I GOT A NEW APARTMENT. Yes, that required capital letters and bolding. This is a big deal.
Since January, I've been living in a bit of a craphole. It was okay at first, but it started to slowly fall apart and my relationship with my roommate was strained at best. However, last week, my sister, my mother and I were all apartment hunting online and we stumbled across the apartment of my dreams. My sister went to see it, filled out an application, and the next day it was OURS. We move in December 1st, and I couldn't be happier.
One of the biggest things exciting me about this is that I get to DECORATE. In my current apartment, the only space that is really mine is my bedroom, so I've never felt completely at home. But now, the entirety of this new place is my domain, and my sister has obliged to let me decorate it however I want (okay, I straight up told her she had to let me assume the duty of sole decorator).
So naturally, in between school, being sick (ew, strep throat) and trying to pack, I've been daydreaming about making up the new place and stockpiling goods to make it look as wonderful as possible.
For the three years before I moved to Toronto, I worked in a home decor store so I picked things up along the way, and my constant Etsy-browsing and antique market-perusal has led to quite a collection. And since I love you all so much, I figured I'd share some tips and tricks and whatever-ses to help you guys personalize and pretty up your own spaces. I mean, I don't want to toot my own horn or anything, but as a Libra, I'm kind of an aesthetic genius.
So, sit back, relax and scroll. You're about to enter a world of apartment beautification all at the very capable hands of me. Let's go!
Artwork That Doesn't Suck
No, you're not going to hang up a "Keep Calm And Carry On" print, or one of those French cat posters. Just no. I'm here to guide you to artwork that is cool and expresses who you really are. Unless you know, you want the French cat to keep calm and carry on. That's entirely up to you, babes.
I'm a movie freak and I love the incredible poster design of the 60s. European poster art always seems to look the coolest, and you can find tons of affordable prints for countless movies at moviepostershop.com. Below are a few of my favorites that are all available for purchase through the site.
Clockwise from top left: French poster for Le Petit Soldat, Italian poster for Psycho, Belgian poster for Rosemary's Baby, Japanese poster for Funny Face, Polish poster for Midnight Cowboy, US poster for the Valley of the Dolls, all available at moviepostershop.com sold as prints alone or with multiple framing options.
I'm also really into collaging, but it's got to be curated. I like the idea of sticking up multiple postcards (in the same color family, of course) with bits of colored washi tape. There are tons of resources on Etsy for washi tape, including this shop that has it available in various colors and patterns.
I also liked this idea from DesignSponge that uses washi tape to create makeshift photo frames for those of us too poor to frame everything with wood, like we're some kinda big-city millionaires. Pffft.
Turn Your Collections Into Shrines
I like collecting things. Some people might call it hoarding, I call it "accumulating beauty". When I noticed that I'd started to amass a large amount of pink things, I decided to turn that collection into a shrine. A beautiful, beautiful shrine.
Grouping various things with a similar theme or color scheme creates an interesting little vignette that looks great on a shelf. Mine includes things like bottles of perfume, crystals, vintage beauty products, figurines, magazines, postcards and books. All of this stuff could have been collecting dust, but because I was drawn to it and found it beautiful, I put it on display and now it's a mini art installation that looks pretty as hell.
Make It Smell Good
I love walking into a space, whether it's someone's house, a store or a restaurant, and being met with a welcoming scent. I'm all about using multiple candles, incense sticks and fragrance oils to make my home smell delicious, and I have a few suggestions here, ranging from cheapo to save-your-pennies-for-a-few-months luxurious.
In the Cheap-As-Hell category, there's incense. You're either an incense person or you aren't, but I am, so this is going here. I don't think there's anything more comforting than walking into a warm room that smells like burning incense. Maybe it's the gross hippie inside of me. I like HEM's Honey Rose incense ($1.25-$7.15, incensewarehouse.com), because if you know me, you know I'm addicted to honey and roses.
Next up on the price scale, you can't deny how awesome the candles from Bath and Body Works are, especially during this time of year. Everything smells winter-y and warm and cozy, and the prices can't be beat. Right now I'm in love with Mahogany Teakwood, Fireside, White Barn: Chestnut and Clove and Black Pepper Bergamot. My candle tastes run towards the musky, spicy and almost masculine, but if you're into candles that smell like cake, they always have those too. And ones that smell like fresh-baked bread, holy crap. (Various prices and sizes, bathandbodyworks.com)
In the mid-price range of things, there's Tocca. I love Tocca because the little blue boxes with coordinated blue-tipped matches make me feel so ladylike even when I look like garbage. The Grace and Havana Candelas are two of my favorites, but I'm also interested in trying Montauk (maybe in the summer?). ($38, tocca.com)
And finally, at the Treat Yo'self level, there's Diptyque. Fancy French candles for fancy people, or people who aren't fancy but want their houses to smell like they are. Ambre is spicy with notes of patchouli, incense and tonka bean. Mmm. ($28-$60, diptyqueparis.com)
Bathrooms Can Be Pretty, Too
The bathroom in my current place is kind of a disgusting disaster, despite my constant attempts to keep it tidy and shining. However, the new place has a dreamily lovely powder room and I've got a few ideas on how to make it even nicer.
Beautiful perfume bottles are always the easiest way to chic up a place. They can be empty vintage bottles from thrift stores or eBay, or favorite fragrances that you use in constant rotation. Pick up a round silver platter from a thrift store's housewares section (usually you can find them for under 10 bucks), stick it on top of your toilet bowl tank, and display all your fancy bottles like it's no big deal.
Now, you can't have a fancy bathroom without a fancy shower curtain. I have this IZOLA Apothethecary print in pink and yellow (no longer available), but you can still purchase it in black and white ($29, izolashower.com).
I'm also really into the idea of this pocket shower curtain that you fill with photos and postcards. Custom curtain!
And bathrooms can be a home for artwork too! I purchased this hairdresser's illustration at a winter fair last weekend and I plan on framing it and hanging it up near my bathtub. Pretty, right?
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In conclusion, my number one decorating tip is just to decorate with stuff that reminds you of the things you love, objects that make you feel cozy, at home and like yourself. Oh, and abuse the shit out of Pinterest and Etsy. I know it's dangerous, but c'mon, man. Have some fun.
And now, dear xoJaners, because I love you: I'm linking you to my Etsy favorites page. Be forewarned, clicking this link could lead you into an Internet wormhole that will cause you great debt. But at least you'll own cool stuff!
Follow me on Twitter -- in the coming weeks I'll be posting loooots of apartment photos: @hannahejo.