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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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