Apartment Decorating Ideas to Help Graduates Feel at Home


By Jay Croft

Apartment decorating ideas are a must for anyone moving into a new place, but apartment decorating ideas are even more important when someone is moving into their very first apartment.

Remember your first apartment? The one where you could finally afford to go without roommates and personalize the space? You probably needed a lot of things, maybe even more than you realized when moving in.

Now that it’s graduation season, and countless young adults are taking this crucial step, perhaps someone you know could benefit from your wisdom and good taste. Here are some first apartment gift ideas and design tips to get you going:

A Word of Advice

When perusing potential gifts, keep in mind that most young people starting out don’t have a lot of money to spend on “investment” furniture or accessories that could become heirlooms. Tending to their needs—instead of their wants—is a good approach. They might be living in smaller places and may plan to move again within a few years. Additionally, they could still be going out more than cooking and entertaining at home. Try to keep their current lifestyle in mind when shopping.

Keep Bean Bags Out of the Equation

It’s a good idea to help new apartment dwellers with some of the bigger pieces first. They could likely use a nice sofa to replace that old, used futon. A sleeper comes in handy when they have itinerant guests (and the occasional visit from loving relatives).

If you are able to pitch in for a high-ticket item, consider the Davis Queen Sleeper Sofa from Crate & Barrel. It’s designed for small spaces, is handsome with classic styling, and comes in a variety of neutral tones, so your graduate can add throw pillows for splashes of vibrant color. Thankfully, the retailer’s Brenner 20″ Velvet Pillow comes in 10 complementary shades.

Keep Them from Having Dinner on the Couch

Almeras Swivel Bar Stool by Kingstown Home from WayfairThese days, apartment decorating ideas and trends for smaller spaces often forgo exquisite tables and chairs in favor of bar stools for countertop dining. Here, consider utility and price rather than worrying too much about the specific style or trends.

The set of three, incredibly comfortable Almeras Swivel Bar Stools by Kingstown Home gets the job done at a reasonable price. They’re easy to move around and can blend into any interior design scheme.

Keep Them from Eating Over the Pizza Box

Wayfair Basics 16 Piece Striped Dinnerware Set by Wayfair BasicsWhen starting out, apartment dwellers’ plates, bowls, and other dinnerware should be pretty plain and affordable, too. This isn’t a bridal gift—if you keep the design basic, a set of everyday dinnerware will serve any graduate well, regardless of style preference.

The 16-Piece Striped Dinnerware Set by Wayfair Basics is classic and simply designed, with a choice of three accent stripes. This way, if they break a plate or lose a cup, it won’t ruin their day.

Keep Ripped-Out Magazine Pages Off the Wall

For a smart, grown-up (but fun and distinctive) wall decoration, frame LP sleeves and arrange them in a modular pattern. This is one of the most popular first apartment gift ideas. Crate and Barrel has an impressive array of albums and the frames, so you can pick and choose your graduate’s faves, from Sinatra and Garland to Beck and Norah Jones.

You can also give them a design lesson: mirrors, like the selection available from Wayfair, help make places look bigger. Just because your loved one is living in a small space doesn’t mean it has to feel like a small space. Plus, a mirror could help them refine their appearance before heading out to professional job interviews or a fun night out on the town with fellow alumni—it’s a win-win.

Help a young adult combine personal interests in music with classic decorating style with these framed album covers from Crate and Barrel.


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