Apartment tour + our favorite renter’s decor tricks

We are a few months away from packing up our apartment–which I am dreading because I hate moving but also because I have never lived somewhere for longer in my adult life (4 years!). Before things start to get disassembled, I decided to do a little glamour shoot for our apartment. Here are some pictures, if you would like to see…

Our apartment is not pretty. It’s 1000 square feet (pro) with new flooring (pro) but no washer/dryer (con!), a tiny kitchen (con!!!), and a very cold basement with bad lighting (con!!!!). And yet I love it. We’ve done some things to make it really cozy, most of which are concentrated in our ground-level living room.

First, you should know Trevor went from dabbling in making furniture to oh-my-gosh-you’re-really-good-at-making furniture. He’s the worst like that. So most of the furniture seen here was his doing. The coffee table is my favorite thing in the whole house. He asked what accent color he should use for the diamonds and I yelled “pink!” and he complied.

Biggest purchases: It took us a while to find our color scheme. This is our first apartment together. If I had it my way, everything would be white and unstained wood. If Trevor had it his way, we would be living in a Restoration Hardware catalog. The only thing we agreed on at first was teal. So this teal rug was our first “big” purchase, followed by our gray Ikea couch. Overall, we’ve probably purchased one big item a year, usually during tax season after we get our refunds.

DIY projects: We really wanted a hip bar cart when we moved in, but they are dang expensive. Trevor found this old hospital cart (creepy) on Craigslist for $50, then we got it powder coated for another $50. I didn’t know this was a thing, but it gives metal a really glossy finish. If you google “powder coating” + your city name places will come up.

I found this old map in a trash pile at my MA university. Trevor built the record cabinet. We love record collecting, and we just got our new record player, which is probably the last of our big purchases in this apartment.

Next to our living room is our dining area, if you can call it that. Trevor made the table out of free floorboards, found on Craigslist. The painting was a DIY we did together one night. Painting is super soothing, and I highly recommend grad student craft nights!

Kitchen: Do I have to show you this? Our kitchen is most appropriately sized for a hobbit, and the brown cabinets do it no favors. We have made the most of it with some canisters, a magnetic strip for knives, and this shelving unit from Ikea. I stole this idea from an AirBnB I stayed at in Norway–many people there have these trendy string shelves, and our AirBnB host had stocked hers with tea and coffee and mugs. I loved it, plus it shows off my growing pottery collection.

Downstairs: Our very very cold basement has a giant bedroom and three closets in it. If only the temperature was nice enough to want to be down there ever! It took us a long time to decorate because we just don’t like it down here. But our dressers are Ikea that we stained and painted white, plus Anthropologie drawer pulls.

As you can see the space is kind of big and we don’t really know what to do with it all. Fun fact: the Boulder rental market is extremely stressful, and usually by the time you see an apartment on Craigslist at a desirable price (and they are all way too expensive), it’s already gone. I got our apartment, sight unseen, by calling the rental company immediately after they posted the unit. I signed a lease within the first 4 hours. And Trevor was on a family vacation to Ireland at the time, so he didn’t see it at all! I also totally spaced that once I rented it, the Craigslist post would be deleted. So we moved in two months later with very little memory of the Craigslist posting pictures.

Here’s my closet space, just for fun. It serves its purpose. Turns out hanging hats on the wall is actually a good way to keep them from being smushed, thanks Instagram for that idea.

So, there you have it! Our apartment has been a 4 year labor of love and I will miss it. But I am excited at the prospect of more than 2 windows. And a washer and dryer. Onward and upward!

6 thoughts on “Apartment tour + our favorite renter’s decor tricks”

  1. I love how you decorated your apartment (and the handmade furniture, wow!). I know moving is hard, but it can be a good reminder that our homes are really the lives we live inside the house and not necessarily the house itself!


    1. Thank you! The old map was such a fun find! I wish I had the whole set of maps where you can roll up one map to reveal another–I always thought they were so fun in my childhood classrooms 🙂


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