How I flipped our fugly 70’s apartment to Boho Chic!
It’s taken me over five months, but I’ve finally gotten the house we’re renting (temporarily) decorated and all my furniture arranged in just the right way! We’ve been putting up with very small apartments up until now. I’ve been shoving things where they fit so I haven’t been able to actually go for a theme and properly decorate until now.
I’ve picked up a bad habit of ogling furniture that I know darn well won’t fit in my car to take home. I usually end up falling in love with something that cannot come home no matter how great of a Tetris master I am due to wrestling waaaayyy too many oversized items into sedans and down narrow staircases into basement apartments.
I’m so happy we finally have an entire house to spread our furniture around in! This is going to be a tour of my favorite rooms plus some bonus tips are thrown in on how to temporarily decorate an apartment while keeping your landlord happy.
I put this room together with the intention of using it as my main workspace for writing and editing. To be completely honest, I usually end up in my warm bed with my laptop instead of sitting down at the desktop. This really should be where I spend the most time considering how much I write….. The gorgeous carved daybed is the newest addition to the office; I’d been eyeing this for months on end before finally pulling the trigger and buying it.
I love World Market furniture to death, but not their prices. If you ever find yourself tempted by their furniture, do yourself a favor and sign up for their e-newsletter. Every few months they put out 40% furniture coupons, that’s how I snagged this piece at a reasonable price.
This area is definitely still a work in progress. I’m playing a balancing game because
I also swapped out the old curtains with gauzy drapes to break up all the white walls and moved our huge red area rug in as well. I’m still hunting artsy stuff or maybe a wall hanging to help fill up the walls but haven’t found the perfect piece yet.
The majority of our furniture already perfectly matched the color palette of this room which was serendipitous. I did repaint the side table by the bed and the jewelry stand, but I knew they needed a paint job even before the move happened.
It seems like most people don’t realize how easy it is to slap a fresh coat of paint on a piece of furniture instead of hunting down something brand new to match a new living space. Don’t get me wrong, I love going on a good furniture hunt. It gives me a bulletproof excuse to visit some awesome stores in Portland that I otherwise have no reason to drive up to.
Paint and some snazzy new handles or drawer pulls are a much cheaper and easier fix, and you can control exactly how it will look instead of crossing your fingers that you’ll find a piece with the right look.
These antique diamond framed paintings are an old estate sale find, I was pleasantly surprised by how perfectly they match the colors of this room. Unfortunately, the humongous built in closet (not pictured here) takes up 1/3 of my wall space so I haven’t been able to hang much stuff. But I’ll happily trade wall space for extra clothing storage. I’ve been contemplating using decals on the sliding doors to jazz things up a bit; I just have to track some down.
Temporary decals are a great decorating tool for renters since you can stick them on almost any surface and remove it without a trace when it comes to moving out. Unfortunately, it is tough to find unique decals.
Whenever I browse the decal section in any store I tend to see that half are religious sayings and the other half are cliché quotes like “Live, Laugh, Love” or “Follow Your Heart”.
The retail industry has played sayings of that ilk to death and they just seem cringy to me. I really don’t want to plaster them all over my wall. I’d rather have something quirky than another cookie cutter saying.
How to incorporate geeky stuff into your decor
My fiancé is a diehard Bleach fan and bought a replica of a character’s Zanpakutō (a.k.a a sword for non-anime nerds). I mounted it above this cabinet with cast iron arrowhead hooks from Hobby Lobby and I think it actually ties into my color scheme nicely without yelling “Hey look! Geeky memorabilia here!”.
I have a ton of merchandise I’ve bought from comic cons that I still need to figure out how to artfully display here in the house. My desk at work is getting pretty full!
The Sitting Area
I’ve never had a family room design fall together this nicely before! This couch is in the top tier of favorite furniture pieces that I’ve brought home. I immensely prefer the vintage look over the modern puffy couches floating around box stores nowadays, and this piece only cost me $40.00 as opposed to something new priced $300.00+.
The pillows were originally sold by Ikea but I fished them out of the goodwill bins for less than a dollar, and who doesn’t need a couple stag beetles in their life?
My Wannabe Curiosity Collection Table
The table is an old family piece that came to live with us a few years ago. I’ve slowly been filling it up with
This room is a prime example of why Halloween clearance is my favorite sale of the entire year. The paint choices in here scream 70’s and sadly there’s not much I can do to change that. But what I can do, is indulge in displaying my Halloween decorations! That’s how I transformed these 70’s orange vibes into
It’s unfortunately empty at the moment, but the cage hanging above the bathtub is for storing bath bombs. I either need to make a LUSH run soon or get a refill of my favorite bath bomb set. I finally got over my hang up of hoarding bath bombs instead of enjoying them frequently. I used to do that with a lot of things, I’d save everything for a special occasion, instead of making every occasion fun. I do still try to break up the larger LUSH bombs so I can stretch them, but I’ve really improved!
I found the maple leaf garlands at Dollar Tree; I used them to cover up the raw edges and sloppy painting on the mirror. A different way to temporarily revamp a mirror with ugly raw edges like this is to use velcro to attach framing to mimic an upscale look. I tracked down that tip here.
I also bought some black and white floral contact paper from Dollar Tree to line the inside of a small cabinet above the sink and the wooden light fixture up top. Contact paper is a super easy way to jazz things up in a rental!
I’ve recently come down with an interior design competition show addiction which may be part of my recent fixation on primping up the house. Forget winning a free vacation or $10K, I want a free townhouse to decorate to my heart’s content!
This post contains affiliate links; if you snag a deal through my link it will send some spare change my way to keep this slice of the internet up and running.
Products to easily & temporarily decorate your apartment
- 3M command hooks are your best friend!
- Contact paper to spruce up bathrooms and kitchens.
- Swap frumpy curtains out to freshen things up.
- If you plant anything use big pots you can transport to them your next place or stick to small easy to dig up varieties.
- Stained glass w
indowclings to block out unattractive views but also create an interesting view.
- Peel and stick tiles to spruce up your bathroom or kitchen.
- Marble countertop paper to jazz up your bathroom or kitchen.