Our Newlywed Apartment

I got married in June of 2014 and my husband and I moved into an 800 square foot apartment (one bedroom, one bath, serious lack of storage space and beige everything). It wasn’t my first apartment since I spent four years away at college getting a degree in English, but it was the first apartment where I got to pick every decoration out myself. And by myself I mean with my husband, because he actually has great taste and works at a furniture store that receives overstock items from places like Pottery Barn and West Elm. 

The apartment is far from my “dream home,” but I love that we have a place of our own and that we’ve been able to make so many memories and make our first big decisions as a couple here. It’s not magazine-worthy or professionally decorated, but I’d love to get some feedback and be able to share our space here. 

The navy pillows are made from Dwell Studio’s Ming Dragon fabric and they required a lot of patience on the part of my grandma because I’m not anywhere even close to being a seamstress. The black-and-white prints above the couch were my solution for decorating a big empty wall on a small budget. I bought poster frames for $10 a piece and tried to artistically crop a couple of wedding photos. The third photo was taken at my husband’s great-grandparents’ old farm in Idaho, so it has sentimental value. 

I would have loved to paint the walls white or light gray since they’re north-facing and we don’t get a lot of sun, but since we’re renting we would have had to re-paint everything the original color when we moved out and it wouldn’t have been worth it.

The large decorative jars, along with the trio of masks hanging on the wall, were purchased by my husband while he was living in Guatemala on a two-year church mission. 

This is an old photo taken shortly after we moved in and we’ve replaced some things since then (namely the “coffee table” that I bought at a thrift store and re-painted and the “rug” that was actually a blanket we bought in Mexico on our honeymoon), but it does show our “tv stand.” My husband found a dresser on an amazing clearance sale and drilled holes in the back for cords to run through. He also removed the back of one of the drawers so our cable box could fit inside.

The kitchen is one of my favorite spaces. It’s small, so we picked out this counter-height table and my parents gave it to us as our wedding gift. The canvas on the wall is by Lindsay Letters and the runner is from Guatemala.

I’ve done my best to decorate with things we already have. The blue jar was made by my grandmom and is a nice sentimental piece since she passed away before I was born, the gold letters are from our wedding reception, the silhouette is from a trip to Disneyland with my family right before we got engaged, and I did the oil painting in an art class in high school. 

The bathroom is definitely the hardest space of our apartment to decorate/photograph. I painted the ombre and gold leaf canvas in about 5 minutes to add a little color and the botanical prints visible in the mirror were free art I found online. 

The bedroom is the least-finished of all our spaces (probably because nobody ever really sees it and it also corrals all the stuff we don’t have storage space for anywhere else). This was before we had nightstands.

This is obviously from Christmas . . . but it shows our new throw pillows. 

And this is definitely the worst photo of all since I snapped it on my phone at night . . . but here’s our balcony. I found the table at a thrift store and painted it green. The rug and chairs were on a huge clearance at Target. I put everything together quickly one night before my husband got home from work to surprise him. Not perfect or elegant, but we love it.

We’re so excited to have our own house at some point (and are actually moving out of our apartment next month and in the process of searching for one), but I’m so happy with what we’ve been able to do in this little space. 

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19 Comments

  1. 1

    How pretty! You’ve done a great job! I love how all the colors work well together and flow from room to room. Our first apartment was definitely not that nicely done. Also, I ADORE your headboard and lettering from the bedroom!

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    What a lovely story! You have chosen so wisely with regards to your furniture pieces…good bones to build from. these are things that can move easily to home to home. The new coffee table is great and I love the side table. It seems classic to me and so functional. The poster idea is brilliant! So personal and so perfect for the space! Thanks for sharing your home Kaylee.

    • 6

      Thank you Nancy! That was our goal. We knew we wouldn’t stay in an apartment forever and I didn’t want to make it TOO trendy/young because we need to have everything transition to a house when we buy one.

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    Your apt is beautiful! I especially enjoyed reading the descriptions you gave of the histories of your pieces, even if they were just printed offline – I do that! Everything flows together so well even though they’re from different time periods and countries. Great work making what you have work for you to create a beautiful space for you and your husband. I really enjoyed reading your post. Thanks for sharing! You’ve inspired me to want to write a similar post with all the stories in my home – however, the keyword is “want”. Maybe in 18 years when my kids are grown and I have 3 seconds to myself to think, hah!!

    • 10

      I’m definitely trying to enjoy our pre-children phase since I do have plenty of time to myself! My husband works 40+ hours a week and goes to school full-time, so I definitely have free time. I’d love to read about the stories in your home so I hope you can post soon!

  6. 11

    I loved viewing your adorable apartment. You have a great sense of style. Congrats on your marriage and all the best on your house hunt! I can’t wait to see what you choose 🙂

    • 12

      Thank you Nila! I really appreciate your comment! I can’t wait to see what we choose either . . . although our budget is pretty strict so I can’t guarantee it will be anything very impressive. 😉

  7. 13

    Hi Kaylee! The Dwell Studio fabric on the sofa is lovely! Have you tried a chocolate brown or darker color throw/toss pillow on that sweet armchair? That might be an alternative to try to enhance the sofa color, also. Your display of flowers add so much warmth. My husband and I also live in an apartment, so I do understand the limitations, but I really admire the way you’ve expressed yourself by using personal items to tell a story. Thank you for sharing. Such a happy home!

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    You’ve done a great job! Brings back memories of my newlywed days. 20 years, 10 moves and 4 kids later, I have learned that you can feather your nest anywhere and with any budget. I love the look in your living room, the leather sofa, colorful pillows and the gorgeous peonies. Fresh flowers are always a great choice!

  10. 18

    Kaylee,

    Your apartment is so adorable! You’ve done a wonderful job! I too remember our first apartment and all the fun of a first home together, you brought back so many memories. Thank you for opening your home and inspiring us!

    Melissa

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