Apartment Budgeting 101

Apartment Budgeting 101

Moving is expensive…. like… really f****g expensive, and I’m learned that very quickly! At the beginning of the year, I laid out my goals for 2019 and budgeting for an apartment move was a the top of the list. (and thank god I did)

Budgeting for a new home is a two step process. The first being the rent itself, but something that’s equally as important, the furniture! Although I’ve loved IKEA since birth, this felt like a time to graduate to other brands. With that said, saving, refurbishing and keeping my eyes peeled on the best deals was very important.  I had to get creative and also embrace that this is a lot harder than just grabbing a top at Zara on sale.

What and How to Buy New:

Based off my space size increase, I did have to buy a large amount of new items. Those big items included an area rug, couch and the bedroom furniture. Although more expensive than I was used to, they are pieces I’ll be using everyday, so it didn’t take long to get over the initial hit to the credit card I had to take.

Websites like Article and Birchlane were both reasonable and easy to find exactly what I was looking for. I also referenced this article, which helped me understand the price points I should be expecting for certain pieces of furniture.

I’d also say that buying new linens, pillows and prints are easy and quick ways to change up your space without totally breaking the bank.

IMG_8233.jpg

Where to save:

Just like shopping for clothes, never count out a consignment shop! All of the armchairs I wanted a big box stores were basically double or triple the price of what I found at my favorite antique shop in Chicago. I’ve got a bunch of items, big and small from flea markets and such that have really pulled my place together. There’s a lot of charm to be gained when you mix newer modern pieces with older, more one-of-a kind pieces.

Framing art is another potential money pit that can easily be avoided. A craft store like Michael’s or local framer can charge you hundreds per frame, but never fear, IKEA is always here. For my gridded gallery wall, I picked up these 9×9  frames for $10 each and bought matt board from a craft store and did this myself. This was at least a third the price if I had a professional or online company do it for me.

TWHome-7367.jpg

Things to keep:

One of the best parts about this move was that I had the chance to look at everything I own, and make sure that it had a purpose if it was taken to a new space. Although I’m not an avid reader, by any stretch, I have a great collection of coffee table books from travels and friends that serve well in a more design sense than they ever would to read. Any cute book has a chance to serve as decor on your table or side board like it does for me.

Those little side tables you got in college, keep them! I almost threw out a $20 black table from IKEA but you never know when you’ll need another surface next to your couch, bathroom, etc. The same goes for picture frames too, as they can easily be repurposed if need be.

The best advice I can give is to think practically when you’re decorating an apartment. You can dream, but you have to be realistic. You know what’s trash, you know what’s overpriced and you know what you need. Only spend the money when it’s something you’re using everyday. Don’t buy the $300 couch and the $70 designer coffee table book! (Even though I’ve probably done the latter before)

IMG_8238.jpg

A list of my favorite places to shop for this apartment below:

Article

At Home

Birch Lane

Crate and Barrel

Edgewater Antique Mall

Foursided

IKEA

Randolph Street Market

West Elm

Color Me Complete

Color Me Complete

If you haven’t already figured out by now, color is EVERYTHING to me when it comes to my personal style. I’ve always been drawn to colors; bright and bold. When it came time to decorate my apartment, especially my living room area, incorporating colors in a seamless way was imperative. That didn’t mean just a couple of throw pillows and calling it a day.

IMG_8229.JPG

The Walls: The first question I’ve been receiving about my apartment is usually in reference to the paint color. As someone who usually migrates towards painting a room blue, I’d been seeing green pop up more and more when looking for inspiration. I  picked my paint color by Backdrop.com, Weekend Upstate, which hints at olive green, but a touch more blue. The reason I chose a half wall style, was because cheats the idea that this new construction building has any sort of architectural detailing, like wainscoting.

Processed with VSCO with e1 preset
A half wall style adds instant charm and detail to an otherwise basic wall

The Rug: 

Rugs are probably the easiest place to incorporate color, and my splurge from Pottery Barn did just that. This modern taken on a oriental rug has so many colors to pull from, and tied in the green from wall perfectly.

