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    8 Ways to Add Charm to Your Rented Space

    DSC_0388_edited2Moving into your own apartment/condo/house is a new adventure, in every sense of the word. If you live alone, you might be pretty excited about the fact that you can binge watch Netflix for four hours, or rock out to your favorite pump up jam at 6 a.m. with zero judgement or glaring eyes coming from the bedroom down the hall.

    If you’re moving in with your significant other, you might be looking forward to lazy Sunday’s, home-cooked meals together and spending more time with the person you care most about.

    Or, if you’re living with three other roommates, two dogs and your roommate’s boyfriend who basically lives with you, then you might be excited there’s always, always something going on and someone there to talk to.

    The point is, getting your own place is like the turning point on your road to adulthood.

    But, if you rent an apartment you probably know there can be restrictions. Some landlords tell you you can’t paint, while others freak out if you try to nail a hole in the wall (helloooo, Command strips).

    For all you renters out there, read on for tips on how to make your home feel like, well, home!

    1. Get Creative with Storage


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    I don’t have a ton of space in my kitchen, which isn’t exactly ideal. As someone who loves to cook, making dinner can often bring on feelings of anxiety and frustration because stuff is LITERALLY. EVERYWHERE. When you don’t have counter space, think up. This shelving unit is a great way to maximize space in your apartment by using the space that’s available — your walls. After all, the more counter space, the better — am I right?

    2. Upgrade Your Bar Cart


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    A bar cart is a necessity in a twenty-something’s apartment. When I was in college, we loved to display our wine bottles on whatever surface we could find (i.e. the fireplace and on top of kitchen cabinets). A bar cart gives a grown up twist to the whole “displaying your spirits for the world to see” thing. Plus, they’re just so cute.

    3. Curate Your Own Gallery Wall

    gallery wall

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    I nerd out over a good gallery wall. I can’t get enough of the idea. I’m pretty sure my entire Pinterest board is filled with gallery walls, which means either a) I have a problem or b) I know what I like. I’ve collected a lot of art over the years. Most of it is completely random — flea market and thrift store finds, etc. But the great thing about gallery walls is the display is supposed to be random. The more interesting the pieces, the better.

    4. When it doubt, fresh flowers

    flowersI love the way fresh flowers brighten up a space. ‘Nuff said.

    5. Mix Vintage Elements with Modern Ones


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    This is one of my favorite things to do. I absolutely love the way a lucite chair contrasts with an intricate wooden desk. If you live in a more modern complex, adding vintage pieces here and there will help it from looking too stale. And if you live in an older home? Try incorporating industrial, modern pieces for a look that’s sure to get noticed.

    6. Experiment with Temporary Wallpaper

    wallpaperTemporary wallpaper is a great idea for renters because well, it’s temporary. Use it to create a fun accent wall, liven up a piece of furniture or to create character in unexpected places like a staircase (if you have one).

    7. Play with Prints


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    I’m lucky to have hardwood floors throughout my apartment. They’re pretty on their own, but a patterned rug takes things up a notch. IKEA has some really great, affordable options. If you’re not looking for an area rug, printed pillows or a fun throw are great alternatives!

    8. Light a Candle or Two


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    There’s just something about candles that instantly make a place feel more homey — know what I mean? I love lighting festive candles around the holidays. They make my apartment smell like cinnamon. THE BEST.

    Did I miss anything? What are some of your favorite ways to add charm to your rental?


    Friday 5: Home Essentials

    I’ve lived in my apartment for eight months, and I have yet to figure out how to successfully hang anything on the walls. Dealing with plaster is the price I pay for loving old buildings.

    I literally broke a screw. The head snapped right off. How does that happen…

    So, with all of my artwork hanging fails aside, I decided to focus my attention on the little details, like pillows and other home décor items (i.e. things that don’t require elbow grease and a power drill).


    [coffee mug | notebook | vase holder | pillow | phone]

    Happy freakin’ weekend, all.


    Apartment Inspo: The Bedroom

    I’ve officially reimmersed myself in all things DIY, and have dust remnants all over me to prove it. I’ve shared with you my living room and kitchen inspiration, but sadly, I’ve neglected the most important space in my apartment: my bedroom. Since graduating college, I’ve come to appreciate the importance of a good night’s sleep. Because sleep is everything.

    I’d love to tell you guys that my room is perfectly spotless, like something out of ELLE Decor. But to be completely honest, my bed is unmade, there’s a pile of clothes on the floor (and my bed), dresser drawers are open, and my entire shoe collection decided it would rather be on the floor than in the closet where it belongs. And if we’re being really honest, there’s also a sad, dying plant hunched over in the corner. So there’s that. Even it thinks my room needs some help.

    Instead of staring at my room in its current state of disaray, I took my efforts to the internet to find some inspiration. Without further ado, here are some of the lovely rooms that have inspired me to fold my clothes, close my dresser drawers and make my bed every morning: bedroom2

    [In love with the rustic mirror in this space.]


