Perhaps you have just graduated from college, started your first job, rented your first apartment or purchased your first home.
It's an exciting rite of passage. Part of the excitement relates to the opportunity to make a space your own, infusing your own taste and design sensibility. But, good design doesn't have to be expensive, and there are a number of easy and affordable ways to make your pad feel fun yet sophisticated.
Sometimes a single color palette can come across as unsophisticated. Try using high contrast techniques, such as black and white, light and dark, can come across as more luxurious.
Pastel colors are back, both youthful and sophisticated. Don't be afraid to use colors such as soft blue, pastel pink or mint green.
HIGH VS. LOW
Designers do it on the runway, so why not do it in your home? Mixing more expensive pieces with flea market or thrift store finds can be a fabulous way to create an overall sophisticated look.
DECORATE WITH BOOKS
Decorating with books is one of the most affordable ways to design, and a go-to designer trick. One way to display books is to turn them spine-in to create a consistent look.
NO STUFFED ANIMALS
Stuffed animals are a no-no if you want your space to feel grown-up and sophisticated. If you can't bear to part with them, consider placing them in a decorative bin.
Plants, succulents, florals and trees are both good for your environment and a great way to infuse color and sophistication into your space at an affordable price.
GO FOR GLASS
Glass pieces of furniture are a fraction of the cost of wood pieces. Glass coffee or dining tables can help create an open, airy feel at an approachable price.
PURCHASE QUALITY LARGE PIECES
If you can afford it, try to buy one or two high quality pieces you intend to own for years, if not decades to come. Some ideas of where to start include case goods such as armoires or dressers, beds and sofas.
If properly maintained, leather can be both long-lasting and add an element of maturity.
PURCHASE INEXPENSIVE ARTWORK
Artwork is like the icing on a cake and can really help make sure a space feels complete. Framed art tends to look more expensive than pieces that are not. Some ideas for inexpensive art include framing pieces of fabric, posters, calendars, wrapping paper and even postcards.
Whether they are from a vacation or your own collection, framed black and white photographs can be both interesting and mature.
Especially in smaller spaces, mirrors can really help open a space and can even help to act as windows.
Cathy Hobbs, based in New York City, is an Emmy Award-winning television host and a nationally known interior design and home staging expert with offices in New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website at www.cathyhobbs.com.