a guide to great apartment

Stuck in a rut with your boring or mediocre digs? Follow these steps to vamp up your home sweet home.

1. The Hunt

The first step to a having a great apartment is to find a great apartment. Make a list of your nonnegotiables. Mine are a dishwasher, a view, doorman, safe neighborhood, and within my price range. I am in my mid-twenties and until recently, I lived alone in a large city so a studio apartment worked perfectly for me. Now that my boyfriend and I are living together, we have different needs for our place.  Find what works for you and is within your price range. Don't be afraid to shop around. Don't settle on the first place you find because it's convenient. There is always something better out there, it may just take time to find it.

2. Pace Yourself

You need a new coffee table, bookshelf, rug, the list goes on and on. Although it may be tempting, DO NOT go to Ikea and Bed Bath and Beyond and buy a bunch of cheap crap to just fill your place in one quick swoop. Take your time. You do not need to fill your entire home in one weekend. Do some research and find pieces one by one that you love- and will have for your entire life! It may be cheaper to go straight to Ikea but the pieces wont last and you will end up buying new furniture after a couple of years. I always think it's better to buy the long lasting, slightly more expensive thing than the cheap piece that everyone else has and falls apart after minor wear and tear.

3. Treasure Hunt

One man's trash is another man's treasure! Growing up, we would stop at every garage and estate sale we saw. The best ones were always on old country roads- the funkier, the better. I got a brand new pair of Ferragamo shoes (in my size!) for $3.00 at a garage sale in Northern Michigan. The woman thought she was ripping me off! My apartment is filled with lots of vintage trinkets, antique books, and other random keepsakes from my travels around the world. The purse above was found at a vintage store in Barcelona and is made out of a Tibetan woman's wedding gown. Add some character with unique finds that are truly one of a kind.

4. Organization

Organization is key! I try to make my life as stress free as possible. This means having my clothes, accessories, beauty products, towels...basically everything you own,  as organized as possible. Look for new and interesting ways to display your jewelry or hats so that you can see them all. Color code your closet and use all of the same type of hangers. No wire hangers, please!  Display your sunglasses on a unique tray so that you wear a different pair each day. You will find that when you have your personal items organized you will actually use them! Remember, organization goes beyond the closet. Alphabetize your record collection, sort your pantry and refrigerator, and tackle that dreaded junk drawer. De-clutter and simplify your life, people!

5. Raid your Parent's home

If your parents are anything like mine, they collect a lot of stuff. Before going out and purchasing new items, go through your Parent's or Grandparent's homes and see if they have anything unique they'd like to pass on to you. A big centerpiece of my apartment is a vintage American flag that used to fly outside my Great Grandparent's home on Lake Michigan. When you recycle pieces from your family member's home you aren't just saving that dough but you're bringing a piece of your family into your new home.

6. It's all in the details

By now you have all of your essentials- the sofa, bed, coffee table, dining room table, etc. Now comes the fun part- decorating. This includes everything from the color of your linens, towels, pillows, and curtains to the way you display your books and funky kink knacks you found at a vintage store while on vacation. It's all about balance. I like to keep it simple with all white sheets and towels but add pops of color with curtains and pillows. Search online for inspiration and start a collection of images for how you envision your dream home to be. I like to display my pins and rocks I have collected in vintage copper bowls. I use an old cigar box to hold my most precious jewelry, and I always have flowers and succulents. Think of small, creative ways to make your home personal and unique to you.

7. Live your life

Now that your apartment/home is perfection- live it up! Show off your new and improved pad with friends and family, throw a dinner or brunch party, and continue to add personal touches- I've always wanted a yoga room. Your home should be your sanctuary where you are completely relaxed and at ease. Your home is a reflection of who you are- take care of it, be proud of it, and enjoy it!


Lux Lake