10 Simple and Affordable Design Rules for Your PPM Home!

Are you looking to give your place a glam look, but don’t have a big budget? Or maybe you just feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start? Here are a few tips to give your apartment that professional, pulled together look that will have all the neighbors drooling!
#1 Clear the Clutter! Don’t overlook this one, it is clutch in achieving a designer look. This is a step that sounds simple, but may require some serious introspection. If you have a lot of “stuff” or “knick-knacks,” its time to cut back! Consider everything. Keep ONLY the stuff you know you can’t live without. If you’re unsure, make a box for items you are unsure of.  Put it away. If you can live without it for a month, get rid of it or donate it! Also, everyone should follow the One Candle per Room Rule. This means one candle or one arrangement of up to 3 candles, that’s it!!!

#2 Organization. Managing the clutter means that everything must have its own place. In order to get a clean, fresh designer look you cannot leave your mail lying around or have a heaping pile of shoes at the front door. Even just browsing The Container Store for ideas will get you thinking about storage solutions.

#3 Consider your taste! Even though you see a style that looks great in someone else’s apartment, it may not be for you. Just like wearing clothing that compliments your individual features, your home requires the same thought. After all, you live there and you want to feel like it is your own, personal space. When you imagine the perfect space, what does it feel like? Is it open and airy? Is is rich and romantic? Write down a few adjectives, and when you see designs that speak to this style save the images. You will surely be able to mimic an expensive designer style with more affordable pieces. Check out Apartment Therapy for even more ideas!

#4 Color me beautiful! When picking a color scheme for a room choose three colors. The main color you like, a second accent color, and a neutral color. You can fudge this rule a little by having more than one shade of  each color, but if you go too far things will start to look too busy.

#5 Paint! Remember, a little color goes a long way and paint is an affordable, but important detail!  When you’re renting you are usually required to return the walls to white when you leave. But don’t let this stop you! Pick one wall and give it some color. This won’t take much time and it will really personalize your look. Don’t know which wall to choose? Pick one that is an “anchor” wall. Usually the one you put your sofa against, or the main wall that faces you when you enter a room.

#6 It’s cool to be eclectic! One big mistake that people make is to buy a full set of matching furniture. But it’s such a good deal, right? Well, not really. The technical term for this design faux-pas is “matchy-matchy,”  when a room looks as cheesy as the phrase sounds. When you buy an entire set of furniture from Harlem Furniture, it looks like you bought an entire set of furniture from Harlem Furniture. Instead, include what you already have, buy one piece at a time and pull them together. Purchase pieces you really love and you can’t go wrong. When you are ready to redecorate a room, you will only need a new piece or two to spice things up instead of a whole new set!

#7 Naked Windows are a No-No! Your apartment came with white blinds to block light when needed and give you privacy. They are NOT intended to be your sole window treatment! There are many options for creating affordable, beautiful window treatments. Target sells cheap valances and window panels. Can’t find a window panel you love? A cheap alternative is to use bed sheets. Even if you can’t sew you can buy fabric glue at any craft store. Cut evenly and create folds for the valance sleeves and seams with an iron. Apply the fabric glue inside the new seams and you have custom window treatments!

#8 Visual Balance. An important element in any type of design, visual balance is created by objects in a room that either fill space, or create negative space. This doesn’t mean that your design must be symmetrical. In fact, that is something more and more designers are getting away from. Instead, considering the space or visual weight of an object is more important. This will create harmony and make the design flow naturally. Consider your bedside table lamps. They can be different, but familiar. The lamp shade should be the same approximate size, but not necessarily the same shape. Another example of visual weight is to avoid making something appear top-heavy. A large painting with a thick frame may look awkward above a piece of furniture with a small, thin base.

#9 Hang it up! Of course, wall art is an important design element. Again, going with things that you really love or that have meaning to you is important. Have a family picture you love?  Blow it up and frame it! You can make any photo poster size for only $8.99 at Costco. Other places vary but can be very reasonable as well! Mirrors and shelving are great ways of keeping walls visually interesting on a tight budget. Boutique gift shops such as Lakeview’s p + L sell designer wrapping paper, but if you buy a few squares that have similar patterns and frame them– Voila! An interesting and original art collection. Keep in mind the rules of visual balance! If a wall looks too busy, that means it is.

#10 Forgive me Function, for I have sinned. Form follows function! This is a HUGE rule that many people forget. Don’t keep things that you don’t use just because you’re too lazy to bring them back down the elevator or stairs. Places like Ikea and CB2 have several innovative options to get the utmost use of your space. For small spaces, this is an especially significant rule. Desks that can double as tables or footrests that double as seating are great for entertaining! Especially if they have a little built-in storage! When purchasing new pieces consider a solution that can serve multiple purposes.

Finally, have fun! Rome wasn’t built in a day! Take time to make decisions and again– focus on what you love! This way, even if you fail miserably at all 10 design rules, you’ll still be happy in your home!
There’s more coming soon so stay tuned to “Your Space, Your Style” to keep up with PPM’s resident designers!
Are you proud of your place and have tips for other residents? Send us an email and we may feature your apartment or ideas in our blog!

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