Sunday, March 15, 2015

Apartment 101: Making a House a Home!

Hello There!
As this may be the last year in our current apartment (we moved in on 11/11/11) I've been thinking about sharing some of my tips and tricks for moving into a first apartment or any home, especially one where you are tight on space.
A company out of NYC called Compass that I was recently introduced to asked a great question. It was, what can you do to make your house a home and to provide examples? 
They're a real estate platform that places people in neighborhoods and homes that best fit their personality.

Let's take a look through the kitchen first and what we did there to make the space our own.

First off we had only a very small strip of counter that was taken up by a dish drain because we have no dishwasher.  We were in desperate need of some sort of counter space that we could use to prep food and give us more room for appliances.
My Step-Dad is a fantastic carpenter and for Christmas one year made us this table.  I sent him the exact specifications for the height/length/width to make it fit perfectly in the space.  It is just below the half wall for the kitchen so we use that half wall for storing kitchen bits too.  This table is one of my most favorite gifts we were given for the apartment.  See how much room was made and how much we can fit on it?  It is awesome!
We always keep a cutting board on this space for easy use.
Underneath we have a drawer unit for tea (Yes just for tea!) and also a bit that holds chips.  The green table towards the end that the pop tarts are on has our baking sheets on the bottom part.

We had this old over the door coat hanger which did not fit on the front door so we put it on the pantry door in the kitchen to hold strainers and mops.

Utilize the area above your fridge.  It's the perfect place for us to store mixing bowls, water bottles, and our blender's cups.

This silver shelving unit in my parents place was used for storing makeup bits, but here we put it in the kitchen to house the microwave and our toaster oven.  The toaster has a wooden cutting board on top (it's made for it) which gives us another prep area.

I have a black thumb and the plant that came in this pot died pretty quickly.  I couldn't part with it so I decided to turn it into storage for kitchen knives and scissors.

To help them stand upright I put some lentils into the pot.

I use command hooks for everything and one of the best uses is to hang kitchen mitts near the stove.

Onto the living room area.
One of the pieces of furniture we have bought the most (we have three) are these Real Simple 9 cube storage units.  We've picked them up from Bed, Bath, and Beyond.  They fit so many different things and look nice.  They're easy to put together and can really help to pull a room together or work as a divider.

Our living/dining/office area is all in one room so I have used these 9 cube units to separate the room while being able to show off some of our knick knacks and storing books.  The top is also perfect for picture frames.

We also took advantage of any family members who had furniture that they were willing to part with.  My Dad gave us all of our living room furniture as well as some bedroom furniture that he had lying around.
This armoire I always coveted so I'm now so happy it is mine.  It is absolutely enormous, but it's a piece that is built very well and will stand the test of time.

The wooden tray on the ottoman is actually part of it, it has a compartment that it can slide into if you do not want to have it out.  We always have it out as it makes this more of a coffee table than an ottoman.  We have a few picture frames on it and then a ton of coffee table books in the little tote there.  
Under the couch we store our board games so that they are easily accessible when we have guests over and we want to play.

I've made a few of these gallery walls in our apartment.  They are an easy way to add some personality to the space while making it look put together.  
This one is over our dining table.

This lamp is a piece we bought because of how much storage it gives us.  It has three shelves and we keep on it sunglasses, pictures, quarters for laundry, and books.
The light on it is great too and really illuminates our room since we have no ceiling lighting.

In our bathroom we have no under sink storage (it's basically the equivalent of a not-as-pretty pedestal sink) so we had to improvise with storage by getting this over the toilet shelving unit.  
On the top row it has towels, washcloths, and makeup removers on the left, a candle in the middle, and our toothbrushes, floss and tooth paste on the right.  We tend to brush our teeth in the shower so having it right there makes it easily accessible.
The second shelf has a pink box which contains feminine hygiene products, the middle has some little tea light holders that have hair ties and cotton buds, on the right is a whole slew of various skin care and shower products.
This is one of the best things and I'm glad we got it.

In the bedroom we have this hutch.  It used to look completely different until my Step-Dad worked his magic and turned it into a beautiful vanity for me.  It has a light hidden above the mirror to make it easy when getting ready.
On the top I store knick-knacks and our alarm clock is up there too.
I never would have thought this piece could have been so useful, but a bit of tweaking and some paint completely transformed it.

All of our bedroom set is from Ikea.
We had wanted to get a set that would give us a lot of storage because of our limited space and this set is perfect. 
The headboard has storage space on top as well as these shelves down the sides.
These function as our bedside tables without actually taking up the room a bedside table would.

Underneath our bed there are four drawers that pull out.  We use two for clothes, one for bedding, and another for suitcases.
The drawers are very deep and are each basically a quarter of the bed (we have a queen) so they're massive!

We have added personal touches all around our apartment with pictures and various art, but one thing that always makes it feel more homey is a candle.  We have them in every room of the apartment.

The first step to making a house a home is making sure it is you and that you can see yourself in every bit of the place.  We're huge nerds so we have that stuff everywhere.  Let the place reflect your personality and it will feel like home in no time.

Make sure you utilize family and friends for items to fill your home or with help putting furniture together (thank goodness for my fiance's Mom because she's an Ikea wizard!).

I hope this helps you if you're moving to your first place or even a new place.  

Until next time,

disclaimer: I am not sponsored by any of the companies mentioned in this post.  There are no affiliate links in this post.  All thoughts/comments/whathaveyou are 100% my own