Turning Our Scrappy Apartment Into A Paradise

The apartment my boyfriend, our dog, and I share could definitely be described as scrappy. Maybe even ugly, or unpleasant. An Apartment Therapy tour would probably call it “Amanda’s Scrappy, Sort of Gross Mish-Mash of Cheap IKEA Furniture and Hand-Me-Downs (You Live In Brooklyn, Shouldn’t You Be Leaning More Toward the  Eclectic?)”. It’s a really sad state of affairs.

The weird thing is, I love reading Apartment Therapy and clicking through the tour slideshows. I love absorbing gorgeous photos of European apartments and villas posted on My Paradissi. I even love taking quick peeks in other people’s apartments when I walk my dog at night. Interiors and architecture stun me, and have ever since I was a little kid, carefully flipping through my mom’s coffee table books of Nantucket homes or ogling at interesting-looking houses in my hometown.

If you walk into my apartment now, you’d find it bare-bones and messy. We just moved in a few weeks ago and we’re on a strict budget (extra cash winds up going toward a nice meal out or a new shirt for work), so new furniture or aesthetic niceties have been last on our priority list.

can you find: the a/c? dirty laundry basket? blanket? shoes? dog?    Yes, that is our TV.

But we’re doing a little better now. The end of the month doesn’t see us scraping the bottom of the barrel. We have a tiny margin of cash that we can use for nice things, and we really should, with the surprise on the way.

I see a lot of potential for a beautiful, warm, comfortable apartment. I feel conflicted, on one hand — should we spend money on this, when what we have is functional? And on the other hand — I want to feel at home in my home, and I think we can do it without spending thousands and thousands.

The old bed frame broke, the sheets are ancient             at least we have a big kitchen

Out of all the rooms, I think the bedroom needs the most work. We don’t even have a bedframe since our old one broke, and our clothes are stored in plastic storage drawers. I picked up some curtains out of necessity, but (why did I do this?) got a different style for each window, and accidentally got one purple and one grey curtain for the second (you can see it slightly in the photo). I am still thinking of how to make our bedroom nice without spending too much.

In a dream world, I’d want our apartment to look like one part countryside Spanish villa and one part warm Japanese minimalism. Something like these two styles combined:

from myparadissi.com muji!


They both have beautiful wood and textiles in common, as well as plants and green things. They both feel warm and welcoming to me.

I want to make my house feel like this but I don’t really know where to start!


The one real thing I did do this weekend, that I’ve been wanting to do as soon as the weather was warm enough, was plant a garden! Yellow heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and plum tomatoes, lettuce, basil, and mint. I planted them all together in a leftover wine box on my fire escape. I don’t know if they’ll grow well together, or if I should have potted some of them separately, but I dreamed of eating home grown salads this summer, and I hope my plan will work! I want to add on more pots of lettuce, radishes, peppers, maybe in window planters, and several indoor trays of microgreens.

The summer is coming, and the surprise will be here at the very end of this year. I have to prepare for it and make our apartment into a welcoming, warm, loving home. I have so many ideas that I want to try and little by little, I will.



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