Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Decorating A Studio Apartment

Decorating an apartment from scratch on a very limited budget  in less than a weeks time is very difficult, to say the least. We didn't get much accomplished in the way of making it look pretty, but it was a good start.
My daughter's possessions consisted of a dresser, a frying pan, a hand blender, a lamp and her clothing when she moved a few weeks ago. She had a total of about 15 boxes, most of which were clothing, shoes and accessories.
She and I had the daunting task of making decisions from everything from big things such as a bed and furniture, and little things such as sponges and cleaning products. Here's the direction of where her apartment will end up. Most of the large items have been purchased

A bouquet of flowers from her dad brightened the place up when stuff was everywhere in the apartment.

Baskets from Target will keep this cabinet in her Dining Room organized. The baskets hold office supplies, envelopes and hardware.

Third times a charm was true for the placement of the bed. It was originally on the opposite wall and the tv(should she ever get one), was going to be placed in the niche. My daughter chose a $4.99 tulle curtain panel from Ikea to create a little drama. She plans to install some Christmas lights at the top of the inside of the niche and possibly paint the back wall gray. I was thinking today that a shimmery silver/gray curtain would look good on the wall behind the bed, as well. The small pillows still need covers and they will be a brighter turquoise. I'm so glad we were able to make this part of her apartment pretty.

The bedcover and the down pillows and white covers were found at Ikea for a really great price.

Since she hadn't  purchased a  table for the Dining Room, we ate sitting on the bucket at this little table. The Noresund table from Ikea was only $19.99. My daughter picked out a $2.00 place mat from Target for a little pop of color on top. Two slipcovered Tullsta chairs from Ikea will eventually flank the table on the other side of the room and I will make a cushioned slip cover for the bucket for extra seating and storage.

The kitchen is fairly large for a studio apartment. My daughter has plans to make a skirt to cover what's under the sink. She also has a space like that under the vanity in the hallway.

Now for the part we didn't get to.... I hate that we didn't get past this and am hoping my daughter continues to make her apartment pretty. The little piece of furniture was left behind from the last tenant and I'm thinking it could be primed, then painted a bright turquoise. White curtains hung high above the window will brighten and soften up the room. She definitely needs a storage bench at the end of her bed to give more seating and a place to store the items in the boxes in the Dining Room.  It's hard to believe we made a lot of progress, but when I got there, you could barely walk through the apartment because the floor was covered with boxes.  All the boxes and pieces of wood in the doorway is the table set she purchased about an hour before my rental car had to be turned in. That was soooooo much fun bringing up to the apartment!

Most of her clothes fit in the main closet. It's a good thing she has a huge dresser, as well.

The entry closet(a few steps away from the main closet), still had a few feet of hanging space left, but had to hold the vacuum cleaner and a folding cart. We added a 12" deep melamine shelf along the back to give her more storage space. Wish I could have organized this closet before I left.
I can't tell you how many trips we made up the stairs to the apartment with bags and boxes of stuff. Here is the list of trips we made to stores:
Ikea: 3 
Walmart: 2 (2 different ones)
Target: 3 (3 different Targets)
Home Depot: 2
HomeGoods: 1
Doesn't sound very difficult when put so simply on a list, but imagine each trip with LA traffic and each trip represents a trunk/car full of stuff and numerous trips up and down a flight of stairs. 
After bringing up each trunk full of stuff to the apartment, all of the things had to be put away and set up. What a job! It took working from early morning until late at night setting things up.
Had we more time and if my daughter had internet access, I would have loved to utilize Craigslist to find some vintage pieces...would have loved to have had time to go to a few thrift stores, as well.
I developed a stiff neck on about the third day there from lugging all the stuff around, but I couldn't let that stop me. By the time I got home, my neck was so bad a visit to the chiropractor for some relief was in order.  

One good thing that came from all the hard work was that, despite eating FOUR "Double Double" burgers from In & Out and eating some desserts and sweet tea at Starbucks, I lost 4 more pounds! Gotta love that!
Hope you enjoyed the tour!


  1. Pam, the bed looks wonderful and that kitchen has loads of potential. I know she was so happy to have your help. My neck/back and every thing else would have been out too. hugs, olive

  2. This brings back many fond memories!

    My son lives in LA -- is an instructor at NYFA. It's a fun place if you are young.

  3. Her little apartment is looking so great! Love the bed in the niche and she is off to a good start...especially with those flowers from dad. So sweet! :-)
    P.S. Belated happy birthday wishes!

  4. Pam, it is looking so good! She is one lucky girl to have a momma like you!

  5. Hi Pam, new follower on GFC and Networked Blog, hope you'll follow back.
    Plus I wanted to thank you for a fond memory of moving in my first apt. I had all of my bedroom furniture and a radio, that's it. The next week my mom showed up with 2 swivel rockers and a set of pots and pans. Then close friends brought livingroom furniture and a dinette set! My mom was The Thrifing Queen of our city, and she taught me well. On my next pay check, I spent Saturday morning with mom at yard sales and actually found all my other essentials including dishes. I especially love the touch of dad's flowers; just what every girl needs. Hope you'll stop by my Frugal Treasures party.

  6. Oh wow, tons of work, but she will so love it when it is all put together. Big for a bachelor apt., the one I had in LA years ago was barely big enough for the bed. lol Your inspiration board is wonderful. I know she appreciated all your hard work. Hugs, Marty

  7. That was a great idea to put the bed in the niche w/the curtains. The lights will make it even more dreamier. I love that idea! You have been quite busy lately haven't you. How fun to be able to go to LA during the awards and even more fun that you have daughters to help decorate their apartments. Sorry to hear you've also had a rough spell but I know it was worth it. Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful adventures!

  8. It looks like y'all made a lot of progress. I so want to go back to CA so I can try In & Out! Yay on the 4 lbs!!

  9. It's just darling Pam. You got a lot accomplished in that time.

  10. Looks like you made the most of your time and got a ton accomplished. I'm sure it was a really special time to share with your daughter too, she must be really excited to have her own place.

  11. Hey Pam- Looks like you got a workout! LA traffic is the worst! I think it's wonderful that you helped her out so much. A mother's love has no boundaries!
    Your idea for another layer of fabric behind her bed sounds great too! I've never been to an Ikea but their prices and products seem very reasonable!
    Don't fret about her organizing, eventually she will do it and make you proud!

  12. Really love this!!! brings back memories from when I first moved out :)
    Hope you have a great week


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