Furnishing and decorating an apartment is no walk in the park. And if you're on a tight budget, the task is even harder. Before you pull out your hair or start memorizing IKEA's inventory, check out these resources for extremely affordable (even free) home shopping. Some require trips to a weekend flea market, others just a walk around the corner. Either way, you'll find low-cost (or free!), unique pieces that you won't see anywhere in the big-name, big-budget catalogs — and we mean that in a good way. Did we mention the "free" part?
Hey, girl, the time has finally come for your first apartment — congrats! While being granted your new set of keys is exciting (just don't lose them!), the list of essentials can be rather overwhelming. Making style the main priority (as always), we set out to prove that you can do it on a budget. Sticking with necessities — like plates that aren't paper — we found you ways to save without sacrificing style. And for the times when only the best will do? Well, we found those options, too. Sure, welcome the hand-me-downs, but with a little savvy shopping and this guide, you can furnish your apartment with enough cash to spare for that security deposit.
For a lot of you, a hefty portion of your paycheck goes to rent, according to a SavvySugar survey. In this flagging economy, it's hard to put forward such a big chunk of cash when you're struggling to save. If the high rental prices are stressing you out, here are a few options you should consider in order to lower your rent. These suggestions might be common sense for most, but it's always good to get a savvy refresher!
Located in the heart of Manhattan is an uptown apartment with a downtown vibe — what one could call the best of both worlds. City living at its finest, this apartment has crisp white walls that are the perfect palette for designer accents, pops of color, and one-of-a-kind furniture. The pad also features an open floor plan and stainless-steel kitchenware, making this apartment truly New York. Take a tour of this $8 million loft, and get inspired by all the design and detail this Upper East Side property boasts.
Karlie Kloss is officially a New Yorker. The 20-year-old closed the deal on her first Big Apple apartment — a $1.975 million two-bedroom pad in the West Village — earlier this month.
The multilevel home has a private front garden that leads into a sunken living room. There's a den down a short flight of stairs, and the eat-in kitchen, filled with marble counters and a French door refrigerator, is a few steps above the living room.
Upstairs, there are two bedrooms — one of which boasts a 20-foot stretch of custom closet space and a balcony overlooking the garden — and a glass-tiled bathroom.
Kloss told Page Six she was buying the home in September. "It's beautiful," she said. "I can't wait to have a home in the city, and finally feel at home. It's not easy to do. I've been back and forth between St. Louis and New York for the past five years."
We can't wait to see what she does with the place. A look at the listing photos here in the gallery.
As a renter, it's important to realize that your landlord will probably raise your rent year-to-year due to inflation, rising market value, or higher demand. However, you can always try to negotiate your lease, especially after you've received notice that your landlord plans to raise prices. No need to panic or immediately make plans to move out. There are a lot of factors in your favor to help persuade your landlord. Try out these tips.
Be a trustworthy tenant
If you've paid your rent on time, had no bounced checks, and didn't cause any damage or trouble during your lease, your landlord will probably be more willing to keep you around than take a gamble on a new tenant. Plus, it's an expense for him to repaint, clean, and repair the apartment for a new tenant.
Check out the supply and demand
Chances are if there are several empty apartments in your complex or around your neighborhood, you'll have more authority to veto the rent increase. Look around to see how many apartments are empty in the complex or in your areal. Take note of it, and mention this to your landlord.
Don't despair at your tiny apartment space, there are ways to dress it up and make it seem larger than life. After all, not all of us can live big in penthouses and mansions. Janet Lee, a serial small space nester, shared some unique "out-of-the-box" décor ideas, which she describes as being high style yet gentle on pocketbooks. Here are her top five ideas to help you put a personal touch on your small, cozy space.
You can find more decorating ideas at her design blog, Living in a Nutshell.
Photos courtesy of Aimee Herring
In February, I took a trip to my old stomping grounds of New Orleans and visited artist Hayley Gaberlavage, whose work I featured on Casa in September. I met Hayley through another NOLA artist, Amanda Stone Talley, and both, with their sweet Southern hearts and innate, nonpareil style, were instant friend crushes.
Hayley lives on the coolest block of Magazine Street, one of the most vibrant, artistic stretches of the city. Hayley's home, a one-bedroom apartment with an expansive balcony, also doubles as her studio, so she keeps it looking sharp for art enthusiasts like me who hope to drop by. Hayley is admittedly a midcentury modern and Danish design enthusiast. So in addition to her outstanding landscapes, abstracts, and figurative paintings spattering the white, gallery-style walls, the interiors are also punctuated with crave-worthy furniture that's she has perfectly and minimally arranged. The result is a bright and cozy place to sit and chat about art over a key lime soda on a hot New Orleans day.
Let me take you on the full tour!
About five years ago or so, I met Diego Garcia, the lead singer of the band Elefant, at some shows in New Orleans. In full rock star style, he was taking tequila shots in his tour bus with an array of pretty young things and walking barefoot in front of the Decatur Street House of Blues; I got the feeling that he couldn't put up this act for much longer. It turns out that the band called it quits it last year, and now Garcia devotes his musical talents to an eponymous solo act — his new album is due out April 5.
Further proof that the musician has settled down is a new Vogue.com tour of Garcia's luxurious Upper East Side Manhattan apartment, which he shares with his bombshell Brazilian fashion designer wife Laura, their adorable baby girl Georgiana, and their French bulldog Alaïa. Instead of collecting bar stamps, it seems the singer has picked up a passion for curating a personal art collection. His home's interiors are impeccably outfitted with Milo Baughman chairs, Karl Springer poufs, a Hope Atherton painting, a Donald Baechler piece, and miles of art books. It's restrained, eclectic, worldly, and absolutely envy inducing.
Since it's so grandly minimal, recreating the look of the cool couple's living room might require a second mortgage, but it can't hurt to try. Click to learn how to get the look!
Sometimes I think my most tragic flaw is that I'm American. No matter how hard I try, I'll never be as innately chic as our European friends, and I'm always reassured of that when I get a glimpse of a home on the other side of the pond. I've just discovered the most breathtaking Barcelona apartment, which has all the elements of a home that induces envy: killer architectural details, a stately art collection, remarkably unique décor, and plush, curl-up-in-a-ball sofas. Come along for the tour.