After years of college dorms and sharing houses with roommates, this Saturday I will be moving into my first solo apartment. It’s a first floor studio with 1 interior door (the bathroom), 2 windows, a postage stamp patio, and clocks in at a whopping 400 sq ft. And guess what? It’s all mine. Mine to furnish, to decorate, and to thoroughly make my own. For the past month, I’ve been thrilled and dismayed at this opportunity. I was awash in design and furniture choices, got obsessed with the IKEA catalog (Hello Manstad sofa!), and fretted about where my overnight guests would sleep. Everyone suggested a different website, magazine or house tour with its own design focus. Minimalism! Shabby chic! Mid-century modern! They marched around inside my head beating their little “look how great we are!” drums, pushing my initial excitement further and further away. In the pressure to have a well-appointed ‘impressive’ space, I’d forgotten one of the most important elements, me.
Thankfully, I talked to people whose homes I admired and found some truly great websites to help focus and inspire me. Apartment Therapy became a huge resource for me. After a lot of reading, I ended up writing 5 feelings I wanted to have whenever I came home, and then considered what each of those would be practically. Then I made a folder on my computer where I saved pictures of homes that had those elements. It was a great way to organize my viewpoint and hopes! As an example, here are my 5 feelings with their practical expressions and inspiration photographs.
1) Welcome: Having a well organized entry way with a few hooks and a simple shelf. I don’t want to be stressed by yet another full inbox when I get home! See here for more entryway solutions.
2) Nature: To bring the outside in as much as possible. Wall planters, indoor citrus plants (as seen at left) and emphasis on my sliding glass patio door with sheer panel curtains are a must!
3) Coziness: I love to read, so I decided on low soft seating with warm lamps. I don’t think I’d ever want to leave this sofa!
4) Simplicity: I’ve chosen a very low platform bed, plain white comforter and light blue walls for my sleeping nook. I wanted crisp, calming colors that would help me to unwind after a long day. The window above my bed and a full length mirror will be all the decoration I need. Simple dining chairs like these from Target also help to avoid visual clutter.
5) Possibility: As a new home full of new beginnings, this is the core of my aesthetic. I’m decorating with maps, mirrors and art focusing on paths, roads and horizons. Check out this Etsy search for similar handmade items. Even if I’m not traveling, I want to still feel the voyage!