It’s easy to personalize nearly every room in the house while you’re a renter — just ask local interior designer Whitney Jones. But one room is a little more difficult to customize: the kitchen. While we’re pleased to offer spacious, modern kitchens within our 1st Lake Properties, we know custom kitchen redos just aren’t in the cards for renters. However, with a little creativity, you can apply modern kitchen trends to your space. See a few of our favorite tips and tricks below.
A soft palette ties together the kitchen in our Lakes of Chateau Estates North apartment community.
Modern Kitchen Trends for Apartments
Mid-Century Modern Accents — The mid-century modern resurgence has been a huge trend for the past few seasons, and by choosing pared-down shapes and palettes, you can ensure that these vintage-inspired pieces will continue to look fresh. We love the look Eames-style bar stools and a retro bar cart, which can serve as extra storage.
Texture — Another trend in kitchen decor is texture: think textured tile, countertops, and patterns all together to create a layered look. Accents like woven placemats are a great and affordable way to incorporate texture.
Soft Color Palettes — Both the mid-century and textural trends lean on soft color palettes as an underlying theme. By choosing light tones, you’ll create the look and feel of more space. Opt for light-colored accent pieces and appliances wherever you can for a fresh, on-trend look.
Smart Storage — When incorporating decor, plan to add pieces with function. Wire baskets add a chic, industrial feel and are perfect for storing utensils, packaged food, linens, and more. You can also purchase a standalone island for added counter space and a pop of personal style.
Open Kitchen/Living Spaces — Many of our properties feature joint kitchen and living spaces. Remember, it’s easy to transfer between properties at 1st Lake if you’re interested in moving to one of our properties with state-of-the-art kitchens.
Our Surf Rider apartment community in Metairie offers spacious kitchens adjacent to the living space for an open feel.
Rent-Friendly Kitchen Updates
Utilize rugs — Rugs are a great way to add color and texture to the kitchen. Opt for a pattern, if possible, to mitigate any visible stains (hey, kitchen mishaps happen!).
Add a mirror — Mirrors create the illusion of more space while also reflecting light. The kitchen probably isn’t the first place you’d think of to add a mirror, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results!
Incorporate a temporary backsplash — Peel-and-stick tiles or vinyl decals are an easy way to customize your rental kitchen. Take a look at Apartment Therapy for some ideas!
Swap out hardware — Update pieces like drawer pulls, cabinet knobs, and even light switch plates. Just remember to make note of where all the original hardware was prior to removal, and keep it all in a safe spot! You’ll need to change everything back before you move.
Bring the outdoors in — It’s amazing what a simple plant can do. Add easy-care indoor plants to your kitchen for increased oxygen and a splash of color.
One of the greatest aspects of the technology revolution is the increased ability to work from home. But how do you stay as motivated at home as you do in the office? To produce at the same rate as you would at work, you need a space that is designated solely for your job. You need a home office.
1st Lake offers a lot of extra room in its indoor floor plans, especially with the new renovations at the River Ridge, Kenner and Metairie apartments.
These bonus rooms can easily be converted into offices, making it easy to work from home. Before you start furnishing a home office or workspace area in your apartment, use this checklist to make sure you have the best, most useful, office decor and supplies.
Our interior designers whipped up a gorgeous, clutter-free desk at one of our 1st Lake Properties to help inspire you!
A Dedicated Desk Area: What You’ll Need
Space Saving Desk & Chair
The desk and chair are the most essential pieces of furniture in your home office or workspace area. You will be spending the most time using these items, and they need to be both practical and comfortable.
Chair shopping should be centered around comfort, but you can still make room for style! This upholstered desk chair from Target has a cool, mid-century look at an affordable price.
Personalizing Your Desk
A closer look at our designer-approved desk.
For an at-home office space you’ll actually want to work at, consider blending form and function. Our 1st Lake Properties interior designer has a few great tips to personalize your desk in a way that looks beautiful and helps facilitate workflow:
Have a good lamp for task lighting — In addition to sufficient overhead or ambient light, select a desk lamp with a movable head to spotlight your work as needed. This is also a great opportunity to incorporate metallics or color for a personalized look.
Keep papers and pens in check — Rather than a bulky file system, our designer suggests a simple letter organizer to place on your desk to keep papers neat and easily accessible. For pens, use brightly colored multi-purpose holders (a favorite mug, for example) to hold them all in one place.
Consider a glass desk — If you can only dedicate a small corner of a room to your workspace, opt for a glass or translucent desk to help the room appear larger. Light (both natural and artificial) can also pass freely through this material, creating a brighter, cheerier ambience for your workspace.
Just add greenery — Orchids, succulents, and air plants are all great choices for a desk: they’re low-maintenance yet still offer a pop of life and color.
Keep it neat — Books and magazines are usually part of any desk space, but you can maintain a cohesive look by organizing them by color and size. The color and size rule works well for everything else on your desk, too — sticky notes, highlighters, pens, you name it!
A hands-on approach — If you’re right-handed, keep all of your pens, notebooks, etc. on the right side of your desk. Vice versa for lefties!
