|Image from hercampus.com|
Goodbye, jungle house. So long, hoarded items. Hello, empty space! For years, a plot to get my own place was in the works - mostly out of desperation given that there was a lack of funds. Moreover, my cousin and I had been devising ways for me to be closer to her and to my favourite eateries. Prayers were answered with a financially feasible solution - finally! I mean, I have to go where the job is, right? In this post, I'm sharing the process and tips I found useful when decorating my dated but "new" apartment, but here's a link to a check sheet I made when I was on the hunt for a place to rent. I would also recommend printing off a copy of the actual listing when comparing apartments.
After having gone through multiple listings, I opted for a place closest to work, had ample space for the cost, and had easy access to public transportation. I cried on the first night of possession. Perhaps it was because the air mattress was an uncomfortable blob as I stupidly forgot to charge the inflator. Perhaps I was overwhelmed with how drastically my life was changing. Perhaps it was because I was surrounded by cardboard boxes and the smell left by the previous tenants, and there was no sense of familiarity. I couldn't have that. So I devised a systematic method to conscientiously fill my space with character.
1// Establish a budget
It's a no-brainer, but it's so very easy to get carried away.
2// Shop around and compare
As with most people, IKEA is a great place to start when it comes to furnishing your first space. They're affordable, easy to assemble, the packaging is compact, and they're generally lighter than comparable items. However, I still want to interject it with home items from other places, and the Internet has made it a far less daunting task. Don't discredit the value of finding things the old-fashioned way. I was able to find the best deals, on high-ticket items, by rifling through the flyers.
3// Create a virtual space
You don't even have to be CAD-savvy to do this. I just copy-and-pasted images onto a PowerPoint slide and arranged them roughly how it would look in my space.
4// Have a shopping list handy
Shopping for furniture is already stressful as is. Having a shopping list handy will help you stay on budget, and it makes it easier to locate the items you're looking for. Aside from your furniture basics, what did I absolutely have to have? Candles, coasters, couch cushions, and a tufted headboard. At least, that was what I felt I needed in order to feel like a sophisticated adult. Furthermore, cushions covers are a great place to start for a simple sewing project. Easily update old cushions with covers either as an envelope or zipped to compliment your aesthetic.
5// Make it a slow, intentional process
I spent weeks, prior to my possession date, planning out my furnishings, and it's still a process to this day. By building it up in increments, it allows you to curate your space that reflects your personality.
Second-hand stores are great places to start looking for small furnishing items. Here are some of my favourite nabs from the thrift store!
Glass Hurricane, $3
They're incredibly versatile when it comes to changing up your decor. You can fill them with rocks/ beans/ candy/ whatever, place a candle in it, or use it as a vase for freshly cut flowers.
Mug, $1/ pc
The tower of mugs is probably my favourite section in the store. There are so many colours and styles to choose from (these powder blue Corelle ones, for instance). Sometimes, you can find the the same one in multiples. Alternatively, you an create a kitschy vibe by buying an array of different mugs, and you can maintain a sense of cohesiveness by sticking with like colours.
Canvas Art, $3
It was only $3. 'Nuff said.
Bonus: I found this polka-dotted Tommy Hilfiger blazer for $15. I just have to take it in the sides and back for a better fit.
This accent mirror can be hung on the straight or on the corner, and I'm drawn to the metallic frame. To my dismay yet unfazed by my clumsiness, I swung my arm in such a way that catapulted it from its nail and broke. Not the glass. Just the frame. I'm bad luck enough as is. Well, it was nice while it lasted.
It's reversible! I did, however, initially mistaken it for a blanket.
Wall Hook, $5/ pc
Although not a thrift store find, I still got a most excellent deal on these wall hooks. Frustrated with having to untangle all of my necklaces, and having forgotten to pack my wall hooks from home, I went to hunt for some at Anthropolgie. Initially, I picked one up for $28, but then I made my way over to the sale table to find these perforated metal ones. They only cost me $10 for both (with the additional 40% off) after taxes! Self high-five indeed. I opted for the copper ones, but they also came in silver and gold. You can also find neat wall hooks at Steeling Home. I came across them by chance because a man was following me, my cousin, and my sister, so we ducked into the nearest store.
Creating a comfy space is an intimate process, so languor in the journey, and make it your own!