Furniture: 

Perhaps one of the best finds for my house were my red velvet chairs. This vintage find was truly a diamond in the rough. In a hot red color and an unbeatable price ($295 for the set), they were just too unique to leave behind. My biggest fear was that a green wall and red chairs would read Christmas, but the colors are so different, that they end up standing out enough on their own.

Processed with VSCO with e1 preset

I  choose my couch, from Article, in a chocolate brown, to add a rich and masculine tone to a rather busy color palette that’s already been established. As my living space also shares my dining room, instead of color matching every surface, it was easier to mix. Luckily a black dining table goes with any dark wood, including my side table.

The Artwork: 

Art might be one of the harder things to find for a space, but it can really be the perfect way to incorporate color into the room. Instead of the typical gallery wall set up I’m used to, I  did a gridded style behind my dining table. These are colorful vintage luggage tags from Louis Vuitton, one of my favorite designers. Each brings a hint of color that really picks up tones from the wall, carpet and other parts of the room. Framed rackets, vintage artwork and a few pieces of my own pull it all together.

 

TWHome-7367
Love how this gallery wall of vintage travel tags pulled through even more color

Accessories: 

Tying all these colorful puzzle pieces together really comes down to accessorizing. The easiest way I brought color through smaller pieces was my exorbitant amount of coffee table books, each with a different spine, typography and punch. I like stacking them horizontally and placing other pieces on top, for different heights around the space.

I  also picked up a few inexpensive vases in bold hues and added more muted fake florals to each for a sharp contrast.

With essentially a giant white box, there were a lot of directions I could have gone in, and I’m thrilled with the mature and grown up, yet colorful decisions I’ve made in this living room space. The end result is equal parts playful and refined.

I’ll be sharing more on my bedroom design and the how to my best hacks very soon!

Keep reading!

TW

/All photos shot by Jenny Connors/

 

Cool, Calm and Collected

Cool, Calm and Collected

With a living room dedicated to color, I figured it might be a wise decision to not follow the exact same formula when it came to decorating my bedroom. Where a living room is a showpiece to share with friends visiting, your bedroom is a more private space, one that doesn’t need all the bells and whistles that your living room or dining room might need.

IMG_8240.JPG

The one thing I  wanted to make sure this bedroom did have, was its own personality. Where as my living space embraces every color of the rainbow, I decided to keep things calmer and more streamlined here. My last bedroom was a deeper charcoal, but with so much natural light (and more space) in this one, I  decided to lighten it up with this Italian Plaster color. This allowed for virtually any color to really pop against it.

Processed with VSCO with e1 preset

As a big fan of blue, I  really wanted to incorporate a rich navy tone and that worked beautifully in the form of my tufted headboard. I  scooped up this one on sale. If you’re not in the financial place to buy a whole need bed, sometimes a headboard is a cost effective solution. I  went with the velvet material because it gives me that hotel vibe.

In my last space, I didn’t have room for a proper side table or dresser, so these items were must haves. I typically don’t like matching sets, but because I  fell in love with the midcentury color blocked style of these, I let my own preferences slide. Having the white cabinets helps give that hotel feel to space and keep it bright.

Processed with VSCO with e1 preset

With a really calming palette, I  wanted to keep artwork and other bedding in blacks and whites. Although the space doesn’t use a pop of color, the scale of photos and decor pieces help. From the oversized paint brunch to personal artwork and photos, it feels polished but casual. I’ve really been loving the look when you don’t even hang your artwork, instead just you just lean it up against the wall or shelf.

My bedding sticks to the classic hotel style, another on sale find from West Elm, and I found this fun tapestry, that I had converted into a pillow, during a trip to Atlanta earlier this year. A long mirror and vintage salmon leather chair complete the furnishings and make the room feel finished.

At the end of the day, literally, your bedroom should be a calming and restful space for you, and that’s exactly what this space is for me. More home tips and details to come soon,

Thanks for reading!

TW

 

 

 

I’ve got a Blank Space, Baby

I’ve got a Blank Space, Baby

Living by yourself has a lot of positives, and perhaps for someone like me, it’s the sense of independence and ownership that I can take in my space that is the best part. Of course, one facet of that ownership is the look and feel of the space. For someone that has always loved decorating my room, trips to IKEA, and has moved dozens of times during my childhood, nailing the look on this apartment was really important to me. 

