Where you are moving out for the first time or the tenth, you may find that your new living situation places you in smaller living quarters the landlord described as "cozy." You don't need to be an architect to make your apartment livable, but there are some tricks of the trade that can keep you comfortable and happy.
Step 1: Be Clean
If your house is cluttered it will seem smaller. Clothing, dishes, and drink containers not only make you look sloppy, they can significantly decrease your square footage of floor space. Try cleaning the floor once a week and keeping your clothes neatly piled in a hamper. You'll be surprised at how much bigger clean floors make your apartment feel.
Step 2: Minimalism is Key
The bright side of having a small apartment is that you don't have to buy a lot of furniture. This can mean that you spend less money overall, or that you spend the same amount on a few key items. Why not spruce up the ol' computer and chair? How about getting a rug that pulls the room together? No matter what your style is, try to err on the side of having less.
Step 2: Use Bright Colors
Paint the walls a light, bright color to open up your apartment. Use brighter window shades and go for a white, tan, or lighter colored couch. You'll be surprised at how much bigger you small space looks when you keep bright, inviting colors.
The key to finding your perfect place is to know what you want. Do you have to have a dishwasher or are you willing to compromise if you find a great place that doesn't have one? Knowing what you can and can't compromise on will help narrow down your search and save you time.
What type of housing do you prefer? Condo, apartment or duplex? Be aware of your budget and then make a decision.
Where do you want to live? City or suburbs? The suburbs are usually cheaper than city living. Apartment prices go up the closer they are to shopping, entertainment, etc.
How many bathrooms? The more bathrooms that you want, the higher the price.
Outside space: Do you want a balcony or deck? This is one of those amenities that you will have to pay extra for if you want it.
Special amenities: Such as a gym, pool or game room? It's usually the luxury apartments that offer/include these things in your rent.
Do you need parking? Very rarely is parking included in rent if you're in the city. Be prepared to pay anywhere from $75 to $400 monthly for parking. If you choose to live in the suburbs you have a better chance of parking being included.
Remember, it's best to think through what you do and don't want in a place to live before starting the process of finding a place. Good luck and happy hunting!
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