Today marks 6 1/2 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 truly do not foresee myself leaving any time soon. With that being said, it also feels weird not living somewhere I dislike..truly I lived and worked for the weekends in the Bay Area where I could go to 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.
My time here thus far has given me insight into a multitude of self discovery traits, including my insane passion for interior decorating. Yes, like decorating apartments.
Did I know I had this? Absolutely not. Inspiration does not necessarily flood through you when you are picking 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 my room furniture, decor, & theme changed every year of my life (to my mom's budgetary dismay). From hawaiian flowered wallpaper, to fuzzy pillows and chairs and ending with mustard colored walls (no literally..it is 3 yellow walls with one red accent wall, woof) I truly let me 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 completely finished (and decorated for fall) and today I am breaking down how I did it. Scroll down for all the photos!
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. Everyone that is from Texas walks into my apartment and says "WOW this is small", whereas all my California friends say, "This is PERFECT for one person." Both are true honestly. Working with a studio came with a design challenge that I had not ever encountered, but I could not wait to get started.
To begin, my style I have defined as "rustic vintage farmhouse with a twist". Patten 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 all the colors I like to make this make sense for you. But really note what colors and textures you are drawn to and that is going to tell you a lot about the style you gravitate toward.
For example, if you like a lot of white & acrylic you most likely like modern styles. If you like more natural tones but also 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 think that you are not 'good' at decorating, finding what you like and cultivating that into a house is what is going to 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.
I wanted the built ins to have some purpose, which for me was storing linens and towels (not well by the way, clearly need a folding lesson), but my travel knick knacks, photos, and other homemade goodies that I love to display. Featured here: shisha dog from Japan (my best friend Liz has a matching set), 'Travel Fund' jar made by my other best friend Brigitte, globe that I have had since college, 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 tree of life scale murals of drunken sorority formal photos people. Visit any Michaels, Target, or Homegoods and you can find cute, 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. The 'Mountains are calling I must go' was purchased at a market in Portland, Oregon.
With photos and artwork, I will be the first to say it 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 have rips, tears, & are probably dirty from being in my backpack for so long. Long story short, I only came back with two prints which are 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. This is the smallest room in the house and I was incredibly nervous about everything I needed fitting in the room or if I was going to be stuck with a dresser 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 bedframe. Pick your bed frame first and design around it as conceptually it is the focal point of the room. I had this bedframe picked out from Living Spaces frame picked out from the start and ordering other furniture seemed more plausible after it was set up and stood up in the bedroom itself.
I'm a tall girl and really do not fit on anything smaller than a queen size bed, so the sizing was unfortunately non negotiable for me, although I know when I move into a bigger place this piece will forever stay. 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
Where I really had some fun here was my duvet cover, which I actually saw as an instagram ad on my feed from Boll & Branch (no longer available, but similar here, here, & here) Anyone that knows me knows that someday I will have an entirely blue and white kitchen, and this was the perfect compromise to not being able to design that myself. 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 these cool pattern every night. This meant that I would compromise on everything else in the bedroom, but for such a small space it did not feel like a huge decor sacrifice. The white quilt is incredibly old (like college, 5 years ago) from Target and the white sheets are from Bed, Bath & Beyond.
The other two pieces are from Wayfair (linked here & here) and you'll see that Wayfair was a saving grace throughout this process. I the wood is mismatched as to not seem too bland as well as tie into the reclaimed wood art hanging on the wall. My number one tip here is functionality. With how small this space was, I knew I could not have a dresser I really loved or the size I wanted it to be. So compromise, a long, lingerie style would fit in this space and serve its purpose while living here.
Decor/Other Add Ins
My bedroom decor is special because most of the items in here were funneled into my car when I drove out to Texas. The reclaimed wood mountains piece was 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, & shelves are from Michaels. 'Today is a good day for a good day' also from Michaels, frames with photos from Target & World Market. Laundry hamper is actually a leather storage basket I purchased from Hearth & Hand by Magnolia for Target and converted into my own cute version of a laundry hamper. Unconventionally, you can truly make anything your own!
Oddly enough the lamp was one of the first things I ordered when I moved here. Purchased from Wayfair, I saw it and immediately knew it would fit in the space with the vintage, mason jar feel with metal and glass. FUN TIP I just found out that 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 actually purchase separately from the blue and white vase, which previously housed two succulents from a boutique in the bay area where I used to live. Repurposing is not something I would say I am amazing 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 on it. Having green in your place truly makes a difference in every way. It makes it feel fresh, current & for me, 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 holding the greens are from the holy grail, aka Magnolia Market where a lot of my things are from to come!
The final 'room' in the house was probably my favorite to create. Beginning in the kitchen, I actually bought the island separately as I needed more counter space.
The kitchen island was purchased from Wayfair, and I can honestly tell you that I really took a gamble on matching that but damn it paid off- I knew the metal would go with a lot of what I was choosing for my living room. Additionally, I considered how much wood would be in my living room and off played a more hardware strategy to the room. It is also great if you have minimal storage seen in this photo and have pretty yellow cookware to display.
The chandelier was a last minute addition that I absolutely am in love with because the room gets dark and it is a fun way to add to it. I actually spent a ton of time deciding which chandelier to go with, and I would say the quality of this one is not as great as I thought- but it is absolutely beautiful in the space and nobody can tell.
The couch is a pull out for guests (definitely invest if you have a small space like me and friends that visit every weekend, MVPs) and I utilized customization on Etsy to create my own pillowcases. Funny story: the "Reale" pillowcase was actually supposed to say Farmer...which was someone's last name..not a farmhouse...so there you go.
The shelves are probably my favorite part of this room, finding these huge floating wooden beams that can display books, letterfolk, and of course more decor/photos.
The leather bench & coffee table(s) are from Pottery Barn. The leather bench I absolutely love and will most likely have forever, as the coffee table has already endured some wear and tear (it is my table, workspace, etc. so I'm not surprised) and I will most likely get a new one when I move- however, for the space a perfect size.
The Tv stand I'm not going to link as it is not a great quality and I would never subject you to that as cute as it is- the mirror was purchased from Target 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 1 live 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.