How to Make Your Apartment Feel “Homey”

Having been through the undergrad on-campus living experience and now working full-time, I still somehow live in a dorm. As a part-time professional staff in the office of residence life I have the privilege of living on campus, rent/bill free, in exchange for a monthly duty rotation. This opportunity has been life changing to say the least…but not always a walk in the park.

If you’ve had residence life, building management or higher education experience – you know that sometimes shit hits the fan and you have to critically resolve complex issues. Whether it be 2 AM fire alarms or assisting RA’s with roommate conflicts – it never gets boring. All in all, I am blessed to have my own apartment at a rate you just can’t beat in this economy:

More specifically, living on campus and having student apartments surrounding my own has its challenges. Not being able to befriend my neighbors the way I would a random peer, establishing boundaries so my personal life doesn’t spill over into my professional work (since they intersect daily) and making a dorm feel like home are just some of the challenges to name a few.

With my unique living situation, creating a home has been a labor of love and during the age of social distancing I’m getting reacquainted with it. I’ve taken inventory and after months of planning, refraining from impulse purchases and sticking to a theme – I feel content with my work so it’s time to share my six gems on how you too can make your apartment homey.

1) Pick a theme.

This is the most important task in bringing your space together. If you have a reference point of the colors, themes and energies you want to create it will make this process much easier. This theme will help you choose everything from furniture, lighting, pillow coverings and more. My reference point was my 1-of-1 commissioned creation by Jenna Howell (@JHowPaints) that has set the tone for my apartment’s warm and earthy color scheme and modern bohemian decor. You don’t necessarily need to stick to the colors exactly but you shouldn’t stray, except for the occasional pop of color. Find a piece of art, create a mood board, or get into some Pinterest inspirations but please choose a theme before haphazardly buying pieces.

2) Get book smart.

Whether you’re actually reading them or if they’re for show, books bring a refined element to whatever space they occupy. Admittedly my book collection is more for show most days but that’s my business anyway. Play around with how they’re set up and see what brings you the most joy. My small book collection is separated by my own self-imposed genres (i.e. woke, fantasy and “no, really learn something bih”) and situated in size order. These small details brings a sense of uniformity to the overall apartment.

3) Be charming.

What charm does your space have to offer? Think recessed bookcases, an open air pantry, exposed pipes or bricks and other unique features your space has to offer. My open air pantry adds a unique feel in place of a traditional bar cart or wine rack (even though I still contemplate purchasing both). What 1-of-1 feature can you play with in your apartment?

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