Most of us furnish our first apartment with a mélange of furniture on permanent loan from parents plus whatever we can scrounge from thrift stores and generous friends.
Catherine Oddenino, a young New Yorker, takes us along as she makes the transition from a style we call Apartment Random to something that suits her maturing tastes and budget.
"My previous living room was full of mismatched pieces of furniture from former apartments that didn’t really work with the floor plan."
"By focusing on pieces that would fit the new space and reorienting the room, it is now more comfortable and a better reflection of my mid-century modern design aesthetic," she says.
"I had artwork scattered throughout the apartment with different frames and mats. The jumble of colors and spacing didn’t fit with my style and added to the cluttered feeling of the previous design. I reframed all of the prints and displayed them on one wall to make a more dramatic visual impact.
"A small lamp and Danish modern side table add warmth without distracting from the artwork, while the sofa and scoop chair frame the overall space," she says.
"I love to entertain, but in a small space, it can be difficult to squeeze everyone in. The hallway was going unused except for housing a bookshelf and a place for my keys. I moved a table and mirror from the living room to the front hall, practically adding a whole new room without making any additional purchases. The space is unified into the overall style scheme with the color of the walls and door making the hallway feel warm and welcoming," she says.
"My bedroom before was cluttered and felt like one step above a dorm room."
"By creating a more serene room, the bedroom becomes more conducive to relaxation and a good night’s sleep. I replaced my nightstand with Danish modern nesting tables to keep the space more open without losing storage. The custom Brooklyn Bridge artwork works in lieu of a headboard and reflects my love of my adopted hometown."
"My old dressers were literally falling apart; a few of the drawers didn’t even open anymore. I replaced two dressers with one vintage credenza that is well made, has more style, and will last for years. A great flea market find, the lamp fits with the overall theme and color scheme without breaking the budget."
"Because the kitchen is the first thing you see when you walk into the apartment, it was important to get rid of the clutter to make the entire room more inviting," she says.
"The kitchen, dining, and living room are all one open area. The painted backsplash defines the kitchen as a separate space, and the addition of the asterisk clock gives a pop of style. I moved the microwave to make space for cookbooks. The counter is more open, which is better for cooking and entertaining," she says.
"The dining area receives a style update with the addition of a vintage hanging candlestick holder. This unusual piece draws the eye and serves as a conversation starter. By moving two of the dining chairs to the hallway, the space is less cluttered, and there is more room to move around in the kitchen. Furniture that can be easily moved and repurposed is essential for making the most of a small space."