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.

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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/