A Custom Fit: Making Your Space Your Own Space

Autostraddle o.b. tampon article series
Inspired by how happy you are that ob tampons expand all around to custom-fit your body, Autostraddle’s “a custom fit” article series will tackle how to make all the other parts of your life expand/adjust all around to custom-fit your life/self. Today Laneia’s gonna teach you how to nest and make your home fit your style and personality on a budget!

Sometimes you need help with your feelings, and sometimes you need help with your space. Sometimes you need help with your feelings about your space! Today is one of those days.

Finally moving into my own place! I’m a recent college grad, so I don’t have tons of money for decorating, but I want my apartment to feel as new as I feel, ya know? How do I make my space feel a) new b) like home and c) unique, on a smaller budget? I don’t want to buy everything used, but I don’t want to keep all of my old stuff, either.

Congratulations! I just did this last year, actually — Riese and Rachel, too! — and I definitely relate to wanting a brand new living space to reflect your brand new head space. A lot of making this work on a budget involves rethinking the way everything else works.

The most important first step is getting rid of everything that has a negative vibe. If it reminds you of something angry or sad, it doesn’t need to come with you. Even if you know you could put it to good use, and even if you kinda like it — if it forces you to recall something negative, toss it. You can replace it later! Same goes for the things you’ve been holding onto out of guilt. I had a lot of shirts that fell into that category and donating them was like therapy.

Rethink How You Use What You Have

If a side table was in your bedroom before, try it out in the living room now. Arrange your books by color or topic instead of whatever method you’d been using. Do you want your TV in the kitchen? You can do that. You’re making the rules now. Feel like turning an old sarong into a curtain? Mhm, that’s a thing you can do.

Dining chairs are really versatile. They can be used as extra seating, makeshift tables or even shelving, and can usually be found reasonably priced at thrift stores or in the ‘as-is’ section of furniture stores like IKEA.

chair bought "as is" at ikea

Rethink How You Buy

Make a list of things you need — curtains, bookshelf, a whisk, etc. — then decide which of these things you could handle buying used and what you’d like to buy new. Craigslist is obviously your very good friend here, but sometimes you just don’t want to involve a third party (i.e. the previous owner) in the process. This is where thrift stores save the day! When you’re shopping at a thrift store, you don’t get to see your items in their previous environment, so everything feels closer to new. It’s kinda like rescuing a dog from the pound, except you’re rescuing a tea kettle. So now you’ve got a cute tea kettle and a neat story to tell, without the baggage.

Thrifted: owl, pony, kittens, blue bowl, candy dish, glasses, teacup, red number 1

Rethink Your Space

“I bought a house, it’s a 2-bedroom house. But I think it’s up to me how many bedrooms there are, don’t you? Hey real estate lady, this bedroom has an oven in it! This bedroom has a lot of people sitting around watching TV. This bedroom’s over in that guy’s house.”
-Mitch Hedberg

There’s a lot to be said for tradition, but just because you’ve always had a dining room table, doesn’t mean you’ve always actually needed a dining room table. Or a dining room, for that matter. When I moved into my apartment, I decided I needed an office more than I needed a dining room. When you put a desk and a whiteboard in the dining room, it becomes an office! You can combine your living room with your bedroom and use the extra space as a yoga/meditation room. You can put the dining room on the patio if you want to. Look at everything as a blank slate and figure out what’s best for you and your life. Don’t let anyone tell you how many bedrooms you have, is what I’m saying.

This dining room has an office in it

Things That Make a Space Feel Like a Home, According to Me

1. Curtains
Curtains are like blankets for your windows. You can tell them I said that.

2. Things on walls
A weird thing happens when you put things on walls: the room feels both bigger and cozier. This has something to do with drawing your eyes up and around the space in a way that empty walls can’t. But what is art? What’s worth hanging on your wall? If you want to look at it all the time, then it’s art. If you can put a frame around it, most other people will agree that it’s art, too.

This art is a dishtowel, actually. And that chest of drawers holds DVDs and video games.

3. Blanket in the living room

4. Indoor plants
Living things have living energies, and your space needs that.

5. Bathroom rug
You could use a towel, I guess, but wouldn’t you feel happier with a soft fluffy rug? That’s what she said?

6. Lamps
Some apartments come with overhead lighting and some don’t. Either way you should invest in some lamps. Overhead lighting can be harsh, but a couple of lamps or even a string of fairy lights will soften things up. Also candles!

7. Books
Glancing over at a row of books is like looking through an album of vacation photos. I remember that I’ve been there and it was nice, or it was gut-wrenching or hilarious or the best four days of my life. But there I was! I was there in all of those books.

8. Your favorite things
Consider highlighting, not just keeping, the things that make you feel happiest, no matter how unconventional or weird they might be. The half-finished clay fish on my bookshelf might look ugly to guests, but it’s proudly displayed right next to the three-legged ceramic pony and the pink glass hat, because all of those things make me feel pretty fantastic, and that’s the point.

