The great Aussie dream of owning a home is still alive despite media claims that millennials are struggling to fulfil their home ownership goals. Whilst the picket fence home may have had a slide downwards on the popularity scale amongst the current generation of first home owners, apartment living is at an all-time high, and we’re here to share some starter tips on decorating your first apartment!

High-density living has become more and more appealing due to soaring property prices in Australia, but don’t be quick to underestimate it; aside from ease of lifestyle and affordability, apartment living delivers some real perks. In Melbourne for example, you can choose your First Place with a deposit of only 5%, which the developer Lendlease, will match (terms and conditions apply). You have a choice of new or off-the plan apartments that are beautifully designed in sought after locations, and we all know what that means…less running around renovating or making building decisions, and more time for decorating and spending time enjoying all that the apartment living lifestyle has to offer!

WHERE TO START
You’ve got your keys in your hands, now what? The first thing you need to do is spend some time observing your apartment. Walking around in a blank canvass apartment is truly a wonderful experience, as you get to visualise the look and feel of your space.
This is a process that does not need to be rushed, but rather enjoyed, as you will activate your creative capabilities and unearth your inner-designer!

Observe your space at different times of the day, from early-morning to late at night, and take note of how your perception of space changes based on the amount of natural light it receives; this will later help you decide on your wall colour palette.

NAIL YOUR LOOK AND FEEL
Every space is like a narrative that evolves, and the look and feel of your apartment tells the story of who you are; in other words it’s a representation of all the elements, tangible or intangible, that make you –YOU!

How do you want to feel in your new space? What elements of design give you joy and make you feel nurtured and comfortable? What materials and colours are you drawn to? What style of design represents you? These are questions that you can answer and translate easily into a mood board. Start a Pinterest board, and save all the interiors images that you love -pretty soon you will start to notice a consistent pattern of interiors that belong to one or two design genres. From this point, you can clarify your design aesthetic and start making some decisions on decorating.

SPATIAL CONSIDERATIONS
Try to picture your existing furniture into your new apartment; what do you notice? Does the furniture fit? Does it suit your new dimensions of your apartment? These answers will become evident sooner rather than later and this is the point in time where you will need to make some decisions on what stays and what needs to go. One common mistake made by most apartment owners is the misconception that smaller rooms require smaller furniture. As long as you allow enough room for accessibility, you can go ahead and invest in larger furniture pieces that can take up a significant part of your room, provided that the furniture meets the main purpose of your space.
Think oversized artworks that take up an entire wall, floor-to-ceiling sheer curtains and window coverings, large indoor plants that reach all the way to the ceiling, and even a sofa that occupies the entirety of your room; all of these ‘upsized’ elements can successfully and effortlessly create the illusion of space. On the contrary, smaller pieces only accentuate the small dimensions of a room and do very little in terms of providing comfort and functionality.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT COLOUR PALETTE
Using your mood board, and having previously assessed your space at different times of the day in terms of how much natural light it receives, you can start to make choices with your wall colours, and even wallpaper, if you want to personalise and add an impressive effect to your decorating.
Remember; it’s very easy to get comfortable with colour, almost to the point of feeling stuck. Colour preferences aside, this occurs when a favourite hue becomes a colour staple for a lengthened period of time, often used on property after property. So if you’re revamping a room and you’re searching for the colour swatch you first sighted (and used, over and over) 14 years ago it’s time you brought this to your awareness. This is very common and it’s the most prominent challenge our clients mention in their design briefs; it’s what we call ‘colour resistance’ in other words it’s the reluctance to consider a varied or new colour palette. As design trends evolve so does your relationship with colour even though you may not consciously know it. Overcoming colour resistance requires you to look at your space with fresh eyes, accepting that it’s ok to dabble outside the parameters of safety, especially when it comes to decorating an apartment!

If you’re non-committal to colour, it’s ok; don’t let others question your audacity. Monochromatic interior colour schemes can be bold and can indeed make a statement whilst allowing you to control the intensity as you wish. Experiment with adding various shades of one hue you can add a playful depth to your colour scheme. Low tone moody hues are sexy, seductive, and incredibly restful; as we say the ‘dark side’ is a wonderful space to be in. Think shades of donkey-grey, saturated blacks, and muted but soothing neutrals mixed with raw textures such as wool, steel and timber. Whatever you choose, make sure to make an impact by adding colour to all the walls of a room, not just a singular feature wall; this will add drama and impact in your space.

EFFECTIVE DESIGN IS ABOUT LAYERS
It’s important to lock-in these foundational elements of your design and decorating first, before you start shopping for accent pieces. Effective design involves the addition of a number of aesthetic layers and it’s an ever-evolving process that can only flow once the foundation of your design has been set.

TRY BEFORE YOU BUY
Dreaming of owning and decorating your first apartment? Before you buy your apartment and before you commence the design of your mood board, you can live rent-free for one week  in a fully furnished, 883 Collins st apartment, to trial their amazing apartment offering before you commit to buying your first place.

Lendlease is offering the chance to stay rent-free for one week in a fully furnished, 883 Collins Street apartment, to trial their amazing apartment offering before you commit to buying your First Place. But there’s more good news for first home buyers, because with the Victorian First Home Owners Grant (FHOG), you can get a real head-start with the decorating of your new apartment!