Coated in graffiti and gritty textures, Berlin is known for its characteristic concrete, urban aesthetic. Stylish, edgy and artsy, Berliners have a knack for simple yet effective interiors, and mostly, they like to spend as little money as possible. From re-purposed wooden furniture to up-cycling, remodelling and repurposing, Berlin is awash with clever, cost-effective decor trends that optimise dense city living. The best part is that with a little creativity, most of these life-hack innovations are DIY friendly.
Art is on every street corner in Berlin, from the graffiti walls, the murals, street poetry and even the little pavement gardens adorned with loving care and trinkets. It varies from neighbourhood to neighbourhood, but Berlin is a very art conscious place, and you’ll see its inhabitants creating art out of anything. Things left outside on the street, thrown away, be it an old board with someone’s drawing on it or a stylish vintage lamp, one mans trash literally becomes another man’s treasure, and well, work of art.
As rents rise, many people have taken to living in industrial warehouse-like spaces that afford them a lot of square footage and a decent rent deal. In this situation, it’s all about highlighting the beautiful textures of a big, bare space. Forget about painting the walls, rather see the character and charm peeling paint or concrete walls bring. Add a little softness by draping light fabrics and natural materials, posters and big white candles to add warmth and dimension to the space.
Another great way to enhance your walls, Berlin style, is to construct your very own memory wall to hang up photos of friends, artworks found on the streets, posters of the live gig you played, and all other snapshots of your charmed Berlin life. It’s a fun and cost-effective way to conquer space and add an intimate touch. All you need is a few screws in the wall and some elastic string with clips, and you can even get creative by shapeshifting the string.
There are only two ways millennials in Berlin aquire their furniture; from Ikea when their parents are in town, or they scoop it up right off the pavement. If you can’t lift that 50s cabinet that someone left outside, and you don’t want to commit to buying a big hunk of furniture in a place as temporary as Berlin, rather stack a few wooden palette boxes on top of each other to create temporary book shelves. They can be easily reorganised and moved around from wall to floor, and don’t look too shabby either.
Berlin is all about boho, up-cycled and recycled looks, originated in history, now taken over by the young, hip Berlin. Many living spaces have high ceilings, big walls and a lot of the time, are very old and rustic, making the perfect canvas for all the bohemian babes living in the cracks of the city. Berlin is also abundant in concrete and greenery, put the two together and you’ve got it made. Hang planters from the ceiling for the ultimate urban jungle look, and combine other touches like hanging macramé wall art on bruised walls, vintage furniture brought home from Sunday’s flea market, repurposing wooden furniture, and making your own clothes and patchwork pillows. It’s a boho paradise here in Berlin.
For more refined tastes, the Bauhaus school of thought redefined artistic and design principles, merging fine art with interior design and production. From designer chairs to premium kitchen appliances, it’s all about sleek minimalism paired with functionality. The movement was born around 1920s Weimer, and its style is still one of the most influential for modern design, furniture, art and architecture. You can find Bauhaus inspired designs in many interior design shops across Berlin.