Budget Living

01Aug08

I guess I should call this post “the before shots”. I am partially happy with how my apartment looks, but right now I lack the funds to turn it into something worthy of the pages of Domino Magazine. Here are a few photos of my place, and while I can’t say that it’s totally “budget beautiful”, I can say that it is at least budget living.

I live in a studio apartment near Washington, DC. My apartment is a studio and is approximately 580 sq. feet. This includes a kitchen that prompted my friend who lives down the hall to exclaim “son of a whore!” when she saw it, as it’s about twice the size of her own kitchen. Too bad I don’t cook! Utilities are included with my rent, which means that my only expense is one bundled bill for cable, telephone and internet. My apartment building was built in the 50’s, so it has it’s quirks, but I don’t mind since I don’t have to pay utilities. That will be one major thing I will miss when I move as I doubt I’ll find another apartment with utilities included.

When you come into my apartment, the first thing you’ll see is my “walk in closet”. There is a door there, but it’s really just a hallway to the bathroom, which means I need to keep it neat. I rarely do.

Next up is the bathroom. I got this shower curtain (the image is of a girl reading a book in the bath) at Target a few years ago.


Hanging above my toilet is actually one of the more expensive pieces in my apartment, I loved this print so I had it framed. It hangs above my toilet.

Next you come into the main living area of the apartment. You’ll first see my new bed, which my father made. As you’ll see, he’s made a lot of my furniture. He only charged me for materials (it’s made out of oak) so this was a definite deal. Also a deal was the cute comforter on the bed, I got it on sale at Target for $37. My father made the nightstand for me out of leftover wood, so that was free. The lamp was on sale at Target for $19. The cats are the most expensive thing in the photo, coming in at about $200 for the pair, they were both adopted from animal shelters.


Next you see my TV and fouton. A hotel down the street from where I work was closing for renovations when I moved in, so the TV was a deal at $89. The TV stand is from Ikea. The lazy Susan the TV is sitting on was made by my father. The fouton was about $200. I had specific dementions for it, as when I first moved to DC, I was sleeping in my best friend’s living room, so she told me about how large of a fouton she could accomdate, so that’s what I got. I’m looking to add a large art piece to the wall. The small portraits are from Etsy.

This piece of furniture is where my cats do their business. Again, my Dad built this out of me, he saw something in a catalog and duplicated it. There are two litter boxes in there, and the center cabinet holds supplies. Unfortunately this does not help in concealing the smell, but at least it does put their boxes out of sight, as they are facing the wall. Other things you might notice in the photo: a tart burner. I love buring Yankee Candle tarts, and I got that on sale for $14. Also, a stuffed Mario. I love Mario and all the Nintendo games. My boyfriend won him for me at Busch Gardens.

This is my “dining room” The table and chairs are from Ikea, and total less than $100. The Hello Kitty placemats are from Target and were about $10. The bookcase my Dad saved from the dump, and painted it. The cabinet my father also built for me.

Lastly is my fridge. I always love looking to see what people have on their fridges, so here’s mine. I have a quote from Ayn Rand via Real Simple magazine about using money wisely, magnets from Korea of women in traditional dress, Kids in the Hall magnetic poetry, a quote from a Lululemon ad a silly photo of a Boston Terrier dressed in work-out gear and a magnet that a friend bought for me, unknowing that I bought a sign for my mother in Paris with the exact saying: Attention Chat Lunatique!

I know it’s easy for me to get furniture because I just find photos of things I like and my father will replicate it. Not everyone has a handy dad like I do, but I am still all about a bargain. Both my parents and my boyfriends parents are all about the deal, they get furniture from yard sales and clothes from thrift stores. I think this is instilled in both of us (well, me more than him) and we both get a special sense of satisfaction in finding something lovely for less.

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