I once said I wouldn't move out of my 400 sq foot studio apartment even if I won the lottery. It was my little sanctuary, tucked just outside of downtown Salem, Mass (#spooky). With perfectly imperfect antique details, 2 mini fridges, a door knob that kept falling off, floor to ceiling windows, and an eclectic crowd of neighboring residents, good old apartment 13 (another #spooky) was my first rented love. One guy in a group of after-partiers at about 2 am Halloween weekend once expressed his astonishment with the place saying "wow, this is, like, a really cool apartment." So, there's that.
Unsurprisingly to you (based on the title and subtle lead up).... I don't live there anymore! After exactly 2 years, I ripped off the band-aid and parted ways that my cute little place. However, a little part of my heart still yearns for #13. So, please allow me to take a walk down memory lane and tell you a bit about my place as a form of medicine.
I got my keys in March of 2017, and quickly commenced an iPhone photoshoot (with Instagram intentions) of my hand holding said key. I was so proud! Not to mention, the post is one of my most liked to this day!
The "before" photos. I had never had such a large canvas to make my own! I've always needed to make a space my own. When I studied abroad in London, within the first few days I made my way to Primark to get pillows, blankets, candles, and other decor for my space (and all for 18 pounds!). One of my greatest feats to date is my 6th grade bedroom design, complete with lime green walls, a funky pink floral rug (which was reminiscent of Bikini Bottom), lofted bed, matching PB Teen retro rockers, iconic Ikea wavy mirror that every early 2000's room had, and bowl of sour patch kids to delight all my 11 year old friends. Needless to say, home decor has always been my thing.
Just as I started to move in, I got a call from my landlord that some reps from Netflix wanted to take a walk through to potentially shoot a movie in my apartment. My place made it to the final round, but didn't wind up being chosen. I later found out it was an Adam Sandler movie!
My couch was my biggest single purchase to date! I searched for weeks, researching the best options. I knew I wanted a velvet tufted couch, and wanted to be able to convert it to a bed for guests. When I came across this affordable beauty at Walmart (yes, WALMART), I knew I had found the one. The back flips down to transform into a bed! I very highly recommend this couch.
Aren't goodbyes weird, especially when you're parting ways with a place that can't say goodbye and hug you back? I settled on obsessively photographing my space in hopes I would never let the essence of my first apartment fade. I just moved in with my boyfriend of almost 3 years, but I did the thing! I graduated college and financially supported myself! I was, and still am, so proud of making it on my own.
I'm not quite sure how to wrap this thing up, so I guess I'll leave you with my decorating tips for any future 21 year old girls set on being an independent beyotch.
1. Invest in one or 2 pieces you LOVE to elevate your space. I treated myself to the coziest Anthropologie Blanket ever!
2. Do your research! It's tempting to buy that cool faux fur couch you found at Marshall's while running "errands" on a Sunday, but probably not the best idea. Instead, really think about what you want out of your furniture pieces. Do you want to be able to sleep guests? Do you have pets? Do you like to eat on the couch and maybe sometimes accidentally drop some Ben and Jerry's Half Baked that you would like to be able to clean up easily?
3. Newer isn't always better. I've found some really unique, awesome pieces at thrift stores or on Facebook Marketplace. Plus, you can usually get some pretty high quality pieces for the price of Ikea furniture.
4. Don't pick a "theme." I hate when I see living spaces where it's clear that 2 or 3 colors were chosen, and that's all they stuck with! find it rare that super matchy spaces emulate much personality. Personally, I'm not into matching. Instead, I like to pick a something that I immediately love, like a cool vintage rug or art print, and pull colors from those pieces as accent colors. Then, for the base of my space, I like to use neutrals like pale pink, white, grey, and leather. For example, I found that a few of my art pieces and my rug had hints of yellow, so I chose a yellow throw pillow to balance it out. It's really all about finding pieces that make you happy, and working them in wherever you can.
5. Plants fix everything! Is there a weird stain on your wall? Hang a plant over it. A bunch of wires in the corner? hide them with a plant. Need to add some life to your kitchen or bathroom? You guessed it... PLANT IT UP! Plants add such incredible energy, texture, and movement to a space.
6. Art. When I travel, I like to find a unique art piece from the area as a souvenir. So over time, I've acquired a substantial amount of cool prints from around the world! However, that doesn't always mean I have the perfect piece for every space. Plus, framing can be so expensive when a piece is irregularly sized. Well ladies and gents, I am going to share one of my greatest art hacks with you: Etsy downloadable files. Yes, you can purchase the file of a piece, then bring it to be printed in any size you want. I bought this Picasso file for about $7, then brought it to a print house and had it made to fit a frame I had found on Amazon. In total, I spent about $13 on the print, which is sort of remarkable for a piece so large.
Keep an eye out for a tour of my new apartment!