*This post was updated on July 1st, 2019.
I think in some rare shape of form some young girls dream of an independent life before her wedding. If I described you, then, you are a minority, girlfriend. And that is not a bad thing. Ever since I was a child, I dreamt of my own home and a beautiful garden to go with it. My parents rented all through my childhood so at the time, I would say to myself that one day I will get married and have a beautiful home of myself or (I liked options) I would just get a job and buy a home for myself and my family. Yes, ambitious, but I think it showed the initial glimmer of my fiercely independent nature.
Today, I thought I would take you on personal journey of home décor through the decades. It will show you how my style evolved and ask questions to ask yourself when you are deciding on a décor of your home (at any age).
My College Apartment
That was my real first apartment. I had saved enough money through the jobs I worked during my teenage years. It was a one-bedroom apartment with a loft and it was right on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, California, USA. I shared that apartment with an Afghani girl and we both decorated the apartment ourselves. Since it was a temporary residence and we were college students on a budget, most of our important furniture was borrowed from family or bought second hand. Trust me, if you walked into our clean apartment (minus the kitchen) it would have made no sense since there was no rhyme or reason to the décor. My roommate did buy those mirror frames from Ikea and a live plant that grew more spider webs then leaves and that beautified the apartment of some sort. But, literally we spent miniscule amount because we just used it to sleep in.
Advice: If you are moving away from home for college, you will eventually need an apartment (not a dorm room) to live in. I recommend keep the décor to a minimum and invest in some organizational containers for your clothes, shoes, books, desk, etc., instead. Honestly, we rarely cooked, so I would say get cheap kitchenware as well. The only thing would be to keep the apartment looking clean and organized so your mind doesn’t get into a flurry every time you come in. That’s the last thing a college student wants to experience.
My 20’s Apartment:
After college, I got a job real close to my parents’ home so I lived and commuted from there. However, I moved to Fremont, California, USA when I got another job as a teacher in a local school. One mistake I made during the apartment hunting phase was, well, I didn’t hunt very much, and signed the lease for the first apartment I saw. Now, it wasn’t a disaster, in fact it was a beautiful and spacious unit, however, there were little things I noticed afterwards that were kind of inconvenient. For example: the shower head was too low and I had to bend my knees to wash my hair. The materials used in the apartment weren’t of great quality either. The balcony was right underneath a big tree so each morning I would wake up to a dump of leaves in the balcony. However, the bedroom was swoon worthy. It had a large office space, a huge closet, and ta..da.. a glass door to the leaf-filled balcony.
During this phase, I had just discovered Etsy and was impressed with the whole Bohemian-chic vibe. I bought a ton of good quality (because I could afford it now) furniture and décor. I even got my grandmother’s crochet table coverlets out. I decorated my entire apartment to my taste with little details that reflected my personality. I had calendar photos of Paris and lighthouses framed in the hallway; actual photos of exotic doorways, and many DIY projects all for the world to see. Some of the DIY projects I did were mod podge-ing a wooden chair with travel sites; painted shelves with dry leaves (from the balcony) glued on them; a paper woven box for change and keys; and my favorite a spider-web of string across the office ceiling with photographs of my nieces and me. I opted not to have plants, well, because I kill them. My most expensive purchase was these pair of painted kites I commissioned and they totally changed the look of the bedroom. I had them match my bed’s comforter and pillow and they really pulled the soft vibe together. Those weren’t bohemian, but they were super artsy.
Advice: This is your first apartment as an independent woman so invest in some key pieces that can eventually go to your house, whenever you are ready to purchase one. I would advise to take your time and really think about what you want to include and what you can omit. I like having a theme around the house, so I thought bohemian-chic whenever I purchased something for my home. So you do the same-just think of a theme. It can be classic, modern, bohemian or artsy, and even an eclectic mix, just don’t make it a furniture showroom.
My 30’s Room:
After I left that job, I moved back home for personal reasons. Now, instead of a whole apartment, I have a small room and space is of concern. I experimented with different looks, but I am finally satisfied with the look of it currently. I have a small library which has books from my college days to the books I read today. I have covered that library with sheer curtains to give the room a more spacious feel. The drawers and closet doors are covered with pictures. I wouldn’t recommend covering your closet doors with pictures, but I had a ton of pictures from my young days and I wanted them as a constant reminder of all the fun times. I have one clock on one wall and a Quran verse painting on the other and that’s it. I haven’t invested in a nice bed set yet, but that is on my agenda. Nothing says comfort and luxury like a made-up bed with good quality bedding.
Advice: After your wedding, I think it is too expensive to scrap what you built so just add to what you already have. Maybe add plants, update your photo frames, be more selective of travel décor you buy and their locations in the apartment or room, etc. Basically, this space should be current to where you are in whole life.