How To: A Statement-Making Entryway for Under $150

A big lesson I’ve learned in decorating (especially as a twenty-something on a budget!) is that sometimes putting in the work to do a simple DIY makes all the difference.

Think about how many times you’ve come across the perfect piece of furniture that just speaks to your soul, and then had your heart broken when you saw the price tag. Or, how many times you’ve seen something and thought, “that is so close to exactly what I want, but it’s just not the color”.

It’s happened to me a lot.

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Here’s the thing. You don’t have to shell out thousands of dollars or settle for something that isn’t perfect. If you’re willing to get your hands a little dirty, you can have the aesthetic you want at the price point you want.

A prime example of this? Back in L.A, I happened upon a cabinet outside of our apartment one night. It was poorly painted a streaky white, but it had a great shape, was clearly functional, and most importantly? It was free. Almost without thinking, I picked it up and took it inside. I slapped some green paint on it, added some gold hardware, and voilà, I had myself a pretty espresso station + place to store random belongings (you can see it here). It added so much personality and aesthetic appeal to that space, and it broke my heart to leave it behind when I moved!

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Since moving into this apartment, I knew I wanted an established entryway area. Nothing drives me crazier than seeing random piles of mail, keys, headphones, etc. all over my home. The chaos needs to be corralled, and since the entry way is typically the first thing you see when you enter your home, it’s extra important to me and my peace of mind to have that particular space well designed & organized.

My entry way is a teeny tiny little space, but I knew with some creativity and patience, I could have exactly what I wanted! The order was a tall one. I needed a table that fit the actual dimensions of the natural entryway, it had to be tall (not short like typical end tables), it needed drawers so I could hide unsightly items like lint rollers and earphones, and ideally it had to have some design appeal.

After scouring for months, I finally happened upon the almost perfect piece at Homegoods. It was under $90 (unheard of!) and fit all the above specs. Also, it had cute vintage details that I loved. Again, I took it home without thinking twice. The only issue? The color.

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So boring! Luckily, I’m now an old pro at the DIY now. As a little homage to my old coffee cabinet, I used the same green paint, spray painted the pulls the same gold, and suddenly I had a unique, eye-catching, and beautifully clutter-free entryway table. For this project, a sample container in matte finish from my local Home Depot was more than enough (it cost about $10 with the paintbrush, and I already had the spray paint I needed!) The painting project took under 24 hours. So worth it!

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To dress the area up a bit more, I added some neutral-colored books, a candle, a small dish to place my keys (all of which I already owned!), and a vase of fresh flowers. I bought an adorable little mirror and rug from H&M home, linked here and here, and that was it! So cute, no?!

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These kinds of posts are so fun to do. I hope you guys like them! Hopefully it inspires some of you who are designing your own spaces with budgets in mind!

Renters Refresh: The Balcony

When I moved into this apartment, I had big visions for how I would personalize every square inch of it into a space that was cozy, cute, inspiring, and functional. It’s been a total blast bringing those visions to life and I’ve loved sharing my process with friends & followers along the way, so I thought it would be fun to delve a little deeper into how one area in particular came together!

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When I started decorating, I obviously started with the big spots. The living and dining area, the kitchen, the bedroom, all of which are just about finished. Now, I’m shifting focus to the smaller spaces. On the top of my list was the balcony. With the summer months and the warmer weather finally here, all I want to do is be out there drinking iced coffee in the sunshine and enjoying dinners al fresco in the evening! So I knew the time had finally come.

Balconies, in my experience, tend to be the least loved area of the home for us twenty-somethings. More often than not they’re a mess of mismatched furniture and dead leaves/dirt. It makes me so sad. Our old one was like a plant graveyard that also happened to store Mark’s bike and a camp grill. It wasn’t cozy or coordinated, so spending any time out there just wasn’t pleasant. This time had to be different.

My first step in planning was determining what I wanted to use my balcony for. While I love a good lounge chair or low sitting chair/coffee table set up, I knew that wasn’t right for my needs. What I really wanted was somewhere I could drink coffee, eat a snack, and either read a book or do computer work while occasionally looking out onto the bustling street and neighboring shops. Images of coffee shops and cafes came to mind, and then it was abundantly clear – I needed a bistro set!

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Finding the style I wanted was also easy. I’ve been really into European decorating styles lately (namely French countryside) meaning I was looking for some bright colors, natural materials, curved shapes, Chinoiserie prints, pottery, and lots of greenery and flowers. 

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Finally came sourcing everything, from the bistro set to the flowers. I took it nice and slow, and really didn’t settle for anything I didn’t love. I started with the bistro chairs and twinkle lights, both of which I’ve actually had since I first moved in. The next step was the flower boxes and the table, those came from Amazon. I went to a local gardening shop to pick out supplies, pottery, and flowers. Finally, I found just the right rug and trellis to finish everything off. My little oasis!

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So, there you have it. A relatively inexpensive renter’s refresh! My tips to anyone looking to do something similar are: 1. honestly evaluate your needs and desires for the space in question. 2. scour Pinterest and decorating blogs/books/resources for different aesthetics and what they entail. 3. source things slowly and deliberately, and don’t buy everything from just one store (or it will probably look like that store’s catalogue).

Finally, here are some links for ya: bistro chairs // bistro table // trellis // planter boxes // rug // twinkle lights // chinoiserie pot // watering can 

 

 

February At Home

Finally, the longest month of the year is over (damn, January, we get it) and that means some festivities are coming up! Valentine’s Day, Mardi-Gras (I never celebrate this but once when I was a kid I got the gold baby in the king cake and it was thrilling so I feel v into the idea of someday celebrating), and (he’ll argue this is the most important) Mark’s Birthday!

Duh, it’s time to decorate.

First up is the holiday of luuuv, so I focused on that. For Mark’s birthday, there will be balloons. So many balloons. And streamers. And cake!

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The thing is, some people find it difficult to decorate for Valentine’s Day without being obnoxious. I get it. Too many hearts, too much pink, it can be a lot (especially if you live with boys…or not feminine girls!). So best to add subtle touches. Think hints of pink. Some gold. A few flowers!

Plus, most of you who are reading this are like me: young people who rent and don’t necessarily have a ton of space to store huge amounts of decorations. I feel ya. The good news is you can still transform a space with just a couple of key things!

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I displayed some pink & white books, pulled out our pink blankets and pillows, and started using our red (and heart shaped) cooking and serveware more. I subbed in some floral scents for dish and hand soaps and added fresh blooms wherever I could!

Easy, inexpensive, and pretty much done with stuff that was mostly already in my apartment.

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Updating my apartment for different seasons (and months and individual holidays) is what makes it feel homey, cozy, and welcoming. I’m a huge homebody, so this is really important to me. I think this is something that a lot of young people want to do well but struggle with. So I like sharing my take on it all.

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Okay, the garland over our painting isn’t exactly subtle. But it was too good not to add. Sometimes you just gotta do what feels right!

And by the way, after noticing the changes I’d made, Mark turned to me and expressed how much he appreciated my ability to make our house a home. Boy approved, y’all! I don’t often get that kind of blatant praise (he thinks it would go to my head, and honestly it probably would). It’s also proof that it really does make a difference even for those who don’t explicitly care about home decor. Success!