The challenge of decorating a new apartment without making it look like a dorm room may be overwhelming for first time apartment renters. There are many interior design companies that would be more than willing to take the reigns of designing a chic home for you, but you may not have the money to hire a professional designer.

That said, you still need a comfortable and stylish environment in which to dwell. Professional Interior Designers Kiera Kushian and Jessica Centella have complied a list of tips for first time apartment renters who need an added boost of confidence and guidance to help them create a space they will be more than happy to come home to.

Residents Understood
1835 Phelps Place N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
) 630-6184 

Residents Understood founders and Principle Design Team Kiera Kushian and Jessica Centella specialize in residential interior design. They have extensive experience working as a team since their days as interior design students at the University of Florida. Kiera and Jessica bring unique design styles to Residents Understood that give clients a well rounded selection when decorating their homes. Kiera has called her style a “…sophisticated blend of old meets new” and Jessica gravitates more toward the casual elegance that is inspired by “pieces and details that are collected from a variety of styles and periods.” Their tips will definitely steer you in the right direction for creating an amazing space in your new place.

Invest In Base Pieces

Depending on the amount set aside in your budget, you may not be able to afford to invest in pricey pieces for every room in your new home. Consider what rooms and pieces you use the most and start to save for these specific items. Sofas and dining tables are the two large pieces Kiera and Jessica usually suggests clients start with. These pieces can be highly used focal points in your living space that will last the length of your time in your home, or at least until you start itching for a change.

Paint Makes A Big Difference

If you have the option to paint your new apartment (even if you have to repaint it before you leave), it’s worth it! Paint is the least expensive way to make the largest visual impact on a space. Color combinations can create dynamic spatial effects that will enhance your home and complement the other design elements of your space.

Window Treatments

Rental properties usually come with large plastic blinds with give a living space a feeling of coldness. You should spend a little time on purchasing or creating alternative window treatments that hide the blinds. This is a quick and easy way to warm up a room in your new home.

Related: Best Interior Designers In The D.C. Area

Floor Coverings

If your new place is plagued with ugly parquet or carpeting, there are simple solutions to help turn your place in to a beautiful space. Rugs don’t have to cost a fortune and are items that have the potential to make a big impact with both color and pattern. Some of Kiera and Jessica’s clients are afraid to layer an area rug over carpet, but it can look great and adds personality to a boring room.

Do It Yourself (DYI)

Your first new space is a great starting point for developing your own personal design style. You may be on a budget, but you’re also trying to avoid having your home look like pages from an IKEA catalog. Consider spending a little time personalizing inexpensive pieces with things like paint and hardware. This can include old pieces that you are taking with you from your previous home or pieces that friends and family have donated to your independent living efforts.

Related: D.C. Shipping Container Apartments

Tara L. Aldridge is a native of Washington, DC, a freelance and published writer, blogger, and photographer. She is a DC Healthy Food Examiner at In 2013, Tara published her first book of poetry and currently works with young artists to help them develop their creative talents. Read more of her work at