A friend recently told me that what she loves about coming to my apartment is that it feels truly livable. She can kick off her shoes, lay on the couch, and not have to worry about touching things without permission. It’s a balance between the too-lived-in-totally-messy and the picture-perfect-mom-said-not-to-go-in-there lifestyles. After doing a more thorough walk through of the apartment, here are a few other ways we make a rented space feel like home (click here for part one).
Books on Books on Books
We don’t have an extensive library but we do have a decent amount of books that we’ve collected over the years. J has his plays, M has his fantasy novels, and I am a sucker for the latest “it” book, anything Rumi, and of course a little self-improvement. Having even just a small collection of books on display is an easy upgrade. They make for great conversation starters and for wonderful (or awkward) reminders about who you were when you read each chapter.
This is my little collection, placed on a shelf right next to our bedroom window. We don’t have a central place for all the books, which I also love, because the whole place doesn’t feel like a library. It gives the whole apartment character without feeling studious in any way. I move them around and group them together based on theme, size, and color in order to give more depth to the space.
Throw Pillows + Cozy Blankets
These can be annoying when you have a bunch of people piling onto your couch, but generally throw pillows and blankets make a living room much more inviting. We’ve all been guilty of napping on the couch outside, and plenty of our friends have spent the night sprawled out on the cushions. We like big throw pillows that can double for “butt pillows” as I call them – perfect for when we have big gatherings and people who don’t want to sit on the bare floor. Always go for comfy over decor – what good is a throw pillow if it literally gets thrown to the side when people are on the couch?
No Surface Off Limits
I’m a chronic over decorator. There isn’t really a bare space on any of our walls. And if there is, it isn’t there for long. White walls remind me of boring offices or hospitals, neither of which brings back particularly exiting memories.
The same is for the surfaces in our apartment. If there’s an end table it needs to have something on it or it ends up being a collecting area for crap. I purposely have books, vases, candles, or other trinkets on most of our surfaces because if there isn’t something there I’ll abuse it. I’ll let the space collect junk mail, or all the crap inside my purse when I’m switching bags, or anything really. It might sound cluttered, but this strategy actually prevents clutter in our home.
With the way life is in NYC, it is likely that we will be renting for a while longer. But I refuse to let this mean that we settle for a boring, cookie cutter home. Just because you’re renting doesn’t mean you’re 100% limited in the ways you can personalize your space.