Welcome to our home!
We are six months into this little abode of ours. Since moving in we have painted, furnished, and even got the best little accessory we could find, a little golden retriever pup!
Jared and I are both fresh out of college and this is our first time living together. We took the plunge as we were moving to CA and knew that we couldn't imagine what life after college would be without one another. Cheesy, I know. We decided on a two bed / two bath in sunny orange county, CA. We got a great deal on 1,100 square feet. While the apartment is in a basic type of complex I think we were really able to put a fun spin on it. The apartment shell is actually great. It's got big windows, spacious rooms and a private patio. Unfortunately every wall was floor to ceiling dishwater rental white. It needed a little TLC and I was determined to give it all I had.
If it was up to me I probably would have painted the entire dining room pink and put a bright velvet couch in the living room. But, Jared is a major dude and I knew I couldn't get away with it. Sometimes I joke that we have a little 'blue' apartment because every room has some kind of cool hue to it.
As a blogger and event planner, styling is just in my blood. I wanted our space to be beautifully crafted and and filled with patterns and texture. Jared is a mechanical engineer and wanted everything to be functional and mega comfy. As if our styles weren't more polar opposite we are also just renting so any kind of interior decision was just on the surface. Alas, I think we came out alright!
**Note** We did everything ourselves! Everything from the wallpaper in the guest room to the terf on the patio! You totally can too!
The Dining Room
"Don't Buy the first thing you Semi-Like"
If I told you we went dining room tableless for a month, would you believe me? Yes, unfortunately this was probably are most difficult piece to choose. Bare in mind I really had to find my most masculine bone while shopping for everything. Jared probably would have just let me pick everything out (and towards the end he did!) but I was determined to find pieces that showcased what we both liked.
Having little money to spend with, we did our best to pick staple pieces that would give us storage but would also reflect our personalities. We also shopped for everything over the course of six months. As much as you want to DO NOT do it all at once. You will end up buying pieces that you don't love and just think you need. Exhibit A: the dining room table. I loved that it was different looking and non traditional and Jared loved the reclaimed wood. Sure, we could have settled for a similar shaped table at Ikea but I am SO glad we waited. Not only have I not seen it on pinterest anywhere but it was the right size and shape for what we needed. We got this bad boy for less than $300. Did I also mention I'm a bargain shopper?! Ha!
The table was my epicenter and everything else was worked in afterwards. I knew blue would contrast (well my interior design books told me) that it would contrast well so I went with Benjamin Moore's New York state of mind (you can find all sources below). As well as a contrasting blue and peach rug. I think all and all we love having meals here and even more love having guests over for dinner!
Paint: Benjamin Moore's New York State of Mind
Dining Table + Chairs: Urban Home
Shelving: World Market
Aztect Rug: Living Spaces
White Shelving: Ikea
Gold + Wood Bar Cart: Target
Mirror: Home Goods
Nick Nack: Patty Wack
"If all else fails, personalize it".
Oh the rental kitchen. Everyone's worst nightmare. It sure was mine at least. I'm a food blogger so I dream of a kitchen with beaming light in every direction, beautiful cabinetry and a beefy french stove. For all my girls out there still renting, I'm right there with you with the kitchen. Its the one room in an apartment that even paint really doesn't make a difference. I did my best to spruce it up as best as possible.
We added a little paint and a lot of froo froo. AKA cute elephant dish towels, cook books, graphic art decor (everyone needs a tequila map!) and probably a little bit too much copper decor. For the room that had little hope I figure I could at least personalize it right?!
"Swiss Army Room"
When we're home the living room is where we spend like 80% of the time. When I'm working on a blog post or doing any kind of creative computer work I'm usually on the couch in one position or another. When we first moved in I used the guest room as an "office" and I probably sat in there like... once. I did the same thing when I was in school too. I would sprawl all my books and notes on the kitchen table because I liked to be near everyone. Maybe I'm just a pack animal, ha! So for now I think an office was a waste of a great guest room.
Now... back to the living room! So in theory we needed the living room to be functional, creatively inspiring and a place where we could just veg out watching netflix. I wanted the room to have some neutral staple pieces but also be filled with funky plants and personalized touches like our custom Muju Maps. Each map represents a place that was meaningful to our relationship.
