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Bachelor pad design... what would you do?

post #1 of 66
Thread Starter 
So I'm getting a new apartment with absolutely no furniture to my name. After years of college room chic with such descriptors as "IKEA" and "found on the curb," I'm ready for somewhat cohesive design elements.

There are a ton of options and just about any theme can be appealing if done right. If you had a new bachelor pad and a complete blank slate, what would you do?

For my case I have a plain rental unit with white walls and 'rental brown' carpeting. Affordability is still a big concern, but the budget is more than a college student's. I'd probably focus on a key piece of furniture like a couch and build up the room around that.

The mid-century modern apartment: always popular and passing the test of time. Simple pieces can do so much with so little.

Simplicity... no need for throw pillows
Longevity is probably the best and would long outlast my stay at an apartment
Abundant. Small stuff from IKEA won't look out of place

Cost. A great piece can be expensive
IMO this is the hardest to get looking "right," it's very easy to mismatch badly
Comfort. Something like a Corbusier couch doesn't seem very nap-able


Dark woods, glass, and fabric. Something simple to throw together, nearly foolproof; but without much character.


Easy. Every store has something that'll fit this decor.
Cheap. Discount furniture stores thrive with these kind of designs.


Soulless - Very cookie cutter
Would be outdated in a few years, but I'd be ready for new stuff by then

Cigar Lounge

What could be more relaxing than retreating to your lair, whiskey in hand, after a long day of work?

Comfy? A big brown leather couch seems nice
The manliest of rooms right in the living room, and when would a wife allow this ever again?

Dark. Would probably need a lot more wood paneling than a rental affords.
Hard to pull off - could end up just looking dank without the right touches

Post ideas, pics, have fun
post #2 of 66
Post an actual photo of the place you are renting - the first and third looks you posted require specific architectural elements to work.
post #3 of 66
VMan makes a good point. The space is important, as are the restrictions on what you can do with it.

I like modern, if the budget permits. But modern on a shoestring often looks like crap. The cracks show very easily. On the other end of the spectrum, if everything comes straight from the showroom, it's possible to end up with a generic living space that lacks personality and charm.

I really don't like "cigar lounge" -- too try-hard -- or "contemporary" when it means "generic stuff bought in bulk at Pottery Barn."

For starter apartments, particularly ones you don't intend to remain in for a long time, I like an eclectic approach. If you trust your tastes, buy pieces you really love, stuff that will mean something to you. Invest in good quality items that will have resale value. That way, if you get tired of something, or your tastes change, or you move, you can flip it. A cheapo pressed-wood bookcase will end up in the trash can; one of solid oak will always have value.
post #4 of 66
I'm getting a house cleaner, figure $100 (what does basic cable run nowdays?) and you don't have to vacuum or clean or do any other nonesense.

If you want mid-century, steelcase desks go for about $10-20 at university/school surplus auctions. You can repaint them with car pain if you really want to make it super nice.
post #5 of 66
Thread Starter 
Heres a terrible pic I took on a browse through for mental notes:

The floorplan. The walled off kitchen could make the living room a little awkward, but that will most likely be a TV stand. (More like 715 ft^2 though, ignore the print)

post #6 of 66
Carpet kills your chances to do anything. You're pretty much fucked.
post #7 of 66
Originally Posted by StephenHero View Post
Carpet kills your chances to do anything. You're pretty much fucked.
Huh? Your biggest problem is going to be wall space for a couch and entertainment. How big are the walls surrounding living room?
post #8 of 66
Apartments with soul and apartments with carpet are mutually exclusive.
post #9 of 66
Originally Posted by StephenHero View Post
Apartments with soul and apartments with carpet are mutually exclusive.
Don't rent in the South. You'll be sorely disappointed in the lack of soulfull living spaces.
post #10 of 66
I'm in very much the same position as you - trying to furnish a 1-bedroom bachelor pad from scratch.

A lot of the modern looks don't really appeal to me as I find a lot of the furniture to be extremely uncomfortable. My view is that if one can only fit one couch in an apartment, it should be a comfortable one. I also wonder about your comment on longlevity - a lot of "older" designs are better built than many of the modern/trendy pieces of furniture.

I'm more partial to using the classic concepts you posted as an inspiration and giving things your own personal twist. You don't absolutely need wood panelling and fireplaces if you can be a bit creative with the color palette. It might pay to go for a bold paint/wallpaper color in a small space. I'm looking at some very traditional sofas right now and was absolutely amazed by some of the leather samples I've seen. You can really make something stand out with the right fabric/leather in the right color without having to spend a fortune.

I'm more partial to hardwood floors, but I'd imagine that with a nice area rug, you could probably get over any obstacles the carpeting imposes. If you're going for a cigar lounge/library look, a nice thick carpet could actually be the thing you'd want anyway - it can give the room a very luxurious feel.
post #11 of 66
i'm moving into my first home next month. i'm done with the apartment years and am taking a 1 bedroom condo. i'll have walnut flooring and darker cabinetry so i'm planning on doing a kind of loungy/modern thing with it - modern design with leather comfort. a family eames chair has made it to me and i found a couch i like a lot. it's definitely going to be a bachelor pad level 10. as far as what you posted above, the design of the space is gonna be pretty limiting. i love the cigar lounge look but that really relies a lot on the materials and layout of the room itself. the colors of the walls lean more towards a contemporary setup, IMO. i have mixed feelings on furnishing apartments because they're so temporary. do you really want to put the time and effort into painting the place and then re-painting it when you move? do you plan on keeping any of the furnishings for a long time after this or is this a stepping stone? you may consider getting cheaper, more disposable items until you find a more permanent residence you can really focus on designing and spending the money on. also, the biggest thing i learned out of getting new furniture is ALWAYS TEST THE COUCH. i saw a couple that i liked online and was going to pull the trigger until i found a showroom where i could sit on them and experience how horrible they felt.
post #12 of 66
I prefer a more eclectic look. I've seen many beautiful styles incorporating the modern look with interesting antiques, Victorian elements, rustic Parisian, country chic,etc.etc. beautiful rugs, etc.
post #13 of 66
I agree that it may not make sense to repaint walls, etc if you don't own the place -- I thought you did. I would, however, still consider buying a really nice couch you could take with you when you move to another place in the same city/area (if that is likely).

Most of the IKEA, etc things I bought didn't survive one move out of and into a new place, but the few times I've put some money into decent furniture, its always handled moves ok, lasted longer, and is just more enjoyable to use on a daily basis than than the cheaper stuff.
post #14 of 66
Originally Posted by StephenHero View Post
Apartments with soul and apartments with carpet are mutually exclusive.

I agree 100% with this. Carpet sucks. You can't do modern when you have beige carpets.
post #15 of 66
Sorry but what's the difference between an apartment and a condo?
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