So, now it’s your turn — how did you turn “your place” into “your home”? What’s your favorite trick for making a space feel homey and like an authentic reflection of who you are and how you like things done? How many houseplants have you accidentally killed? Let’s discuss!

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lnj has written 310 articles for us.


  1. My girlfriend and I are college students, living (together!) in a moderately crappy student apartment. It’s a 2 bedroom place, but one bedroom is “ours”, and the other one is my nest (office). We’re both kind of broke, so our big concession to decorating is a room that’s filled with Quentin Tarantino movie posters. We’ve got Inglorious Basterds, Pulp Fiction, Resivoir Dogs, Kill Bill (2), and Deathproof. When we get a Real Place, those suckers are getting framed. It definitely adds…character?…to our living space.

    • I have an older home with funny nooks and lots of fireplaces in it, so I got rid of my crappy particleboard bookshelves and now my books live in sealed fireplaces, phone wall nooks, and window shelves (I guess at some point this was a thing?). I like how it’s like a surprise, like a book treasure hunt or something!

  2. The pictures of your house are so poetry! That was autocorrected from pretty, but it’s true so I’ll keep it.

    There’s a 28sqft bedroom in my living room! I’m obvs not an adult because I’ve almost never even had my own bedroom, but the advice I can give is to figure out what you want and wait for it. I waited three months for the perfect desk, and now I have a much loved, beat up but still elegant desk that’s been been owned by artists for longer than I’ve been alive. When I’m sad and stuck, that gets me motivated.

    • Also, the big IKEA EXPEDIT is the most versatile, generally attractive piece of furniture ever. Stuff looks pretty in it and you can stuff a whole lotta pretty stuff in it. As a testament to it’s versatility/price point, you will feel like you have a famous friend if you watch TV, because look, there’s your bookshelf and it’s kids all over the place. It’s a bookshelf! It’s a dresser! It’s a wall!

      • I second the Expedit in all of its many glorious forms. I have a few, and they’re fantastic.

  3. I have a really big, exposed brick wall in my living room that was begging for something cool. Finally, I took a photo of a friend who is a dancer and sent it to one of those places that blows it up and wraps it around a frame. It looks awesome and I get alot of compliments about it !

    Also, there should be a special program where, when you have 800 of those Ikea Allen wrenches you win something b/c srsly, I have like 27skajillion of them.

    • Those wrenches…wow…can you believe I actually needed one of the bazillion I have floating about yesterday and it somehow validated having them all. Regardless of the fact that they’re nearly always identical. Guess it’s not hard to spot the IKEA addicts.

  4. This is my favorite thing to talk about!

    I currently live in a dorm (moving out in a month, fuck you overpriced campus living) and upon move in, it was ugly. Like, ew. It still is, mainly because my roommate and I are disgusting but the structure of the place is like, industrial in the worst way. Anyways, I figured the white walls could either eat me or I’d PLASTER them in character. So. I have a tapestry over my bed and cheap art all over the place because I’m in college. With the exception of a St. Vincent poster, everything on my wall either came off a magazine or was like five bucks, tops. I also glued a magazine page to the light switch plate and hang my necklaces on the wall, because I like my jewelry that much.

    I don’t know where I’ll be living in a month, but I hope I can make it home either way. Like I will, but I hope I like it as much as I learned to like this piece of crap box I’m living in.

    Also, Laneia, your house is pretty.

  5. I can’t echo enough that “getting rid of everything that has a negative vibe.” When my ex and I split (read when I kicked her worthless ass to the curb but I’m not bitter) we owned a house and everything that goes in a house. I sponsored a Garage Sale for a local youth org and sold EVERYTHING! The only thing I took with me were my dogs. It was cathartic and freeing. Now everywhere I look in my new place, all I see is me and the life I built for myself! My space is mine. Getting ready to move again, but this time, it’s all positive vibe stuff moving with me.

  6. if you have multiple roommates and are interpreting bedrooms creatively, be careful not to break any fire codes, please! /random concern.

    • Yeah, if you live in NYC you supposedly cannot sleep in the same room as an oven, my first apartment had a plug in hotplate and a convection ‘oven’ (read: microwave circa 1984) instead. So happy I live somewhere (marginally) bigger now!

      I would love to dd my art to my walls, but: how to hang them without fucking up your walls? I don’t want to nail anything, the stickum stuff always stays permanently to the walls.

  7. I really like repainting stuff, when they sold my (dead) grandmothers house I took her dressing table – one of those lovely old fashioned lady ones and painted it an undersaturated purple colour, still need to get a stool to put underneath (which I will reupholster).

    I also took her kitchen table, which was a wedding present from 1930, I have a square of fabric on it covered with a glass top so anytime I want a new table, I just get new fabric.

    My point is raid charity shops and relatives houses (don’t kill any grandparents) and get some old wooden furniture that needs some tlc, paint over it in a cute colour and voila, kitsch updated vintage furniture which you can paint over anytime you need a colour change.

