About a year-and-a-half ago, I wrote a little series called Enchanted Spaces, where I talked about the rooms in my home from the perspective of different fantasy concepts. Before I could quite finish the series (or, ahem, finish my apartment, to be more accurate), my husband and I moved.
While I’ve been itching to do more with this series, we are currently renting out a room while I’m in graduate school, which, between the limited space and limited budget, has made doing a “room reveal” difficult. I was thinking, though, lately, of the importance of home, and of having a sense of space in any living situation. Fantasy literature often ends with a sense of restoration and a homecoming. Ask Dorothy, Alice, Harry, or Wendy, and they will tell you the importance of home.
And so, I wanted to share a few of the little things I’ve done to make my space a little more homey. The room isn’t finished (and with my husbands tech equipment, the dog stuff, and the stuff I didn’t want to put into storage, I don’t know if it will ever be quite where I want it) but I am happy with the direction it’s headed. I’ve also enjoyed finding creative solutions to both create more space and more storage.
One of the choices we made, which was originally out of necessity, was placing our mattress on the ground. We have a dog who has some spinal issues and who also loves to snuggle with us. Or rather I should say, he cries all night long when he can’t snuggle with us. So, we wanted to make sure our bed was accessible. We placed our mattress on a slatted frame that had come with our old bed so that it could breathe, and added a little ramp for the dog. While this did mean sacrificing under-the-bed space, it also made the small room look a LOT more spacious. By placing the bed under the window with curtains, we made the illusion of a “frame” above the bed.
The second thing we did was to invest in curtains to hide our storage. While I’m all about minimizing and keeping belongings in the open, we had brought many belongings with us, such as some of my grandma’s quilts, my memory box, and my husband’s record collection as well as everyday needed tools, electronics, and toilitries, that we had placed on a tall metal industrial bookshelf. It was a mishmash of boxes and the clutter was distracting to me. So, I purchased two mustard/camel colored curtain panels from World Market and a set of curtain hooks, which fit perfectly over the top of the metal bookshelf. After the holidays last year, a bunch of garlands were on sale at Target, and I purchased the silver and gold one in the picture above for about five dollars. It hung perfectly over the top shelf. Now our stuff is accessible and organized, but not adding to the clutter. And bonus: since I didn’t need the curtain ties for the shelf, I tied them on the neutral curtains over our bed to, ahem, “tie” everything together.
The best investment I have ever made in terms of furniture has definitely been a series of unfinished pine crates from Michaels. I purchased these several years ago, and we have used them in so many different configurations and for so many different uses. We currently are using two as our bedside tables, two at the foot of our bed to stop our dog from jumping off and for extra storage, and two more stacked as a little bookshelf. I’m all about modular furniture because it can be reconfigured as living situations and needs change.
While I did purchase the set of curtains, the lamp, a letter box for mail, and a new set of fair-trade sheets (as the old ones had a huge hole in them), I really wanted to use what we had available to us. The homeowners had kindly lent us several pieces of furniture when we moved in. Since I was needing a space to study, I also borrowed the corner chair, which was already in the home and matched the room’s color scheme. While I may eventually replace it with a compact desk and compact office chair, this works just fine for now. I brought a small box of neutral decor with me, so that I could change out items without having to worry about a color scheme and I’ve also used my jewelry as decor.
And then finally, I wanted to add some pop. My sister helped me with this. She got me the two mustard-yellow pillows for Christmas, which was just what I needed to finish off the look without adding more clutter.
So that’s it for now. It’s still small, packed, and kind of cluttery, but I am loving finding creative solutions to make the space not only work, but feel like home.