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Ask A Boston Expert: Decorating Your First Apartment On A Budget

(Photo Credit: Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Klein Financial)

Decorating your first apartment can be tricky, but there are a few simple ways you can really make your new place feel like home, without breaking the bank. It is possible to have a trendy space on a budget, and by incorporating a few small things into your plan, you will be able to enjoy your home even more. Check out some great tips by designer Anna Orfanides below.

Anna O Design
(Photo Credit: Anna O Design)

Anna Orfanides
Anna O Design
(978) 335-9475

Anna is the daughter of Greek immigrants whom she says raised her to "dream big." She attributes her creative side to her father, who is an artist and a musician. Although she originally wanted to be a fashion designer, she was living in Greece, and the industry wouldn't have been easy for her to get into. After a friend suggested she look into interior design and architecture, Anna realized that she had a passion for it. She went to school to learn more about the industry, and earned a degree. She traveled around Europe attending trade shows, and eventually started working as a Visual Merchandising Director.

In 2000, Anna moved to the United States. She learned more about interior design here, and began working as an Associate Designer for a company on the North Shore. A short while later, Anna was hired as a Senior Designer at a Design Build firm in Newton/Boston. In 2008, she decided to do this on her own. She opened anna O design, and has been working freelance ever since. She loves contemporary and New England style, but she has years in all areas of design styles.

Below are her tips for decorating your first apartment on a budget.

Color Is Your Friend

"Color is a great way to spruce up a new apartment without breaking the bank. Before you start painting, you should ask permission from your landlord and once you've got the ok, the next step should be to choose color swatches to view in your space. Color always changes through out the day and lighting plays a major factor in how it will look. Sometimes landlords will be nice enough to pay for the paint if you are willing to do the labor. I find that even painting one wall an 'accent' color can make a difference. Lastly, I would choose a simple white color for the trim and doors."

Avoid Clutter In Small Spaces

Small spaces can get cluttered fairly quickly with knick knacks and other small items. One thing you can do is group small items together, like candles or books, in specific areas throughout the room to highlight and draw attention. Orfanides says, "Keep it sweet and simple. Focus on keeping rooms uncluttered and centered around a clear purpose. Don't worry about not having exactly the pieces you want right away."

Save Space

Try saving space by using certain items for dual purposes. For example, an ottoman can be utilized as a coffee table and, when extra seating is necessary, as a place for guests to sit. Of course, when neither is necessary, feel free to relax with your feet up on it, as well. According to Orfanides, "Another space-saving trick I like to do is positioning a desk against a wall where you would normally have an entertainment unit, and install your flat screen above. Now you have created double use of your desk."

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Rugs On Rugs

Rugs are also great choices to bring balance, color and depth to any room. In addition, you can use an area rug to spruce up that less than lovely carpeting you inherited in a rental space. Orfanides suggests "modern print [as] good choices" for rugs as well as wall decorations.

Get A Green Thumb

"I love houseplants and flowers! Fresh, green houseplants are a very easy way to make your house a home. Adding greenery almost anywhere can really make a difference, and sometimes, it's just what you need."

Related: Best Ways To Be Disaster-Ready In Boston

Boston-based writer Effie Orfanides keeps up with all of the latest happenings in her city. She loves eating at Boston's hotspots, having drinks at the trendiest bars, and enjoying all that Boston has to offer. Her work can be found at

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