My current apartment is the first place I've lived in for longer than a year since high school, after switching dorms and apartments every six months to a year, for the past eight years. And I love it. For an apartment I found on Craigslist while driving in a U-Haul through Kansas to California, it's surprising just how perfect it is, surrounded on all four sides by windows that look out onto fruit trees. It feels like an oasis from the city and it's somewhere Jonah and I can see ourselves for the foreseeable future (read: now that I have rent control, I'm never, ever leaving).
Since moving in, Jonah and I have been slowly transitioning it, room by room, replacing pieces we always saw as temporary (mostly items we found, borrowed, or purchased second-hand for as little as possible) into furniture we can really see ourselves using—and loving—for years to come. We started with our bedroom, where I swapped out IKEA sheets for Parachute sheets, replaced my dorm room decorative pillows with sleek white Euro shams, and purchased a throw and new bedside table. Next, I moved onto our kitchen, creating a breakfast nook and re-organizing our pantry. The only room I haven't touched though is the one we spend the most time in: the living room. While the other swaps took a matter of days, we're planning on really taking our time on the living room—slowly buying pieces, and building from there to create a perfect, liveable space. Read on for the issues I'm hoping to fix with a new layout, inspiration photos, and the pieces I'm planning on purchasing:
Because of the current layout, having guests over feels a little too much like a board room—three of us sit on one side, while the other two sit in the stiff-backed antique chairs across from the couch. (And tough luck if we have more than three people over, which we frequently do.)
Solution: I want to create a more casual seating arrangement that lends itself to a more circular layout, with an L-shaped couch that wraps around a coffee table, and floor cushions for casual lounging.
When it's just the two of us at home, we're usually either reading on the couch (which got a little cramped when we were both laying down on it), or watching a show on a tiny laptop screen.
Solution: I used to secretly pride myself on the fact that we "didn't own a T.V." but the fact is that that means almost nothing these days because T.V. is so readily available on laptops. We don't watch fewer shows than our friends, we just watch them on a smaller, cramped screen. To fix both issues, we're planning on purchasing a larger couch, and putting it against a wall with windows facing the only large wall in the room so we can install a small T.V. there, hopefully somewhat camouflaged by a gallery wall.
The same thing I love about our house during the day—the number of windows—is the exact thing that gives me the creeps at night. I often feel vulnerable sitting in our living room at night, when the windows are all pitch-black (and yes, I do listen to too much My Favorite Murder...).
Solution: Curtains! (Which will also help when it over-heats in the summertime.)
Because almost 100% of our furniture was budget finds, our living room feels a little more college dorm room than it does adult home.
Solution: We're willing to spend a bit more this time around on quality pieces, built to last for years to come.
1. Eddy Couch from West Elm in navy blue velvet (already purchased!)
2. Pillows from Suay Sew Shop in Frogtown and this Sage x Clare Cushion
3. Throw from Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, or similar
4. Wall-mounted light for corner of the couch, and new overhead lighting
5. Rug from Lulu & Georgia
6. Television (we're considering a 41" flatscreen option)
7. Round coffee table (not sure which yet, but I like the idea of a marble top option...)
8. Comfy reading chair (x2) and/or floor pillows
9. Yamaha U-1 Piano (this is a bit of a pipe dream—I played when I was younger, and would love to get back into it, plus I think pianos are beautiful, but it may be too large for the space)