Updated: Jan 15
Today marks 6 months of living in Austin, and I can honestly tell all 20 of you that I am absolutely in love with this city. I have waited pretty much my entire life to feel this way about a place I was living, and I genuinely do not foresee myself leaving any time soon. With that being said, it also feels weird not living somewhere I dislike. I truly lived and worked for the weekends in the Bay Area to visit a new destination or even just somewhere I preferred being. These few months have arisen an internal battle to stay grounded and enjoy every nook and cranny that Austin has to offer.
Thus far, my time in Austin has given me insight into many self-discovery traits, including my insane passion for interior decorating. Yes, as in decorating apartments.
Did I know I had this? Absolutely not. Inspiration does not necessarily flood through you when you pick up an 8-year-old couch from some guy named Mark's house from Craigslist for most of your adult life. However, if I think back to my childhood, the furniture, decor, & theme changed every year of my life (to my mom's budgetary dismay). From Hawaiian flowered wallpaper to fuzzy pillows and chairs, with the splendid last hooray of mustard-colored walls (Literally, it is three yellow walls with one red accent wall, yikes!) I truly let my creativity flow through the design of my room. Reflecting on this, I can say that this 'knack' had always been there but never truly harnessed.
I can happily say the apartment is finished (and decorated for fall), and today I am breaking down how I did it. I sold every piece of furniture I owned when I moved to Austin and began with an entirely blank canvas. Well, a 400 square foot canvas. Working with a studio came with a design challenge that I had not encountered, but I could not wait to get started.
The style I have defined for myself as "rustic vintage farmhouse with a twist." Trademark pending ya'll. But this mainly means that I like metal, concrete, leather & wood as accent textures and colors like natural/tan, black, blue & subtle hints of yellow and white. NOTE: you do not have to like everything I like to make this applicable to you. Note what colors and textures you are drawn to, which will tell you a lot about the style you gravitate toward.
For example, if you like many white & acrylic decor options, you most likely like modern styles. If you like more natural tones and love muted blues and whites, you most likely have a modern beach style. Personal style in a house is really about YOU and even if you believe you are not 'good' at decorating, finding what you like and cultivating that into a house is what will make you the happiest. Just my little food for thought!
The long hallway that leads to my kitchen & living room has mostly blank walls and storage space, but most importantly, a set of built-ins that I saw as an opportunity to spice up the entryway.
I wanted the built-ins to have some functionality, which was storing linens and towels (not well, by the way, clearly need a folding lesson). The shelving also holds my travel knick-knacks, photos, and other homemade goodies that I love to display. Featured here: shisha dog from Japan, handmade 'Travel Fund' jar, globe that is 10+ years old, my growing sunglasses collection, red cowboy boots, and of course an assortment of photos & books.
I absolutely LOVE photos to begin this segment. I will never understand designers or people that do not have any photos of their family and friends on the walls. HOWEVER- I do think there is a right and wrong way to display them. We are too old for the tree of life scale murals of drunken sorority formal photos people. Visit any Michaels, Target, or Homegoods, and you can find tasteful, cohesive frames. If you look at mine, they are all wood in this section of the house. Stick to one medium to help with mismatched areas like this one. Photos and artwork can be tempting to overdue. When I first started traveling, I began collecting artwork and have long since kept most of the memories that now hang on my walls.
The two prints here were from my first backpacking trip through Europe and had rips, tears, & are probably dirty from being in my backpack for so long. Long story short, I only came back with two prints framed above from Scotland & Amsterdam.
As for photos, I love displaying my 'best of' traveling shots to display around my house in beautiful frames. Pick your 'myspace top 8' if you will and have those blown up and framed (I recommend 5 x 7 or 8 x 11 as most stores have those frames on hand).
My bedroom design was the most fun AND the most challenging of the rooms, hands down. The bedroom is the smallest room in the studio, and I was incredibly nervous about everything I needed to fit in the room. There was a point there was potential the dresser would end up in the hallway. There are a few wall bruises to match the arranging of everything in here, but it fits (barely).
Where to Start
The pivotal first step to decorating a bedroom is starting with your bed frame. Pick your bed frame first and design around it as conceptually it is the room's focal point. I had this bedframe picked out from Living Spaces from the start, and ordering other furniture seemed more plausible after the frame was completely set up in the bedroom.
I'm a tall girl and do not fit on anything smaller than a queen-size bed, so the sizing was unfortunately non-negotiable for me. I justified the purchase as I will use the mattress for the next ten years. I also purchased a box spring from Mattress Firm to add height to the bed as it was too low to the ground for my liking.
