Summertime and the living’s easy… or so they say. It’s a different story when you’re dealing with moving to a new city, trying to find cool roommates or taking the next step with your significant other, all while making the most of cramped quarters, rising rent costs and differing design tastes. Oof. Where do you even begin? AptDeco is one of our favorite places to start. It’s a used furniture and decor marketplace that takes the hassle out of buying and selling your goods. If you’re selling, AptDeco will spruce up your listing, let you know when someone’s interested in buying and then set up a pick-up time, all for a small fee (if the item sells). On the flipside, buyers can shop according to their taste using the Designed for Me quiz, and then pick up purchased pieces, or pay AptDeco to handle delivery.
Since they’re experts in shopping for second-hand furniture, we turned to AptDeco founder Reham Fagiri for great tips on dealing with everything from cohabitation to small-space woes.
Problem: I Want more space!
It’s easy to get down about how limiting a tiny apartment can be, but Reham pointed out some of the best assets of small-space living.
1. You don’t have to spread your budget too thin. Reham tells us, “having a small space gives you the opportunity to invest in a few key pieces, rather than spend a lot of money on many different ones.”
2. It’s easier to redecorate. “If you’re bored and want to make a few changes, it’s much easier to do so with a small space, since you have fewer pieces to work with. Replacing one key piece will fully transform the look of your small space.”
3. You save time and money in the long term too. “There are lots of other small, not-so-obvious benefits to living in a small space, like the cost savings from lower gas/electric bills and less surface area to clean.”
Problem: I Want All of the Things!
Trust us, we too have gotten lost in Crate and Barrel trying to convince ourselves that we NEED that console table and matching bar cart because of x, y and z. But what you actually need is to maximize your space, not clutter it. At the top of your to-buy list should be multifunctional furniture, storage bins and a great couch to function as your central social space. Pro tip: Reham suggests combining all three essentials by buying a sofa bed or a couch with built-in storage (this IKEA sofa with chaise storage is the trifecta). “Excess tables, stands or large decorative plants can be saved for a bigger home later down the line,” says Reham. “You can always substitute these types of home decor with knick-knacks and great wallpaper.”
Problem: Finding a Compromise With Your Roomies
If you’re the last one to move in, sorry, but you’re not going to make the rules. But Reham says you should definitely talk to your new roommates about how they’d feel if you brought in some of your own furniture, especially if it’s newer and of a higher quality. Most people would be open to that — who wouldn’t want to upgrade their space? If you hear no, Reham hits us with the hard truth: “You should be okay with whatever response they give, even if it means you have to leave your beloved furniture behind.”
Problem: We Have Totally Different Tastes!
Whether you’re an “opposites attract” kind of couple or a diverse group of friends, if you’re sharing a space, then you have to share your ideas. First, Reham says you should agree on your collective style. The Designed for Me tool at AptDeco is ideal for this, as it curates a personalized selection based on two different types of styles. If you’ve already been living together or have some furniture, decide on a few pieces that fit your new combined motif, but then shop for three to four new pieces together. “This allows all of you to express your decorative styles and also gives the opportunity for a fun exercise to collaborate together.”
Problem: We Need Space from Each Other!
It’s one of the most dreaded sentences in relationships: “I need space.” But sometimes all it means is some physical alone time, and that can be really hard to achieve in a 650-square-foot, 1-bedroom apartment. Reham suggests discussing how each of you prefers to spend your solitude, then take the design lead on that room. “This way, you can carve out a space that’s totally yours without compromising your relationship.” So for example, if your partner winds down with a Netflix binge and you prefer to read in bed, they should have a fair say in the living room design, while you can decorate the bedroom the way you like it.
Problem: My Furniture Won’t Sell!
AptDeco can enhance your furniture listings for you, but Reham says there are several ways to make sure you have the best listing possible. “You can find a buyer for all kinds of stuff, from sofas to small decor items. Taking the time to add information about the pieces you’re selling, taking well-lit photos from different angles and sharing the history of the piece will help you find a buyer quickly.” Reham also says that blemishes or damage smaller than a nickel is nothing to worry about — lots of people are more than happy to do some DIY fixes (no surprises there ;) Just be honest about the damage by taking close-up pictures so your buyer knows what they’re getting.
AptDeco is currently only operating in New York City and surrounding areas, but they’re looking to expand, so keep an eye on them!
What challenges have you faced when moving and decorating? How did you solve them? Share your stories in the comments!