Ever since I was a little girl, my dream was to live in the West Village. I’ve always thought that the West Village was so charming with its old preserved buildings, cobbled stone streets and all the amazing restaurants. For two years, I got my wish; I lived in a late 1800’s historic building on Hudson Street. There were absolutely no amenities and it was really old but I loved it. It’s a little ironic that even though I don’t live there anymore, I still wanted to share how I decorated my apartment on a shoe string budget.
It was the first time in my life I lived by myself so I had to buy everything! It was a daunting task because I needed everything from a couch to forks and knives. I think my total budget was $3,000 which if you have ever bought furniture before doesn’t get you very far. I did a lot of research before I bought everything. Now, don’t judge me but to start, I created a mood board on Pinterest to get an overall idea of how I wanted to decorate like mood, colors, and style. From there, I scoured the internet and went to a bunch of stores to find the pieces that I liked. I went to flea markets and online discount sites to buy cheaper versions of what I was looking for.
I bought the essentials first like my couch. I didn’t have a proper table, chair, or coffee table for 6 months. I knew I wanted the décor to be based on 2 words: boho and wanderlust. If you walked into my apartment you would get the sense of a traveler and because I had so many knick knacks from my travels, it was the perfect theme. I also wanted my apartment to have a calming feeling so I picked a grey couch from West Elm. I told them it was my first apartment which was true and they gave me a 10% discount yay! The couch ended up being a little under a $1K. I didn’t get it for another 3 weeks!
When I was financially ready to buy the second round of furniture e.g. desk, chair, and coffee table, I had to be creative. Since I was on a budget, I couldn’t just walk into a store and buy what I wanted. Through Etsy, I found someone in North Carolina who makes desks from reclaimed wood. I loved the Eames styled chairs but since I couldn’t afford the real one, I found one on Amazon; with Amazon Prime, it shipped for free. I was on the hunt for a vintage 1920’s steamer trunk. In the city, I found ones for $350+. I went to the Elephant’s Trunk Country Flea Market in CT (read here) and found one that still had the leather straps in tact and the lovely man asked for $100. I found this rug made from recycled fabric from a boho store in Maine. The Moroccan pouf was also purchased from Amazon. Before I knew it, my apartment was coming together.
I like to decorate with photos that I’ve taken on my travels. It reminds me of all the wonderful places I’ve been. I chose this one taken in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. Every evening, the whole town goes to the beach to watch the sunset and there’s always surfers catching the last waves of the day. Every time I look at it, it reminds me of that magical trip. I also believe decorating my apartment with things that I’ve brought back from my travels makes my place look special and personal. I didn’t live in the newest or fanciest apartment in the city but it was such a cozy place. I absolutely loved living in that apartment and I’m so proud that I didn’t spend all of my money to decorate it. If there’s one piece of advice I could give, it’s to set a budget that’s realistic to your finances and seek out affordable versions of things that you want to buy.
1. Couch: West Elm ($900) | 2. Photo: Taken by moi, framed at Michael’s (approx. $100) | 3. Blanket: Souk in Marrakech ($40) | 4. Vintage steamer trunk: flea market ($100) | 5. Rug: Mexicali Blues in Maine ($26) | 6. Moroccan pouf: Amazon ($100) | 7. Chair: Amazon ($100) | 8. Desk: Etsy ($250)
Large cork board from The Container Store ($39.99) to post dreams, goals, and travel momentos
My teeny tiny kitchen | Essentials: Nespresso machine and Kitchen aid mixer
I always buy fresh flowers for the apartment