This post isn’t super glamorous, but not all apartment must-haves are that exciting. However, whether you’re moving in on your own for the first time or unpacking boxes in your third apartment (which is exactly what I’m doing this week!), I hope this post will serve as a helpful resource! What else would you add to this list? Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the adorable herringbone throw pictured below is from Target of all places!
The graphic above is pretty self-explanatory, but honestly all three of these things (though not quite related to one another!) are certainly useful to have on hand. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve used Goo Gone to remove one of those darn TJ Maxx labels from an otherwise cute mug or picture frame (it really works, people!). Wine glasses may seem like a given, but I’ve noticed that often they get overlooked! Just go with inexpensive ones because many of mine have broken due to an overcrowded dish rack, etc. Lastly, having a throw blanket on hand is perfect for last minute guests or movie marathons on the couch. One of my friends has the coziest throw that I’m absolutely obsessed with and borrow every time I visit her in NYC!
I’m gonna let you guys in on a secret. It may ruin my credibility as a blogger, but I have to tell ya. Ok I’m kidding, this isn’t a huge scandal, but before I started college in New England, I wasn’t a fan of fall (but now I love it–so don’t worry, I’m right there dreaming about Pumpkin Spice Lattes and apple picking and chunky sweaters and scarves with the rest of you. Whew!).
Growing up, fall was always kind of blah. Going back to school? No thanks. Although, I’ve actually always loved school, so that was likely more about not wanting to deal with transitions.
However, I absolutely loved my freshman fall at college (I think that and my senior spring were my two favorite semesters, funnily enough). The classic New England scenery certainly and the colorful trees that surrounded my college campus in Maine were picture perfect and the season grew on me and is now a time of year I truly love. Now that I’m living in a new city, I’m hoping to make more of an effort to do some fun DC things, such as these…
Go antique shopping with my mom. This may not seem like solely a “fall” activity, but the summer has been so hot that standing outside treasure hunting will be a little more enjoyable when the temps are cooler. I can’t wait to check out the flea market in Georgetown as well as the antique shops in Kensington!
Bake for my office. In grad school I always loved bringing in treats to my coworkers (mainly so that I wouldn’t eat them all myself!), and I hope to do the same for my new office. Turning on the oven will hopefully sound a little more appealing in a few months!
Go pumpkin or apple picking. There’s nothing like embracing your inner child and visiting a local farm to get into the fall spirit. There are tons of places for this in the DC area that I went to growing up, so it would be fun to go back as an adult.
Learn to knit. This has been on my to-do list for awhile, but once the weather is cooler and I won’t feel as bad about spending time inside, this is something I’d like to learn how to do! Who knows, maybe I’ll have a scarf completed by winter…
What’s on your to do list once the weather gets cooler?
I love changing up my gallery wall, so purchasing prints can become an expensive habit! When I lived in New York, I ordered a few wallpaper swatches that I ended up framing (although I can’t remember the company from which I ordered at the moment), and they looked super cute. I came across Spoonflower on Instagram (actually on one of my favorite accounts, @pineapplesandcoffeecups, to be specific!) and I loved the patterns that Adriana snapped. I decided to explore the site myself and realized that these designs would also be great for framing. First of all, there are tons of patterns to choose from, and second, an 8 x 8 swatch is only $5 (you can order larger sizes, too, but this is really all you’ll need for framing, especially if you have an 8 x 10 matted frame with a 5 x 7 opening). I am thinking about ordering a few of these once I get my gallery wall going in my new place! Here are some of my faves below, would love to know which ones you like!
My mom keeps several old trunks in our house that were from her childhood home–one is used as a coffee table in our basement and I love the look. I purchased a greenish-brown trunk in Philly (it’s prettier than it sounds, promise!) and used it in my apartment there, but lately, my eye has been on classy, shiny trunks. Above are a few of my favorites. I LOVE the PBteen version (shown below) but the Target one (while still a splurge) seems a little more realistic, not to mention that it also looks easier to clean (I feel so adult taking that into consideration, haha). Which ones do you like?
Just a few things I’m obsessing over at the moment (the above chair/blanket situation included)…
HGTV Magazine. Love reading it, and the campaign dresser styling in the latest issue made me want to scream–in the best way (but I didn’t, because I was reading the issue on a plane and didn’t want to freak anyone out…).
I’m all about decorating on a budget. I personally believe that it’s even more satisfying to see a room come together when you know you scored everything in it for a great deal. That’s not to say investment pieces aren’t important too, but as 20-somethings, many of us are still figuring out where we’re going to live permanently, so it can be somewhat freeing to know that you can always get rid of that mattress if you absolutely need to (not that I’ll ever get rid of mine–my bed is seriously the comfiest thing ever!). A couple of months ago, I came across this Everygirl article on tips for saving money while decorating an apartment, and I thought the suggestions were great! Since I have used many of these tactics myself, I thought I’d share my take, and hopefully it will inspire you to follow suit!
