CREATING YOUR OWN OASIS
BY OLIVIA MUTH
Laying out the facts for you:
I moved to a two bedroom apartment with a complete stranger at the ripe age of 23 with minimal disposable income. TBH I was just happy I found a roommate that seemed normal in an apartment with a good location and a decent amount of space for a price that didn’t fully throw me into a panic.
Decorating my apartment was NOT at the top of my list. Which for anyone who knows me, probably finds that difficult to believe. Truthfully, I was just trying to make it through a work day, feed myself three times a day, do my laundry, and somewhat manage to maintain a social life. Sooo spending money on cute apartment deco ...not a high priority. Especially since my roommate was a stranger and I really didn’t know if investing in cute furniture & decor was her thing (it wasn’t...but it is now)
My apartment was basically a collection of free furniture from little old ladies at my hometown church and pieces my mom had snatched at yard sales. Not really my aesthetic, but I guess free was my aesthetic at the time so… cool.
About a year and half in, I couldn’t take it anymore (I actually can’t believe it lasted that long) and I went on a living room makeover rampage...bc let’s be real I’m not made of money and if there was one room I needed to be my oasis, it was this one (aaand my bedroom was already in a decent place)
My roommate must have thought I lost it (to clarify, we became very good friends). I just started getting rid of furniture? Donating to different organizations, having random people come to the apartment and pick things up until it was a complete blank slate. Was I insane? Yes. Did I have a vision? Also yes.
Here’s what I did…
1. Created a Pinterest board with my inspiration. I studied the pictures and found what I was attracted to in each one. Then I’d sit in my living room and imagine where it would all go and how I could apply it to my tiny space.
2. Began researching key pieces that would ground the room (couch, rug, tv stand). Once I found those three things (at an affordable price). I would order and wait for them to arrive until I started decorating the surroundings.
And speaking of affordable prices...I created a budget per piece (instead of making a general budget for the room...which probably would have scared me from going through with it!!) *I also want to note that I was VERY lucky that Ashli was giving me things from the old office… this definitely helped with the budget but also everything was CHIC and unique so it really added to the room.
3. I researched every piece I was interested in (at least the big ticket items) and thoroughly read the reviews. Since I was shopping all online and did NOT want to have to deal with returns I really looked at photos that customers uploaded of the piece in their space. This is what I found to be most reliable...I mean if Susan in Arkansas with zero photography skills was able to capture it in a poorly lit living room and it STILL looked good...then it probably wasn’t a bad find!
4. After all the big pieces came, I started shopping around for accessories...I tried to think of things that were practical, served a purpose, but also added to the aesthetic of the room. This is when I really leaned on Pinterest and studied what I loved about each picture. What were the little details that made me attracted to it? These little touches are STILL occurring … bc like I said before, I’m not made of money.
In the end, it was 100% worth it. My roommate and I created a little oasis in our baby apartment in this big ol’ city. We love it. It’s filled with plants, candles, cozy blankets, and it's the one place we can go to at the end of the day and just be so happy. We can’t believe we didn’t do it sooner!
If you’re looking for home decor at a more affordable price, here are some of the places I shopped and my suggestions when buying from there.
Wayfair / All Modern - Basically both are the same thing. I REALLY leaned on the reviews here since I’ve heard horror stories. I looked at pictures, read through all the comments and looked into how much assembly was required. I also took the comments to heart… like if it said it was, “really difficult to assemble” … I believed them. I’m not great with directions and didn’t want to risk it (but also shout out to my roommate’s BF at the time for being a major help in putting things together when I got frustrated and gave up)
Rugs USA - I’ve always found rugs to be expensive and something I didn’t want to spend money on BUT this website had SO much variety. They always have some kind of discount or sale (never buy full price) which made it easy to find something I loved.
Amazon - Can’t go wrong with Amazon. Mainly used for mid-sized accessories like my bookshelf, bar cart, side table...I found these items to be more expensive in places like Target because they were “trendy” items. Just like Wayfair, I really read the reviews here, paid close attention to measurements, etc.
Target - Who doesn’t love a good Target run? Their home section was useful for me in terms of “statement pieces”. AKA mid-range items like my furry white pouf and floor lamp. I strayed away from small accessories here mainly because I thought they were a little overpriced.
H&M Home - Here is where I REALLY thrived. I could spend so much money at H&M Home it’s actually scary. They have such great home accessories for truly the best price. This is where you can get all the unique little pieces like a cool vase, or a trendy picture frame, baskets, candle sticks, and even pillows. Their pillow selection can NOT be beat. You just won’t find this kind of stuff anywhere else for the price. Thanks Ash, for the suggestion!
Home Goods - I love a good Home Goods browse. Because you can’t shop online, I just got odds and ends here that I found at a good price!
Sunday Forever - Well … DUH. I’d be lying if I said my little oasis isn’t filled with Sunday Forever candles, crystals, sage, etc. I’m VERY fortunate that I get to bring this magic home with me. The candles fill my little apartment with so much love.