I wish I could go back to the 70s in California and the greater Southwest when all of these apartments were being built and yell (Soylent Green style): Stop!!! You’re building hideous boxes for the masses! Don’t put popcorn on those ceilings! Why are you building bathroom vanities for dwarves? Put some thought into it you bastards!
But that’s a rant for another day. The fact is, millions of people, especially in their 20s and 30s, live in apartments. Rented or owned, these little spaces are our refuge from the elements and we can make them comfortable and our own, even when they don’t really feel like our own. Our newest place (I move around a lot) is light and airy, and I wanted to make some improvements without feeling like I was throwing money on stuff that wouldn’t survive through the next move. These are three updates that were totally worth it and make me excited to get home each day to our cozy little space.
1) Get a Rug for the Living Room
You need a rug. Need. Must Have. I wasn’t a member of the rug cult but recently joined. I bought this rug (about 5′ x 7′) from HomeGoods for $80 and it’s worth every penny. I plan to keep this rug for a long time, because it:
a) is exactly the color scheme I wanted of neutral colors plus a hint of blue
b) is soft and fluffy and made of a wool/synthetic blend that feels super-soft
c) gives the living room way more definition as a separate space from the dining room that’s like 1 foot away.
Rugs are crazy expensive, especially if you like the Persian/Turkish/Oriental patterns (I do). Your best bet are the big furniture stores having a sale or the usual Ross/HomeGoods/TJ Maxx suspects. I had been checking on rugs for a few weeks at HomeGoods and hadn’t found any under $100 until recently, and so I decided to get it.
2) Mount Your TV
I know, that seems like money you’re throwing away since you can’t exactly take the labor of mounting your TV with you to your next home. But the actual mount can come with you and I think nothing looks better than a mounted TV versus one that is sitting on your entertainment center. The 40-inch Bravia we have is getting older (bought it in 2009) but at least mounting it gives it a more updated look. Now you can free up your entertainment center for some knickknacks! Lord knows the world needs more decorative knickknacks. Speaking of which…
3) Add Some Purely Decorative Items
I feel like Martha Stewart when I advocate putting something in your home for no greater purpose other than decoration. But you know what? If every time you look at that thing, it makes you smile, then it’s serving a purpose. This Konica camera was my dad’s from the 70s and it gives me this nice wave of nostalgia when I look at it. Sometimes I pick it up just to inspect it, and remember how I used to use it for photography class. So it has been a part of my life for a long time and it’s just a sweet camera.
Decorating is new to me. My budget for decorating has always been zero, but I am finally ready to put a little time and effort into making my home somewhere I love being. Do you have any favorite new items in your home?