Remember, no home workspace is complete without the personal touches. Your office should reflect you as a person. Hang pictures and photographs that keep you positive and driven. Add a chalkboard for daily notes or inspirational quotes. Decorate in a way that will make you happy and excited to work.
Even More Home Office Tips
When developing the floor plan of your home office, you need to consider two types of storage: bookshelves and file cabinets.
Bookshelves are obvious storage options for work-related literature, workbooks and manuals. They also offer additional storage for decorative items. When choosing a bookshelf, remember to remain space-conscious. Consider a ladder bookshelf that is both practical and aesthetically pleasing.
One of the hardest parts about working from home is staying organized. Though bookshelves are great for bound documentation, any loose or private paperwork should be filed away. If your desk doesn’t have a built in file cabinet, try a portable rolling one that will fit right under your desk.
Most office work is done electronically, so a computer or laptop is a necessity. If you are looking for a cheaper option and don’t plan on moving around much, buy a desktop. If you want to be able to take your work with you, consider a laptop.
If you want both, you can hook up an extra monitor to your laptop giving you the feel of a desktop with the convenience of a portable computer.
Where to Buy Office Supplies & Furniture in New Orleans
Now that you’ve got some ideas about how to decorate your office, go out and start collecting supplies! Here are our favorite office furniture and supply stores in the city:
CORT Furniture allows you to rent chic, of-the-moment furniture for reasonable prices — they also have a great clearance section full of deals!
5035 Bloomfield Street
Jefferson, LA 70121
Doerr Furniture offers a classic approach to home decor with several wooden desk designs.
444 Port Street
New Orleans, LA 70117
Modern Market takes a modern, sleek and minimalist approach to its furniture.
3138 Magazine Street Unit C
New Orleans, LA 70115
Box Paper Scissor
Box Paper Scissor designs one-of-a-kind office supplies.
3638 Magazine Street
New Orleans, LA 70115
How to Organize Your Home Office
If your home office is unorganized, and is more a source of stress than productivity, it’s time to tackle that space. Your work space should help you get work done, not hinder it! Read through this list of free ways to create a more organized desk and workspace:
Cut back on clutter: As time passes, you inevitably accumulate clutter — way too many pens, pencils, highlighters, paper clips, and rubber bands. So, take a few minutes to edit your ever-growing collection down. Keep the few things that you like and use, and give the rest away!
Build a digital file cabinet: If your drawers are overflowing with papers, consider moving some of those items into a “digital file”. Shred the items that you honestly don’t need, and scan and save on your computer any paperwork that you need, but don’t need a hard copy of. Also, be sure to back up this file to an external hard drive or to a cloud service like Google Drive or Dropbox for safe keeping.
End all unsolicited mail: Junk mail can be annoying and a source of a lot of clutter. If you get way too much in the mail, the Federal Trade Commission has put together a list of ways you can stop most of the unsolicited mail that arrives in your mailbox. Also, you can call 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) or visit optoutprescreen.com, to stop all credit card and insurance offers for five years.
How would you describe your apartment? Is it a little bit of everything? An Oriental rug with a leather chair, perhaps? Stark, elegant flowers on a rugged coffee table? Different eras and periods all coming together to create one happy home? If so, you probably lean toward an eclectic design style. We’re exploring exactly what is eclectic home decor — plus a few tips on how to achieve it.
Interior designer Whitney Jones‘ apartment nicely captures eclectic home decor style, with mid-century orange chairs, a traditional tufted sofa, and a mix of patterns and finishes with a unifying color palette. (Photo courtesy Whitney Jones)
A Litmus Test to Determine What is Eclectic Home Decor
If your apartment hones in on some of the following characteristics (or if you’d like it to!), you probably prefer eclectic interiors.
The Furniture: Eclectic furniture tends to be a mix of pieces from different eras, like a mid-century modern sofa paired with opulent, leather club chairs, for example. Antique pieces and modern designs play together nicely in an eclectic home. However, all the mixed furniture shares a unifying feature: the same color palette. Typically, eclectic design styles favor neutral hues for furniture and brings in dazzling color through fabrics and accessories. On that note…
Fabrics and Accessories: Eclectic home decor features a wide variety of fabrics ranging from patterned, textured, trimmed, or all of the above — there’s truly room for everyone in an eclectic design scheme! Again, color palette is important. Use shades that go well together, whether you keep it in the same color family and play with textures or opt for complementary colors.
Finishes: Do you like wearing mixed metals for jewelry? If you have no qualms pairing a gold necklace with a silver bracelet, you’re probably a good candidate for embracing eclectic home decor. Because the furniture often comes from different eras in an eclectic style, so do the finishes — bronze, brass, nickel, and iron are all welcome!
The Takeaway: Eclectic home decor is all about mismatching — but there’s a method to the madness. Remember to choose a unifying color scheme to tie everything together.