    [How fun is the neon washi tape frame?]


    [String lights and a rustic ladder = perfection.]


    [This plant is alive for obvious reasons. This setup is awesome.]


    [This space is so open and bright with loads of natural light.]


    [Perfect color pallet and mix of patterns]


    [I’ll take all of the pillows, please.]


    [Only if it comes with the dog.]

    P.S. – I’m currently working on a project that involves two pieces of thrift store furniture, paint, a screw driver and an electric sander. I’ll be working on that this week/weekend and can’t wait to show you the finished product. Stay tuned!


    Apartment Inspo: Kitchen + Dining


    I’m like a mad scientist in the kitchen. On a typical day, you’ll find me crouched over a mixing bowl, spatula in hand, with ingredients flying left and right. My usual routine is 1) figure out what I have to work with 2) get every ingredient and its mother out for use 3) make a mess 4) stare at the mess and wonder how it happened 5) eat.

    My mom always said (and still says), “Natalie, you’re like a bull in a china shop.” And Mom, I don’t usually like to admit this, but after 23 years, I’ve finally come to the realization that you may be right. I love cooking and baking, but, no matter how hard I try, I always create the mess of 20 people (or bulls).

    My messy nature aside, I love spending time in the kitchen. When I was looking for an apartment, a nice kitchen was my top priority, and a gas stove was a must. Having a gas stove makes me wonder why electric stoves are even a thing. I mean, really.

    I love an open, modern kitchen with some added vintage charm. And if I had all of the money in the world, I’d have seven kitchens. You know, one for every day of the week. Although, I’d definitely need to hire a cleaning crew…

    Maybe someday.

    kitchen3kitchen6 kitchen7 kitchen8 kitchen9kitchen10

    images via here, here, here, here, here, here & here



    apartment update

    Well, I’m back. The last two weeks have been a whirlwind. I’ve officially lived in my apartment for a month, and it looks as though nothing has been accomplished. Which I’ll admit is frustrating, but when people tell you this kind of thing doesn’t happen overnight, they couldn’t be more right. In fact, it’s been a month and I’m just (impatiently) waiting for things to fall into place. Slowly, but surely…

    In other recent apartment-related news, I picked up a dresser and two nightstands from Goodwill and Salvation Army (for less than $70) this past weekend. Moving them into my second floor apartment was a chore to say the least, but well worth it after I got everything situated (with help, of course). They aren’t the prettiest pieces, but I’ve been told I have quite the imagination. Some paint and new knobs will make them look good as new, only better. Did I mention the dresser was $24?

    After I moved all of my purchases in, I came to the realization that the couch I bought when I moved in is just WAY too big for my living room. Plus, I might as well be sitting on a sack of hay. The comfort level is non-existent, and I’m not about that life. The gigantic sofa is going back on Tuesday, just in time for my new, pretty and comfortable little sofa to arrive. Can’t. Wait.


    I’ve been working like a DIY madwoman this week priming my hand-me-down coffee table and kitchen chairs. I even have the stubborn paint marks on my body to prove it. Will free furniture be worth it? Only time will tell…


    apartment inspo: the living room


    I just moved into my first apartment, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. It’s a charming one bedroom situated on a main road. It’s bright, inviting and most importantly, it’s mine.

    I found it on a whim. I was driving through Norwood (a neighborhood in Cincinnati where I went to college), trying to kill time when I happened to spot the “For Rent” sign in the front yard. I called the number, looked at the apartment 20 minutes later, fell in love with the quaint little space and filled out an application. The rest is history. It’s funny how something so perfect comes along when you don’t even realize you’re looking.

    I’ve spent hours browsing Apartment Therapy since moving in, and actually look forward to trips to Home Depot and Bed Bath & Beyond, two places that used to make me cringe. If this isn’t adult world, then I don’t know what is. I can’t wait to start decorating and working on all of the projects I have planned.

    living room

    My style has definitely evolved over the years. I used to gravitate to darker, more earthy tones. Now, I can’t get enough of bright, white spaces. I love how a lack of wall color can bring a sense of crispness to a room. I’m not allowed to paint in my new space, and don’t have a ton of cash to spend on pricey decor items, but this just forces me to get more creative. This includes perusing my local Goodwill and accepting hand-me-down furniture from family members. Both of which I’ve already done, and plan to keep doing.

    I claimed an old coffee table and round table from my college house that were left behind by the previous tenants. Although they need some TLC, they have classic shapes and so much potential. It’s like those movies where the Plain Jane gets a makeover and suddenly she’s gorgeous and all the guys notice her (She’s All That, anyone?). Yeah, kinda like that…but with furniture. I’m planning on giving the coffee table a coat of bright paint, and the round table will be transformed into a bar to greet friends as they walk in the door.

    It will be a process, that’s for sure. Making an apartment feel like home isn’t something that happens overnight. And with a limited budget, it can be tricky. But that’s the fun part. I can’t wait to get started and track my progress. Stay tuned.


    images via here, here & here