While I dream of having a formal living room, these are mostly tips for the small house or apartment. We've got one living space and it kind of has to be a swiss army knife. We chose a sectional because it would maximize our amount of sitting space. We can have four people on it very comfortably and when it's just the two of us we can really sprawl out. We kept the color white and bright so the space would feel more open. For a while we had a chest as a coffee table and quickly realized that a bench piece would help the room feel more open and would be easy to move around when we wanted more space to play with Rascal!
Custom Wall Maps: Muju Maps
White Wall Frames: Ikea
Bench Coffee Table: Target
Throw Pillows: World Market
White Throw Blanket: Target
Area Rug: Ikea
Tufted Sectional: Jerome's Furniture
Table Lamp: Target
"An Occasional Oasis"
The guest room is probably my favorite room in the house, design wise. My concept first starting out was like a coastal farmhouse vibe. Unfortunately, my mid century disease ALWAYS flares up and I gave in on a few details. BUT, for the most part the room feels calm, cool, and collected whenever I go in. My goal was for this room to be beautifully put together and peaceful without breaking the bank. I can't see spending a ton of money on a room that we only use every so often.
We went with a trundle bed that starts as a twin and can finish as a king. The best part about it is the trundle actually lays flat and it feels like just a normal bed. We got the basic frame and mattresses from ikea but doctored it up with gold hardware and an amazing pillow topper mattress pad.
Every guest room "tips" I read on pinterest said to not put too much personal touches but I thought the frames that were filled with our most potential guests would make them feel important! The best thing we did for the guest room was fill it with lots of plants! It made the whole room have this natural feeling to it and plants are a relatively cheap decor addition. I find all of my plants at the L.A. Flower Market.
Blue Striped Wallpaper: Chasing Paper: Removable Wallpaper
White Paint for Walls: Behr Polar Bear
Jute Rug: Overstock.com
White Cowhide Rug: Overstock.com
Wall Sconces: World Market
Circle Mirror: Target
Day Bed: Ikea
Leather Moroccan Pouf: Amazon
Chest: Family Hand Me Down
Side Table: Target *note this is a similar table, not exact
Wood Frames: Target + Home Goods
Simply put, this room needed to be cozy. Like insanely cozy. As should any bedroom be but even more so. One of my favorite Christmas gifts this year was the Anthropologie bedding that Jared got for me. I think any girl would be floored by this gift and it truly made the room feel so special. One of the troubles with this room was lighting. Seeing as we painted an accent wall a pretty dark color we needed to really light up the room. If it wasn't a rental I would have love to hang a gorgeous chandelier but we had to go the sconce route. Sconces had pluses and minuses. Most of the amazing looking ones you have to actually drill into the wall and it's just a whole lot of work that we didn't want to commit to. But we did end up finding some and I have learned to live with the cord. I'm thinking of wrapping it in yard or pretty rope, thoughts?!
After doing the bedroom I can give you one vital piece of advice. Invest in some bedding that you really truly love. It will make waking up in the morning that much cozier and happier.
Grey Paint: Benjamin Moore's Wolfe Grey
Bed Frame: Living Spaces
Night Stand: World Market
Bed Lamp: Target
Wall Sconces: Urban Outfitters
Dresser: Ikea + Gold Hardware from Urban Outfitters
Rug: Home Goods
"A Second Living Room"
Before we even stepped foot into the apartment I knew I wanted it simply based on the patio. I went into the apartment search hopeful enough to have a patio large enough for a bistro table and two chairs but this was just amazing! We have our own separate entrance from the front door and enough space for a dining table of (6)! It's really like a little courtyard. The best part was the leasing office told us we could do whatever we wanted with the outdoor area. We got to work and build the fence to hide us from the stairwell, laid down turf for Rascal and installed some great wall benches from Ikea. I spend every moment I can with a glass of wine and a cheeseboard on this patio. It's the best part of the apartment.
Dining Table: Ikea
Dining Chairs: Target
Wall Benches and Wall Installation: Ikea
Yellow Bistro Table: Ikea
Throw Pillows: Ebb and Thread
Blue and White Area Rug: Target