The article recommends joining local Facebook groups, which has been super useful in my experience. If you live in a college town or area where people are constantly moving in and moving out each year, you’ll see a TON of furniture/accessory postings on Craigslist or maybe even in your apartment building, if you truly live in the heart of a student-oriented area. If you go to a college or university, odds are your school has a “free and for sale” Facebook group open to members of the campus community only (so you know it’s relatively safe), and this is a great way to find all sorts of items for cheap (when I say all sorts, I mean all sorts. Use your imagination here. But most of them are relevant to this post). When I was in graduate school, I was able to purchase a coffee table, vanity, set of side tables, a Kate Spade wallet, and more from this group, all for no more than $25 each. Talk about a deal! I’m still working on finding a similar type of group in the “real world.”
The Everygirl also suggests browsing thrift stores and estate sales. Goodwill can have some great stuff, you just have to be patient. In Florida, I found a set of banana leaf print porcelain plates and screamed out loud in the store (will have to post pictures once I’m moved in to my new place!). In Philly, I found a cute bar cart for only $11, which I repurposed with marble contact paper–the end result was super classy-looking!
The last tip I have tried out myself is purchasing furniture from friends! As you may recall, I picked up an awesome bar cart from a friend who just didn’t use it anymore. All of our other friends kept insisting that it should go to me, because they knew how much I would love it (thanks, everyone!). If you live with a roommate who is moving out, it may be worth asking her if there is anything she would be willing to sell–the best part is you can see the item’s condition up close AND cut out transportation logistics.
What do you think of these tips? Any others to keep in mind?
As cute as a piece of clothing or decor is, it’s often easy to find a lookalike for less that’ll make you feel less guilty on spending $$$ on something that isn’t quite as important to your lifestyle as, say, rent and food. Unless something is truly special, why spend $119 when you can spend $19.99 (see below)? I love when blogs and magazines do round-ups showcasing expensive items and their affordable counterparts, so I thought I’d try my hand at one–if you like this type of post, let me know and I’ll definitely do more in the future!
Going with the whole “champagne taste on a beer budget” idea (and just because I like champagne a lot), I thought I would refer to my more expensive items as “Veuve” and my cheaper items as “Andre” (anyone??). Just go with me here…
While these fun bookends cost over $100 at One Kings Lane, they’re super affordable at TJ Maxx online. My verdict? Go with the cheaper ones–if they accidentally break, or you get sick of the pineapple trend, or you just don’t think you’ll use them that much, there’s less to regret!
Banana Leaf Bedding
Banana leaf is a classic print that has come back into style. I came across the Target version of the comforter a few months ago and thought it was adorable–a little loud for some rooms, but still super trendy and affordable nonetheless! Compared to its expensive (and really, really expensive) counterparts, it’s the winner here–or maybe that’s just because I eat in bed too much to ever trust myself with a $500 duvet cover like this one from Wayfair!
Another classic, ginger jars are certainly in style at the moment. But making your home look classy doesn’t need to mean emptying your savings. This TJ Maxx style is a steal compared to the version I came across on Houzz. Again, with breakable items, it can never hurt to go with the cheaper option, and I honestly like the colors on the TJ Maxx jar more!
You guys. I am so, so obsessed with my sequin sunhat. Call me #basic, but you have to admit that these hats make for such cute photos! I actually purchased mine on Poshmark, as the hats can be pretty expensive elsewhere (the “real” ones go for $485…um, yeah, not in this lifetime). Anyway, I brought my hat to Florida so that I could wear it on the beach/by the pool, and I love how the photos turned out! Hope this inspires you if you plan to take a vacay of your own sometime soon (since I just started my job in July, I only took one day off but crammed a lot of fun into a long weekend!).
Today I am sharing a special offer with you all! I have recently partnered with jewelry company Boho Betty, “a fashionable, high quality, global inspired accessory line at such affordable prices that you can wear it every day.” I don’t think I can state it better than that! The bracelets are not only super budget friendly but they’re also on-trend and (most importantly) sparkly!
I ordered the gold mesh cuff bracelet (check out my Instagram for a pic!). I am obsessed with gold as of late (as if you couldn’t already tell from my other posts!) so I thought this would make a fun addition to my wardrobe. It’s definitely workplace appropriate while also adding a bit of glimmer to an otherwise more conservative outfit! But I honestly think the best aspect is that the bracelet has two different snaps you can use depending on wrist size–for someone like me who has extremely small wrists, this is important! I often can’t wear bracelets because they’re just too big and slide right off (seriously, even the workers at my college’s pub noticed my “baby wrists” every time they gave me a wristband!).
Right now, Boho Betty is offering a discount for my readers–just enter the code DCTOAT for 20 percent off your purchase!
As a disclaimer, using the code mentioned above will allow me to earn a small commission from your purchase, but note that all of the opinions expressed above are my own. Happy shopping!