Design Around Your Favorite Item
I had some fun with my bedroom was my duvet cover, which I saw as an Instagram ad on my feed from Boll & Branch (no longer available, but similar here, here, & here). Anyone who knows me knows that someday I will have an entirely blue and white kitchen, which was the perfect compromise. There is something to be said about absolutely adoring where you sleep every night, and I can honestly say I get into bed happy to see this pattern every night. Choosing a bold design meant that I would compromise on other bold choices in the bedroom, but it did not feel like a considerable decor sacrifice for a small space. The white quilt is ancient (like college, five years ago) from Target, and the white sheets are from Bed, Bath & Beyond.
The other two pieces are from Wayfair (linked nightstand here & lingerie chest here). Wayfair was a saving grace throughout this process and where I purchased a lot of furniture. The wood is mismatched as not to seem too "matchy-matchy" and tie into the reclaimed wood art hanging on the wall. My number one tip here is functionality. I knew I could not have a large dresser with the size of the space. So I compromised with a long lingerie style that would fit in this space and serve its purpose while living here.
My bedroom decor is special to me because most of the items here were thrown into my car when I drove out to Texas. The reclaimed wood mountains piece is designed and created by the insanely talented friend Kayla of Native Dreamers. See her Etsy shop here. The art adjacent to the shelves was a painting I picked up in the Cinque Terre in Italy, & the shelves are from Michaels. 'Today is a good day for a good day' also from Michaels, frames with photos from Target & World Market. The laundry hamper is oddly a leather storage basket I purchased from Hearth & Hand by Magnolia for Target (sold out, similar here) and converted into a unique laundry hamper. Unconventionally, you can truly make anything your own!
The mason jar lamp was one of the first things I ordered when I moved here. Purchased from Wayfair, the lamps felt vintage with metal and glass. FUN TIP: target sells vintage lightbulbs, and I like the light it gives off so much more than the clinical bulbs you can get anywhere.
The candle was purchased separately from the blue and white vase, which previously housed two succulents from a northern California boutique. Repurposing is not something I am excellent at, but if you love something, explore how you can keep it in your space!
As for the greenery, I could write an entire post about green in a space. Having greenery truly makes a difference in every way. It makes a home feel fresh, current & happy! Is it real? HELL NO. Nobody has time for that. It is all purchased from Michaels. PSA: you will be up-sold for greenery in other spots. I have found Michaels has so much to offer with relevant styles that do not look fake. However, the metal vases or buckets (sold out, similar here) holding the greens are from the holy grail, aka Magnolia Market, where many of my items are purchased!
The final 'room' in the house was probably my favorite to create. Beginning in the kitchen, I bought the island separately as I needed more counter space. The kitchen island was purchased from Wayfair, and I really took a gamble on matching that, but damn, it paid off. I knew the metal would go with the furniture I chose for the living room. Additionally, I considered how much wood would be featured in the living room and played off the structured hardware. Kitchen islands are functional if you have minimal storage (and if you have pretty cookware, a great way to display it!).
The chandelier was a last-minute addition that adds so much character to the room. Lighting in apartments is typically sub-par, so adding my own felt so custom. Check if your apartment has a cap on the ceiling to add lighting! I would say the chandelier's quality is not ideal, but it is stunning in the space, and nobody can tell!
The couch (sold out, similar here) is a pull-out queen-sized bed for guests (definitely invest if you have a small space & like to have guests). I utilized customization on Etsy to create my pillowcases. Funny story: the "Reale" pillowcase was supposed to say, "Farmer," which was someone's last name..not a farmhouse...so there you go.
The floating wood shelves (I ordered the 5" H x 56" W x 8" D) are my favorite part of this room, finding these substantial wooden beams that can display books, letter folk, and of course, more decor/photos.
The leather bench & coffee table(s) (sold out, but I love this one!) are from Pottery Barn. The leather bench I absolutely love and will most likely have forever. The coffee table has already endured some wear and tear (it is my table, workspace, & multi-functional), and I will most likely get a new one when I move - however, the perfect size for now!
The TV stand (similar here with great reviews!) is not of good quality but linked a similar one. I would never subject you to that (even though it looks cute!). The mirror I purchased from Target (old, similar here with great reviews!) 100 years ago and had a small space to display my dying house plant! Why did I even think it would be ok to have one living plant.
If you would like to know where anything else in my house is from, feel free to ask below or email me!
What do you guys think? Would Joanna Gaines approve? Let me know.