As someone who grew up watching Trading Spaces: Boys vs. Girls, Extreme Makeover Home Edition and all things home improvement, the idea of decorating my own space after college couldn’t have been more exciting.

Well, it’s been almost four months since I moved into my new place and I am still tinkering and working on making it really feel like home – without spending a fortune. Whether you are living with one person, five people or all alone, there are little things you can do to make your space truly yours, and Marisa Carlini from Southie’s Luxe Home Interiors and Justene Spaulding from Southie’s Deirfiur have all the tips and tricks to do just that.

If you are someone like me who every few months decides you need to completely revamp your space, Carlini has the simple fix – candles, flowers and scents. Simply switching out your candles can totally change the ambiance of your place and make it seem brand new. For example, my apartment currently smells like a honey crisp apple and will smell that way for the foreseeable future.


Another fragrance tip: The other week I purchased eucalyptus and hung it in my shower and when I tell you that my bathroom immediately turned into a sweet smelling spa, I am not joking. For less than $5 I changed the look and feeling of that space, and used the leftover eucalyptus by filling a green glass bottle with them and putting it on my bedside table.

Another way to refresh your space is through layering. That could mean placing different patterned throw pillows or blankets on the couch or using different sized art on the wall to mix up the texture, color and dimensions of the room. But, like Spaulding says, sometimes less is more. Especially if you are living in a smaller space, you don’t want the room to seem cluttered.

Spaulding’s secret? Hidden storage. And no, that doesn’t mean throwing everything under your bed because that is technically out of sight. It means finding some ottomans or little stools that open so you can double the usage. Who doesn’t love a multipurpose chair? Carlini also says that getting a stool that you can push under your dining table and use for additional seating is helpful and is something that you can bring to your next apartment as well!

There is definitely a difference between clutter and accessories, however. You can still make your place personal by adding in different photo frames, fun coasters, jars and vases and more. Know when you are starting to collect knick knacks and random things versus intentionally placing items on your shelves and tables.

Now that we cleared the room of the clutter, we need to make it look bigger. Carlini says putting a floor mirror or large mirror in a room will immediately make the space seem larger, along with using light colors on the wall, curtains, etc. Spaulding recommends avoiding dark woods and colors, hanging your curtains or drapery closer to the ceiling, and that using a large area rug can help ground the space. Little scatter or sherpa rugs are another way to show your style and make your place yours.

While we may not all have the ability to buy high end furniture, Spaulding thinks that the one thing worth investing in at this stage in life is a great couch. I believe her words were, “bite the bullet.” She says that a well-made sofa should last you more than a decade. With that being said…she wants to remind you to measure your hallways before you take the plunge and make the purchase. There is nothing worse than spending money on something that you can’t use, let alone get into your apartment.

So, as a reminder, here are the things you should remember:

1. Less is more
2. Layer the room
3. Light, not dark
4. Refresh with fragrance
5. Buy eucalyptus for your shower because Megan said so

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