With apartment living comes an entire set of challenges and discoveries: How much stuff do I actually have versus how much I actually need? Why did the contractors try to make every iota of wall space into a tiny hidden closet? Where are we going to put the bike rack? And how can we make it feel like home?
Another challenge arises when budget comes into play. As much as I would like to buy a new bedroom suite and install some fancy light fixtures to make our first little home just perfect, that is not practical nor is it possible. We don’t have the kind of disposable income to put into home furnishings; plus, we’d rather spend our time and money creatively in other arenas, for traveling and concert tickets. Although, however nonchalantly I write that, a huge part of me wants that perfect little newlywed cottage, with coordinated colors and new furniture instead of hand-me-downs. Not only is this a hard lesson for me to swallow in terms of financial responsibility, but also one involving contentment. It’s not the objects or the color schemes that make our little place a home — it’s what we put into it and each other emotionally that creates a cozy, loving living space.
That being said, here’s my wish list. My style is very eclectic, as I like to mix vintage and modern with rustic touches. I love mid-century furniture, ethnic fabrics, natural materials like wood and raffia, and classic investments that will stand the test of time and our many moves. The [sometimes] nice thing about apartments is the generic-ness of the space: the walls are usually white, the floors are usually neutral, and it provides a blank canvas for decorating. When it comes to colors, I prefer neutrals like camel, grey, eggshell…but I like to add pops of deep jewel tones to keep things interesting. And for some strange reason, I adore orange. I can’t wear the color near my face (it washes out my complexion), so maybe that’s what draws me to it. It could also be because I’m so attracted to the Scandinavian design aesthetic, what with the streamlined furniture and IKEA-esque kitchens, folksy prints, and rustic cabin touches all rolled into one. Just call me a Scandi-Apache classical thrift princess and I’ll finally have a niche.
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Our living room walls are needing some serious color without serious committment, and I’d really like to find (or make) a large-scale, watercolor-esque piece of art like this one from Tina Steele Lindsey. The way the colors melt together is so effortless. A few of these vintage wooden crates in the closets, or underneath our bed and sofa, would be great storage for winter sweaters, shoes, or mails that we just want out of sight. (Inspired by reading my tea leaves — some great thoughts on storage in these posts.)
These French canning jars would help considerably with my bulk kitchen storage, and would also corral a few bits and bobs in the bathroom. This one cup pour-over coffee maker would be absolutely perfect for early mornings when I don’t want a whole percolator full of coffee, but need just a jolt to get me out the door. Otherwise, my kitchen is pretty set, even though I wish I could paint it a deep blue and call it done.
In our bedroom, we’ve done what we can with the funky room dimensions and one window that messes up my headboard plans. I like the art deco lines of this mirror — it would add a dash of whimsy and glamour to our otherwise simple bedroom hanging on the wall opposite the bed. Lately I just can’t get enough of soft blankets and ethnic prints, and this kantha quilt would be a lovely contrast to the pristine white of our comforter.
The sofa we have now is from my grandparents, and while it is cushy and comfortable, it is also old, with a broken spring and stuffing coming undone in a few places. This classic Pottery Barn sofa would be easy to move and would withstand potential changes in our taste. Plus, I love the little legs — perfect for more of these. I have a terrible weakness for candles, and these literary candles, inspired by authors, are just hard to pass up. Flanking the sofa, or on our bedside tables, they would be so cool. So too would be these subtly patterned sheets. I hope to accumulate a few more sheet sets here and there and mix the patterns eventually.
These baskets could live next to our new sofa and hold all my pretty blankets for easy access for movie nights or coffee in the morning. And, I actually own this fabric already — I bought it last summer in anticipation of a re-upholstery project on a great mid-century armchair (also from my grandparents), but so far the fabric is still on the roll and the armchair remains a worn celery yellow. But at least I can dream.