Which Kind of Apartment to Choose in the D.C. Area

Before we can do any designing, or room planning, there has to be an actual space to live in! How do we get there? In this bustling metropolis there are a million different types of homes to choose from, and so many styles to convey in whichever home you choose. Start on apartmentshowcase.com and search the area you’re interested in living.




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If you are looking for a smaller footprint with a lot of living space, this could be your direction. They are usually 3 or 4 flights tall with plenty of rooms. Townhouses are on the rise in the DC area. They are nice because you have direct access outside with a front and/or back door, and a garage.  They are usually pretty updated, and if you are buying, you can design and choose your countertops, cabinets, floors, paint, etc with the builder. They are a great option, as long as you don’t mind stairs! Another consideration with the stairs, from a design point of view, is it is hard to get bigger furniture into your home. This space will usually lend a more contemporary feel, unless decorated otherwise.



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Now a highrise certainly will feel more modern and updated (unless it is dated and needs work.) If you like having a concierge, and elevator access to your apartment is not an issue, this is a great home option! You can look around and find different apartments in all different sizes, and the versatile range of interiors and options is nice to find the one that is right for you. You may even get a pool on your roof for these hot D.C. summers!:) Find out when researching whether you can paint or make small changes like drilling for window treatments to know how much decorating you will be able to do while there.



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For a tighter more personal space, a studio apartment will provide you with your basics, and can be the most interesting places to design. If done right, a small studio can feel like your abode and you’ll need nothing more. Small spaces are my favorite to design, because while challenging, they force creativity, and always come out unique and special. If you don’t have a need for broad airy space, and you’re okay with keeping it cozy, a simple studio apartment may surprise you with how interesting it can turn out!

Shared Home or Duplex

shared home

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This is a good way to live in a home without all the commitment of home buying just yet. A shared home is affordable and, if you get the right crowd, fun too! You may have more [shared] space than you otherwise could, including possibly a back yard, front porch, driveway, larger living rooms and kitchens. You do have to be a people person though. A duplex can cut some of the struggle of multiple roommates however, while still allowing you to live in a house, if that is what you prefer. Homes are fun to decorate, they come in all shapes and sizes, and if you get a nice landlord, he may be up for renovations if you (or your designer) offer to manage them.

 Row house


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The D.C. area is known for their row houses- Logan Circle, DuPont, not to mention Old Town in Alexandria. They are the definition of cute in my opinion. Interiors generally lend toward an older antiqued character, but can be styled in any direction with furnishings and decorations. Similarly to townhouses, rowhouses have [even more] narrow staircases to consider. And narrow rooms to boot! This is a challenge in decorating, but like small studios, this challenge is widely accepted as motivation for creativity. As these buildings have a little more history, they are more interesting architecturally as well. A great choice for someone who enjoys a unique and cozy living space.

Garden Style


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This is what I live in! Garden Style apartments are great for a homey, village type feel. Each apartment occupies one floor, and the buildings are typically only 2 or 3 stories high. There is usually a landscaped courtyard, or garden and the space is pretty big. I love living here. The floorplan is pretty open, and the building is older (built in the 30s) so it again has architectural interest and character. There is definitely a sense of community here, which is important to me. I like garden styles for the proximity to nature, and because they are a less metropolitan way to live. They can also be styled in any direction you choose to go.



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D.C. needs to up the ante on their loft style homes available! It is what we are missing, because loft homes are gorgeous! There are a few in NW and SE and a few that are available to artists only. These homes are challenging in the opposite way that studios and rowhouses are, in that they are so big and open, you must define spaces with the furniture layout, or with lighting, or other creative ways. Lofts always have some extra interest, whether it be exposed brick walls, open ceilings with pipes and air ducts, salvaged wood floors, large windows, or all of the above.  Hard to go wrong there! You can play to the industrial nature of the space with decor, or like in this photo, you can go in any other direction too, including traditional.

The right designer can make any space look good. Of course it helps to have good bones, but the style of the building doesn’t have to dictate your decorating style. So rent whichever space suits you, and then leave it to your designer to make it yours! Contact me here for questions or help with designing! www.nafasiinteriors.com Thanks Apartment Showcase!!

Find your next apartment with Apartment Showcase.

Teri Clar

Teri Clar

Teri is a interior designer, entrepreneur, and a writer in Washington DC area.

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