Remember when you were a kid and all you wanted was to do something “all by yourself”? Now that you’re grown up, it can be hard to harness that same can-do attitude, especially when it comes to interior design. However, there are plenty of easy, DIY home decor ideas for every single room of your home that can make a big impact. You’ll save money, and you’ll be proud of the results — tell everyone you did it all by yourself!
DIY Home Decor Ideas
Colorful, Customized, No-Sew Placemats: Placemats aren’t just for the dining room. Use them in the kitchen beneath a mixer as you bake, or for those moments when “sitting down to a meal” really means standing at the counter as you check your email on your phone. The colorful placemats below couldn’t be any easier to make: simply find a home decorating fabric you like, then purchase iron-on vinyl topper (available at most craft stores). Cut the fabric into neat rectangles of 12 inches by 17 inches. Then, following the vinyl topper instructions, apply vinyl to each side — watch this video for a step-by-step tutorial. For added flair, you can trim any rough edges with scalloped pinking sheers.
Fabric placemats are an easy DIY when you use iron-on vinyl. (Photo via Huffington Post)
A Chic Tray: We’re probably all guilty of enjoying a meal in front of the TV every now and then (or maybe even every night!). Create a tray to transport your meal from kitchen to living room seamlessly — it’ll also be a handy surface to eat on. This DIY tray comes from a salvaged kitchen cabinet door destined for the trash bin. Sand it down, paint it any color you like, then drill handles at each end as pictured. If the cabinet door has any holes, be sure to fill them with wood filler and let dry overnight before painting.
This chic tray is made using salvaged kitchen cabinet doors. (Photo via Good Housekeeping)
Thumbtack-ular: Use metallic-finish thumb tacks to add instant polish to furniture and upholstery. If you have an upholstered headboard, try adding thumbtacks around the border to mimic a nailhead finish. You can use thumbtacks to jazz up plain or painted wood furniture, too — trim side tables, desks, or chairs with a neat row of thumbtacks, or get creative with swirling patterns.
Thumbtacks add pizzazz to a plain, wooden table. (Photo via Mark Montano on Blogspot)
Pretty, Practical Hamper: Use a patterned pillowcase as the basis for a beautiful, no-sew hamper that will look chic displayed from a hook in the bathroom — it’ll also be super practical for catching dirty duds at the end of the day. Simply use a 12-inch embroidery hoop (available at craft stores) and about 10 inches of ribbon. Clamp the case into the hoop, then use the clamp as a spot to tie on the ribbon. Good Housekeeping shows you the end result, below:
A pretty hamper is perfect for an empty hook in the bathroom. (Photo via Good Housekeeping)
Need more ideas? Our blog is here to inspire. Check out these helpful posts:
A common challenge for renters is space constraints. It may seem like your apartment can’t fit all of your stuff, but there are ways that you can make everything fit comfortably with the space available that you may not have thought of. Enter these awesome storage ideas.
Maximizing the space you have is key. One of our favorite solutions for storage in a small apartment is making use of vertical space.
Storage Ideas for Apartments
It’s easy to use up the available horizontal space in your apartment, but often times there is a lot of leftover vertical space that can be utilized. Here are the best ways to use vertical space in your apartment.
Free standing shelves and bookcases
Free standing shelves are not only portable, convenient, and rental-friendly, but also a great space saver! They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be used in any room in the apartment, including the kitchen for extra dish or appliance storage, the bathroom for towels and toiletries, as bookcases, or in the closet to store shoes or clothes that won’t fit in drawers.
Punctuate a blank wall with a leaning, ladder-style bookshelf. (Photo via Woodstock Furniture Outlet)
A ladder-style leaning bookshelf can be an easy, modern way to add some extra storage furniture to a bare wall – use it to display decorative items or store books.
Another great way to use vertical space especially in your kitchen is with under-shelf storage baskets. If there is a lot of room between the shelves that are already built in to your cabinets, simply attach an under-shelf basket to create more storage space for additional items.
Under-shelf baskets are a great way to harness vertical space and add more storage. (Photo via ApartmentTherapy.com)
If you need more space to store glassware, there are also under-the-shelf stemware holders that are a convenient solution.
One thing we sometimes forget is that we have plenty of space on our walls for storage. This can be easily and safely used by placing shelves along the walls to use that vertical space to its capacity.
Hidden Storage Solutions
There’s more to storage than meets the eye with these clever items.
Give storage a lift when you use bed risers — they’re affordable, easy to use, and add valuable inches to store items under your bed. Adding height is also a great way to give the illusion of more space: your bed will look and feel more regal, and you’ll benefit from the added storage beneath.
Storage beds have built-in storage within a hollow portion of the bed frame. Many feature drawers along the bottom for a look that is both attractive and incredibly functional. Use the added space to store bedtime essentials like blankets or pajamas.
Ottomans are a great addition to a living room — you can bring in new colors and prints at an affordable price, and if you choose a storage ottoman, you can also add a little more practicality. Storage ottomans are hollow on the inside with a removable lid for easy access. Stock yours with living room items like games, remotes, or blankets.
Looking for a new apartment? We have many excellent and spacious choices for metro New Orleans apartments and in Mississippi!