Even though I don’t own his apartment, I sure as hell treated it like so when it came to decorating. After 3 years in an older, smaller space, I was so excited to make one of my goals of 2019 to find a new home and make it 100% me. At this point of my life, I feel like a lot of us are starting to find our forever homes, cities, etc and are faced with an exciting yet stressful feeling, a BLANK SPACE. 

When I found this apartment, it truly was a blank canvas, and as someone with an art background, I know exactly how intimidating that can be. Once deciding on the space, I spent nights (it felt like every night) for months looking through books, catalogs, instagrams and pintrest to see what was out there. 

Ordering paint colors, pacing over a rug, and taking things in and out of my cart 500 times, was a really fun (and stressful) experience that I’ve been wanting to share for everyone who’s been buying a new place, decorating their first apartment, or trying to figure out budgeting and their own personal style. 

IMG_6249

From Blank Space to Bright and Bold

TWHome-7309.jpg

I’ll be sharing a series of posts about my new home over the coming weeks, so keep following along as I  break it down as much as possible. I’ve learned through this process that home interior is more of a passion of mine that I even imagined. 

For now, I’ve included a few photos of my apartment but I’ll be featuring MUCH more in following posts. Can’t wait to share more!  

-TW

 

 

 

Apartment Inspiration

Exciting things are around the corner, or should I say, the block! As of May, I’ll be moving into a new apartment and I could not be more thrilled. Since choosing my new apartment, I’ve been on a steady diet of online shopping at West Elm, combing through catalogs and scrolling Instagram for hours for inspiration.

Having a new place means a fresh start and as much as I’ve loved my apartment, gallery wall and current layout, I thought it might be fun to share some inspiration and trends that I’m planning to incorporate into my new place next month.

Color Shift:

I’m a firm believer of “throw what you know” or better yet, “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” When it comes to paint colors, I definitely play by these rules. I’ve had a blue bedroom for most of my life, and in my current apartment a blue accent wall in my living room. Instead of going for the exact navy color next time, I’m thinking of shifting to a softer hue and painting only half way up the wall. For my bedroom, I’m considering transitioning from a charcoal color to a lighter grey or blue.

Screen Shot 2019-04-08 at 9.19.19 AM.png
Loving this “at home try on” approach from Backdrop. (image: instagram.com/backdrop/

I’ve been playing around on Backdrop, a new paint brand that let’s you get large swatches, like the Warby Parker of paint, before choosing your colors. A few trendy colors I’ve been seeing are hunter greens, dusty rose, and icy blues.

Bellow_(5).jpg
Loving this approach to color at Publishing House BNB in Chicago 

Lots of Luxe Fabrics 

Just like your closet, sometimes your space calls for an upgrade. Like a new leather jacket, the power of a luxe fabric can do wonders. Right now my mission is find the perfect leather couch and I’ve already invested in a velvet headboard for my bedroom. Velvet has been popping up everywhere, pillows, couches, bedrooms and armchairs, and I’m into it!

Bold and Bright Accessories (in bulk) 

I’ve seen a lot of bloggers and people buy furniture from a bigger name brand store and call it a day. Sure it looks good, and right out of a magazine (because it probably is) but it’s the styling that makes it your own! Minimalism may have been “in” the past few years, but maximalism has returned for 2019.

“Memphis style” is popular this year, which brings back the idea of bright and colorful accessories throughout the room, in unique shapes with an 80s flair. Even though I   won’t be adding a bunch of 80s decor to my space, I’ll be looking for a few vintage pieces, glassware and other trinkets to have throughout.

furniture-trends-2019-inspiration.jpg
A full look with plenty of layers of styling, and pops of color (image: decoraid.com)

These are just a few trends and thoughts I’ve seen and hope to implement towards my next place! What trends are you seeing and using in your spaces? I’m getting so excited for this change, and can’t wait to start showing what I’ve chosen to add to my new apartment very soon. Keep following along for more updates!

-TW

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All Wrapped Up

All Wrapped Up

Under a week till Christmas, where did the time go? Last week I  shared my gift guide and as promised, today’s post features my all time favorite part of gifting, the wrapping! Choosing my wrapping paper theme is year is a serious highlight of my holiday season and I’ve come to learn that a lot of people are just as into it as I am.

