Apartment hunting can be an exciting, exhausting and tumultuous experience. There are lots of aspects to consider and it's easy to get lost in the details. Most people have a mental checklist in their minds and stick to the all-important issues of size, location and condition. While others may just yearn for a place with a special ambience they can't really define. No matter what type of house hunter you are, you will find that there are countless little design elements that tend to creep up once you are settled into your new home.
These aren't the things we fall in love with at first glance, but they can have a really big effect on your new life over time. And if you are purchasing an apartment, they can have a big effect on the resale value as well. Come with us to explore a few of them. As usual, we'll show you a few lovely interiors.
Measure your larger items of furniture and bring along a measuring tape to work out how it will all fit in the new home. A studio apartment may be bright and large, but that's not much use if there is no simple way to arrange a private sleeping area. Look at the space and consider where you can put in temporary dividers (or walls if you are buying). Note where the main walkway will be and try to find a configuration that will allow each area to have decent natural light. Look at this small studio apartment for inspiration. It's tiny, but there's a separate dining room, living room, desk and even bedroom around the corner. If you are trying to work out how to create a small study, check out this Ideabook.
Your potential new kitchen may look super cute, but if there is inadequate storage, the bench space will get very cluttered and annoying over time. If you are looking at renting, look for corners you might add a small kitchen bench on wheels for extra bench and storage space. Healthy eating is such an important part of our lives that the kitchen should really be an easy place to be and work.
If possible, visit the property at different times of day to really evaluate how much natural light the home receives. Natural light helps lift our spirits and regulate our bodies. It's the single most important factor in the resale value of any home and it's the one factor in any home that's usually impossible to change.
If you are one of those people who choose a place based on your emotional response, don't forget to note the artificial light fittings. If you don't feel good in a place, it may just be that the artificial lights are harsh or too bluish in tone. This is something that can easily be fixed. Look at the gorgeous recessed lights in this apartment for an example of how lovely decent lighting can be.
If you are considering a home with a windowless bathroom, take the time to inspect it thoroughly. Windowless bathrooms obviously have less ventilation, so it's a good idea to check the fan and the silicon grouting for any signs of mould. On another note, windowless bathrooms often feel cramped. So look at the potential to open up the bathroom with great mirrors like this and perhaps even add some greenery.
There's no need to expound the benefits of the tiniest balcony or outdoor space. But of course, the benefits need to be weighed in relationship to the other aspects of the home. A good balcony space is really an extension of your living space. So it's worth considering a smaller home if it comes with a balcony. The space won't feel poky or claustrophobic, but of course, it all depends on how you use the space. Look at considering the furnishing of the balcony as you might your interiors. That way you'll be encouraged to spend time out there and avoid turning it into a storage space.
If you are an animal lover, don't assume that pets will be welcome. Check the regulations for the apartment block. But also consider the finish of the floor and how easy or difficult it may be to clean. Carpet is rarely a good idea for pet owners. The fibres trap hair, absorb odours and soak up stains. Look for a home with a wooden or concrete floor, then add your soft flooring with a great little low pile rug.
If you are looking for a new home, you'll love the furniture layout ideas in this Ideabook How to make the most of your small living room.