After my boyfriend and I decided to move in together, I was excited to decorate a place we could call our own. Up until that point I had lived with a lot of roommates and it never completely felt like home.
Now that we’re about seven months in, I look forward to coming home every night and having a cozy space to relax and destress from the day (aka watch bad reality television and drink wine).
Since moving costs so much in the city, we had a pretty tight budget for furniture and décor once we found an apartment. Most of the furniture we bought came from IKEA with the idea of upgrading down the road when we eventually move into a bigger place — or simply when we can afford nicer things. Right now it’s very mix and match with hopes to one day have a more cohesive space.
It might not be picture-perfect, but it’s the perfect place to call home and continue to make our own — and lucky for me, my roomie doesn’t mind me calling the shots on decorating, which means I have to look away from the Target home aisle every time I go. And if you’re anything like me (or basically a human) you know how hard that is.
Note: Throughout the post I’ve linked to the exact items I’ve highlighted in case you’re interested in getting them for your own place.
So let’s begin! Welcome!
We live in a high-rise building in lower Manhattan. Our apartment feels like a one-bedroom, but it is technically a “studio with a home office.” The home office portion is our room, which fits our bed and two nightstands and does not have a door. Instead, it has a frosted sliding glass wall to block the room off from the hallway.
Because of how small the bedroom is, we spend most of our time in the living room, specifically on the middle cushion of the couch (I swear it’s going to have our butts permanently imprinted there one day) and our feet up on the coffee table. It feels really comfortable and cozy — plus our area rug is a shag carpet and feels super soft on your toes. The biggest pain, though, is keeping it white!
Since the entire apartment, including our home office/bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living room, is only about 550 sq.-ft., we had to get creative with how we store things.
In the large window sill areas (they’re big enough to sit on and read a book or stare at people 16 stories down), we use large bins to hold extra blankets, our winter gear and the excessive pillows that I couldn’t stop buying. Seriously, there are pillows everywhere.
After moving in we quickly realized how much space booze can take up in a cupboard. We also had an awkward dead space to fill so we (I) decided to buy this gold bar cart that I was drooling over for months. I snatched it up the instant it went on sale and built it myself (it was very easy). It’s been oddly fun to decorate and make our own.
Off of the living room is our kitchen, which I love because you can cook and/or clean while still being able to talk to each other in the living room and watch TV. Also the amount of counter space is ridiculous for New York. That was one of our biggest draws to this apartment. We can set up a whole spread here and not feel like things are going to fall off the edge. The KitchenAid was a big ticket item I decided to buy myself for Christmas and I frequently refer to it as my BFF. Although it’s a popular wedding gift, I HIGHLY recommend getting one long before that.
The first time I went shopping for the bathroom, I came home and Evan was like, “….no.” I tried really hard to get a red shower curtain (which he says was pink) in here, but we both came to a compromise that this blue shower curtain was a lot more neutral, and I have to say he wins here. I love it.
BUT, I got to keep the peach and pink bath rug and gold Nate Berkus canisters, which I think bring a nice decorative element to the bathroom. This white IKEA stand is made to display plants, but it helped us create more counter space since that is so limited in the city.
I got this blue bin for free from work. We were moving buildings and everyone was putting out stuff they didn’t want to haul over to our new place. I’m so glad I grabbed it because it’s perfect for holding extra towels, including my favorite towel wrap, and hair appliances.
We have to use every inch of every room to store things so these bins are perfect for sliding under our sink and hold more hair appliances and “girly things.”
Our bedroom is definitely the least exciting part of our apartment. The only time spent in there is sleeping, which was new for me since I practically lived in my bedroom in every apartment before this. My bed was my desk, my kitchen table, my everything.
This is also the place we’ve put the least amount of effort into decorating. The three-panel photo was originally in our living room but we didn’t hang it straight the first time so we moved it into the bedroom to try again. Basically everything in this room is from IKEA, including the aforementioned photos, nightstands, bed frame and white shelves.
The best part has to be our bedding. The jersey sheets from Target are the softest sheets I have ever purchased and they were only $28 for a full set. The linen duvet cover is from West Elm and definitely not something I could afford but I was in a mood and just needed to have it. I really don’t regret it though — it literally melts over your body and lulls you to sleep.
Speaking of sleeping, I love it so much that I had to find a better way to get my butt out of bed for work — especially since our bedroom doesn’t have windows to let natural light shine through. My friend recommended the Philips Wake-Up Light (the white circular orb-looking thing on the left nightstand). It slowly lights up to mimic the sunrise and birds chirp (you can change the noise and brightness) so when I wake up the room is bright. I will admit one time Evan found me fast asleep with the bright light shining on my face, but for the most part, it makes waking up a lot more pleasant.
And that’s about it! Hope you enjoyed the space as much as we do and got some tips for making your own space feel a little more organized and homey.
Stay tuned for the ways I’d like to update our place and what’s on my wish list at Target (I’ll have to restrain myself!).