As long as I’ve been able to, I’ve chosen a theme each year to get everyone excited about what’s under the tree. Buying a prepackaged bundle of wrapping paper at Target is simply not acceptable.

This year, because my family will be coming to Chicago for the first time for Christmas, I  went with a “Home for the holidays” idea, since Chicago is home for me. I  loved this bright pastel paper that I  snagged from Foursided, my favorite Chicago shop. It comes from this adorable online shop. Typically I  choose at least 2 papers to offset, but this year, I went with a classic bold red. To tie everything together, I used the same white yarns and adorable little wreaths, like these, as a part of my gift tags.

It’s all in the details for me, and the smallest little trinket makes a small gift, all the better. The best places to find easy and affordable gift wrapping needs are Target and The Container Store, while boutique shops and places like Papersource, Rifle Paper and even art supply stores, make for ideal wrapping paper options.

After each year, I  love remembering all of the themes from the past years, so here’s a bit of a trip down memory lane.

Lumberjack Christmas

Loved how those chalkboard style stickers worked with the buffalo print. Brown craft paper is such an easy and trend friendly option, it works with every

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Scandinavian Christmas: 

Call it my love of IKEA, but this theme was so much fun! Tucking in real greenery with was easy and festive.

Processed with VSCO with lv03 preset

Candy Land

I  found that fun printed paper and felt like this was a unique twist on Candy Land, with bold colors and pom pom accessories.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Feliz Navidad 

Right after the new year, I found these adorable Christmas piñtas , and it was a great jumping off point for last year’s theme. The chartreuse paper was an expected but bright choice!

Processed with VSCO with e3 preset

This Year: Home for the Holidays 

Processed with VSCO with e1 preset

What’s your wrap game like? Are you as into themes as I am? Hoping you’ve finished all of your shopping and now get to start putting the final touches on your gifts before the 25th!

-TW

 

 

 

 

 

Settling In

Settling In

February has certainly been the coldest month of the year in Chicago as long as I’ve been here, which means the walls of my apartment start to close in while I live in a state of hibernation until spring rounds the corner.

Because I  find myself having more nights in during this short month, it’s important that my apartment looks its best. If you’ve read my gallery wall post, you know that I  put a lot of design focus on my living room wall. Living in a small one bedroom apartment means wall space is limited and highly prized in terms of decorating.

This month I decided to wipe the gallery wall clean and tweak it with some new additions. Today I’m breaking down my favorite shops and places to find everything in order to achieve the perfect gallery wall, as well as those smaller pieces around my living room!

Wall: Gallery walls should be a mix of a little bit of everything! Photos you’ve taken, maybe some personal sketches, music posters, and art you’ve collected. My new map is from IKEA, that’s also a chalkboard! (how fun) IKEA is where a lot of my frames are from too. I  only invest in frames when they’re really special pieces or going to be hung somewhere forever. Vintage markets and music festivals are great places to pick up prints and smaller pieces to hang. Foursided is one of my favorite Chicago shops for small cards and prints.

IMG_6314.JPG

Chair: Finding a good arm chair can take years, but when you find it, you’re set for life! I    scooped up this salmon colored leather chair from a local shop in my college neighborhood for $70. Furniture can be really expensive, so it felt like a steal to me. Throw your favorite patterned pillow on it to make it feel finished.

Table: The table is two suitcases, from the same shop as the chair. Stacking a couple of them helps with height, and to protect the top, add a piece of glass. (not shown) You can find glass for the table at your local Salvation Army or second hand shop. Using trunks or suitcases for a table also doubles as storage!

Accessories: Truly, the best way to make your home feel fully decorated is with the smaller pieces. You can easily go to one or two places and just buy what you deem cute, but it’s more fun to use pieces from your travels, keepsakes passed down and little trinkets from markets you’ve found along the way. The solider is from a local shop, the camera is from my favorite street market, and books are from various bookstores.

Although I  love the minimalism approach that many of my peers take with home design, for a packrat like me, more is definitely more. Home design should be a reflection of your personal style and I’ve settled into knowing what mine is! What’s yours?

-TW