Sunday, October 20, 2013

Apartment Tour: Small Space Decorating

Who is ready for a virtual tour of the new digs?  It only took me twenty days to get this to you.  You know what that really means: it took twenty days for this place to be in any state of picture perfect readiness.

Before I show you the pics, I want to talk about details.  I really think they make a home.  Attention to detail is key IF You are the sort of person who wants their space to reflect who they are.  And I think it can be done cheaply.  While I fully plan to eventually graduate to a home full of decent quality furniture (like a real grownup), I will NEVER be the type of person to spend a ton on decor details when there are so many good finds to be found at local department stores, discount stores, flea markets, and even craft shops.  Truly, honestly, let me tell you: I know we are all supposed to hate Target and Walmart and IKEA, and while I acknowledge that those who dislike them make very valid points, I say we have to be realistic.  As a person who is artisinally (making up words now) oriented, I get it.  If I could afford to buy everything on etsy or by local handiwork artisans and craftsman, I absolutely would.  I support small business.  I still aspire to get there.  In the meantime, I use the cheapo places to express myself.

I also want to talk about making a rental space a home.  It's important.  I was a homeowner.  Pre-divorce, I loved my space.  Losing it was one of the most devastating things that has happened to me: not because I am shallow but because it was my safety zone.  And as most of you know from reading, re-finding that sense of "home" has been a super big challenge for me these past four years.  Not easy.  But I think I'm there now.  I am loving this place.  It's cosy, it has a functional layout, and for the most part it was a neutral canvas.  Making a rental space feel like a well put together home can be especially challenging when dealing with the idiosyncracies and inevitable oddities that are typical of the rental space.  But it can be done!  It can be done.

And, you will notice immediately, that post divorce I unabashedly decorate in an uber feminine way.  It's in part defiance, but also part of the process of getting to know myself.  My style is evolving.  It used to be starkly modern.  My color preferences are always bold, but I like to think I bring them down to earth with my use of black and white to contrast.  I really think that only ONE bold color should be used in a space, and it can be anchored with neutrals.  I do layer patterns, but only in similar colors.  I do focus on the details.  And you might notice that this new space, while still incorporating my previous grouping of modern, contemporary, and geometric pieces, it also has a new, country flair.  The curtains aren't quite toile, but they are definitely French Country inspired.  And a few pieces, such as the frame I used for Micah's picture, the "PEACE" text decoration near the tv, the dining room table runner and the french country red mugs from HomeGoods bring in updated country touches of rustic red (gingham, distressed paint finishes, birds.)  I almost bought a white plaster rooster from HomeGoods.  Almost.  Maybe next time.

bedding from

HomeGoods dress form: $49.99: it's perfect for displaying the infinity scarves I crocheted.

Pink frame from Target's "Room Essentials" brand, pillars wrapped in damask duct tape
Lamp from Target "Room Essential" a few years back, pink basket is also Target "Room Essentials"

lampshade, Walmart Better Homes line ($8 and some change) and pink jar candle is IKEA (.99 cents)
Birthday present from Mom (from Michael's crafts, french bin I am storing paints in)

reclaimed bench from Elephant's Trunk Flea Market, New Milford CT
Micah Kevin apple-picking!, photo courtesy of bro in law, David Whitney

letter "M" from Michael's crafts, painted red; candleholder from Partylite a few years ago
"PEACE" text in gingham, from Michael's crafts

baskets of future crochet projects

Curtains are discoed from the Target Threshold brand, pattern "Farrah" (so glad I bought them up)

Pinterest tip: use a small cake pedestal for dish soap and sponge
Wine Rack from Pier1, red office chair from IKEA, tea towel from Target
Table runner via Target Threshold brand, Candelabra is a church sale find spray painted black
Mugs via Christmas Tree Shops, and HomeGoods and IKEA
Cookie Jar via Pier1, canisters via IKEA, utensil can via HomeGoods, red pitcher is an antiques shop find

Target "Dwell Studio" shower curtain
Bath accessories from Target's now defunct "Dwell Studio" line

towels via Kohls (white one) and IKEA (pink)


  1. I absolutely ADORE your apartment and all of the special touches in it. You must LOVE your space so much and love that you get to enjoy it every single day, all day, since you work from home (I love that about my house, being able to enjoy it all day too, not just before and after work!). This place SCREAMS you and is super cozy and comfy. I LOVE it!!

  2. Wow! Marisa, it looks fantastic. I love all the attention to detail and how it all reflects you. No wonder you have been very happy with the move, you have a true safe haven.