The “Mile Square City” Life: Renter’s Edition

I’ve never been a renter outside of my college years, but I have plenty of friends who currently are. They’re always looking for tips and tricks on utilizing all of the space within their apartments as well as what pieces to buy when they need to move from one space to another.

A good friend of mine contacted me and wanted to know if I was still doing interior decorating “on the side” and asked if I could help her. My response? “Absolutely! When do we start?” Little did I know how much she was going to allow me to do. I started off at a furniture and decor store to get an idea for what she wanted based on her Pinterest board. She was going for a romantic/chic look. The only limitations she had were the colors and styles of the apartment (walls, floors, molding, and kitchen cabinets). Her apartment is 1,029 square feet with a loft and 20 foot+ ceilings. She decided to keep the blue and eggplant accent walls. We were not able to change all of the natural wood molding and kitchen cabinets, but we came up with color schemes that would work within the space as well as make it her own. This is the important part…making the space her own. If in a few years she moves it wouldn’t have mattered what colors the walls were. She will own furniture and decor pieces that we put together that would show her personality and style for her future space(s).

We’re not done at all with the space, but I’ll share some of our findings since we’ve started.

1. You can have an idea of what you want (i.e. Pinterest boards, HGTV ideas, magazine clippings, etc.), but you won’t know exactly what you want until you go out and look for it. 

My friend had a Pinterest board dedicated to her apartment. It had so many great ideas, but I couldn’t find those exact pieces so I created her own look in different spaces. We decided on a chic black, white, and gold look in her bedroom. I found simple, yet detailed white bedding and added a ton of throw pillows to create a soft look. The living room transformed into a cozy, yet sophisticated French inspired look. I used soft grays, more throw pillows, and rustic accents. The loft turned into a business casual space with a desk area for work and contemporary, yet modern decor and furniture pieces in purple, gold and beige tones.

2. You can decorate with more than one style.

I don’t believe you need to decorate your home with just one style (if you read #1 you understand what I mean). That can get boring pretty quickly. Why not decorate different rooms with different decor items to create different themes! If you want to keep some consistency throughout your home then use similar paint choices and colors throughout.

3. Plans change…for the better. So be flexible. You can’t give up when you hit a design “block.”

I haven’t been so lucky every time I look for different decor pieces and sometimes I can only find one item even though I need more. So use what you can if you love it so much. My friend wanted a variety of throw pillows. I couldn’t find as many as I needed so I had to improvise and look for new ones that would go with what I already bought. I don’t know how they’ll look, but I have to be flexible so we’ll see!

I also discovered this absolutely beautiful Parisian inspired large wall clock that I had to get for my friend. I thought it would be at Homegoods the next day since it was such a large and specific decor piece that no one would buy it right away. Boy, was I wrong…someone bought it! I found it at our other local Homegoods and because it was so gorgeous I had to find one for myself as well!


4. If you really want something…do it yourself!

I wanted to create chic fashion art for the bedroom. So I started to play around with my camera and used some things I had lying around at home (shoes, perfume and flowers). Who would’ve thought that I could create something so elegant? Plus it was free! I also found a turquoise “B” (for my friend’s name) and painted it black, put it in the middle of a gold frame I had (without the glass) and used it to make a small gallery wall of art and inspirational quotes.IMG_8280.JPG5. Or have someone else do it!

I saw this amazing coffee sign on my friend’s Pinterest board and since I know every single decor item at every single Homegoods I knew they didn’t carry something like that. Luckily, I work with a Crafty Chic, who is also a talented teacher. I sent her a picture and asked, “Can you make this?” The Crafty Chic said yes. I gave her the dimensions and she created an even better coffee sign than was what pinned! She also made these mason jar sconces that can also be used as flower vases that I found online that I knew would be perfect in the living room and bedroom. We tweaked the design along the way to make them work within the spaces. Even though the spaces have two different styles it will tie the two areas together. *Want something handmade and one of a kind? Visit for more information.*


Stay tuned for the before and afters of this beautiful apartment!


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