in different ways to get a feel for the space.
3. Choosing the colour concept
A mood board can also help you choose the right colours. Light colours make the room seem bigger and have a fresh and cheerful effect. Darker and stronger colours make the room cosy with a sense of tranquillity. Don’t be shy about trying some colour – all-white walls can quickly seem cold and uninviting. You can either colour all the walls of a room or just one wall that you want to highlight. However you decide to do it, make sure that the furniture also follows the colour scheme so that the walls and furnishings create a coherent picture.
4. Choosing furnishings
Now it’s time for the heart of your concept – the furniture. Think about how you want to arrange it in the individual rooms. Note that the size of the furniture should also match the size of the respective room. A large, rustic wooden dining table can easily overwhelm a small dining corner. And a small two-seater sofa in an expansive living room can look a little forlorn. Also, try to avoid simply putting all the furniture against the wall. Play with the space you have and create visual partitions between the different areas. A sideboard, for example, can act as a divider between the living and dining areas. A couch set a bit further into the room creates a more dynamic impression. Rugs are also good at creating visual separation between areas. The bed in the bedroom doesn’t necessarily have to be against the wall. Be creative and open to change.
Furnishing a small apartment
Tasteful, inviting design has nothing to do with the size of an apartment. But small apartments do have less space. So it’s all the more important to use the space thoughtfully without overloading the rooms.
Consider the following points when furnishing a small apartment:
- Opt for multifunctional furniture that can be unfolded or taken out if needed. Furniture items with castors are easy to move if they are positioned in front of cabinet doors, for example.
- If you don’t have room for an office, you can set up a home-office corner in the living room or bedroom. There are small desks that hang on the wall that you only unfold when needed.
- A bar table with stools can serve as a dining area and doesn’t take up much space.
- Mirrors make small rooms look bigger, reflect light and make an elegant impression.
- Plan for shelves and cabinets up to the ceiling. They make the room seem higher and create more storage space.
- Curtains and drapes that go down to the floor also make the room seem higher and create the impression of more space.
- Make use of nooks and crannies for storage.
- Install shelves and cabinet on the wall instead of putting them on the floor. The more free floor space you have, the less cramped small spaces seem.
- Light colours make rooms feel bigger, so they are particularly ideal for small rooms. But you can also opt for bolder colours, as darker tones create cosiness and visual depth. With a modicum of skill and the right light accents, it can make a very charming and elegant impression in a small room.
Furnishing a large apartment
In a large apartment, you have a wealth of options and you can really get creative in your furnishing decisions. But that doesn’t necessarily make things any easier. Large rooms can easily feel sterile or cold and it’s not always easy to make them warm and inviting. Darker, stronger colours can help by creating a cosy, warm atmosphere. It’s also a good idea to create clear structures in a large room; otherwise the furniture can appear randomly tossed together. Design the individual areas according to themes and separate them from each other visually. For example, in a large living room you can use one area as a dining area, one area for the couch and the TV and another for a reading corner with a comfortable armchair, a bookcase and a discreet reading light. It’s also a good idea to separate the individual areas with light accents. And of course, in a large home you can also have large pieces of furniture.
5. Finding great textiles
Whether you have a small apartment or a large house, textiles adorn your home like fine clothes and make it warm and cosy. They also absorb sound. Does it ever feel unusually noisy when you have multiple guests, even though they’re only talking? Textiles can help by absorbing the sounds. Drapes and curtains create a comfortable atmosphere. Rugs provide a beautiful frame for your furniture. They can also help structure the space. Bedspreads and pillows on the couch invite snuggling. When you choose textiles, make sure that the colours and materials match and harmonise with your overall furnishing concept.
6. Setting light accents
Of course, most rooms have a main light on the ceiling. But if you want your home to be stylish and inviting, add more sources of light to your rooms. Our tip: develop a lighting concept. Find out how (and why it’s a good idea) in our article on the topic of light.
Once all the furnishings are assembled and in place, you can start on the finishing touches – decorating your apartment or house. Not everyone has a natural talent or knack for it. Here are some tips for decorating your home:
- Plants bring the life and energy that every home needs.
- Indirect light and plants form a nice combination. Simply place a lamp behind the flower pot and switch the light on in the evening. The plant is illuminated from behind, creating warmth and cosiness.
- Candles, flowers, picture frames: home accessories look more coherent when grouped. So don’t just place the individual objects willy-nilly on the window sill or the mantelpiece. Create groups that form a unit. You can place them on a tray together, for example. Or you can put the smaller accessories in front and lean a picture against the wall behind them. The picture is the frame for decorative items in front.
- Grouping accessories in odd numbers looks more attractive. Within the group, there should be a harmonious dynamic between the big and small objects.
- Souvenirs of the past 20 years on an open shelf? Not a great idea. Don’t put too many accessories in one place. They have less space to make an impact and look cluttered rather than stylish. Don’t be afraid to leave gaps!
- Like everything else, your decoration should also follow your colour and design concept. But don’t make things too uniform, either, or you’ll feel like you’re in a furniture showroom. Our tip: choose a specific style as your base and decorate it with personal favourites that buck the trend. This adds a personal touch.
- Don’t feel pressure to decorate everything perfectly. For one thing, there will always be things flying about that disrupt the overall impression. And you can always play around with different decorations, try a variety of things and insert new elements every now and then.
Finally, our ultimate decoration tip: don’t go in for half measures, finish everything down to the last detail. Because later on it all comes down to the details. Before you know it you’ve grown used to the naked bulb hanging from the ceiling and forgotten that you actually wanted to hang a chic lamp there. And the longer you leave it like that, the harder it is to get around to changing it. So: don’t flag as you near the finish line. Finish things the way you planned to do them. You’ll be happy you did when it’s all said and done.
We hope you have a lot of fun furnishing and decorating!
The following articles on furnishing might also interest you:
Furnishing your living room: nice and cosy
Furnishing your bedroom: our tips
Designing your kitchen: what to keep in mind
Designing your bathroom: our ten tips
Furnishing guest rooms: feels like home
Safe, age-appropriate living
Furnishing your first apartment: our tips