  8. First time commenter here :)
    MIND = BLOWN by the inspiration of turning my living room into my bedroom and bedroom into yoga room!
    I’m so excited, or maybe its just because I drank coffee on an empty stomach. Either way this is the best idea ever! Thanks

  9. “The most important first step is getting rid of everything that has a negative vibe.” This may seem like a no-brainer, but I feel this huge sense of relief and freedom now to think that I can throw a bunch of stuff away that I may have been holding onto because of guilt.

    Also I love that you quoted Mitch Hedberg. Four for you. :D

  10. laneia! everything about this is just, well… the other day i found an apartment for after i graduate, which is all kinds of exciting! but also scary. this makes it feel less scary for some reason. and i love all of the pictures!

  11. My dining room table is a patio table. I use it as a pantry and area to play board games. I hung a disco ball above it until I can finally find an umbrella that will fit. Now I can refer people to this article when they question me instead of telling them how I’m a mess and need to get my life together. Thanks Laneia!

    • I can vouch for all of this….she also has a TV the size of a twin bed. (they say size doesn’t matter)
      And she BBQs like a champ too.
      When am I coming up again to do that????

  12. i bought black letter stickers from the craft store and put ‘let the beauty we love/be what we do’ on a big piece of gold craft paper and put it over my bed. there’s also an ee cummings quote in black stickers on red tissue paper part of a larger posterboard collage situation over my bed — i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart) — i like having words around.

    i’ve also been known to frame magazine pictures, hang up record album covers as if they are art (“free to be you and me” is in my kitchen, i got it at a thrift store) and generally surround myself with images from or by people i love — including really nice cards friends have made me, which i hang as if they are actual art. it’s funny, looking around i think besides the nails and a few craft supplies, i didn’t actually buy anything that’s on my walls, it came to me in other ways.

  13. Ugh…this comes at the right time.

    My new bedroom is quite big, and the walls are all white and the ceiling’s high. I’m kind of starting to hate it.
    I put some posters up and stuff to try to make it feel more homely/cosy/bedroom-like, but it’s not really working and just seems to make the room feel bigger. What should I do??? :)

      omg, high ceilings?! the possibilities are endless girl, srsly–

      • Lofts are awesome, whether your space is big or small! I have a full-size “Timbernest” and I got it used for $100. I had to disassemble it and fit all the lumber in a car and then build it without directions, and even then it beats one of those metal ones.

        • double high five, girl–you rock!

          (look at you puttin’ it all together without instructions….yay!)

  14. I also purposely add things that remind me of a vacation, whether its a candle or cheapo lamp or painting that I bought while there, or a cool stylised print of a city that i buy for cheap online after I got home. I love having things around that remind me of carefree good times…

  15. I’m still laughing about not letting “anyone tell you how many bedrooms you have.” Whenever someone asks how many bedrooms are in our house my immediate reaction is 1….though technically there are more like 4. We only need 1 bedroom, so the others have been repurposed: gym, storage, etc. and it’s certainly better that way! It’s your space….Do you :)

  16. I am so utterly devoid of any talent in the interior design department. Just like how I wore nothing but black for years because I had no clue how to ‘do’ clothes that weren’t black. Same with picking stuff for my house. Literally, I have no fucking clue what to do.

    At the moment, my walls are a neutral sky-ish colour blue, and my floor is a neutral beige carpet. There is furniture, because I need to sit on something, but it was all hand me downs from others so I didn’t need to think about what sort of things I would want to look for if I had to buy stuff.

    There’s nothing on the walls, because I don’t know what to hang or how to hang it and I am afraid to make everything really ugly and/or destroy the wall or the paint so I’d have to paint everything again. Also, I kill plants.

    I blank at the thought of actually making a choice about starting any sort of interior design scheme. (Picking colours! Styles! Collecting things! Thrifting! Making decisions!) So I still live in an empty room with some furniture in it and I have lived here for a year.

    Tell me, you-who-are-in-the-know, how does this stuff work ?

    • Oh and the issue behind this all is the utter fear to fuck it up and/or destroy things, combined with having no DIY skills that are even remotely useful for working on my home.

      • And yes, I am seeing someone for that. (For the fear, that is. But come to think of it, maybe I should see someone about the lack of DIY skills too.)

    • Hah, I’m seriously in the same state as you – I just don’t know what to do or what I’d want to change, or how. My mother has obsessed over home decoration magazines and TV programmes forever; can’t some of that knowledge have entered my brain through being around it all? Apparently not.

      I’ve been trying a few things to get more of a clue. Looking at home blogs (like Apartment Therapy, Decor8, Desire to Inspire) helps improve my eye, I think, and give me an idea of what appeals to me. Also, cafes and restaurants and shops where I feel at home: what do I like about this? Lighting, colour, shape. Though, seriously, it’s no surprise people pay to have their places made over or decorated. It’s not something a person necessarily has an instinct for.

        • Oh hey, I just saw this comment now :D And you probably won’t see this response! But I’ll mention it to you tomorrow if you’re at coffee *g*

      • That is a good idea, trying to register about other places what it is that I like about them. That will help. A more active approach will be good for me.

        (Just like I don’t register what’s wrong with this house until I actually change something.)

    • Onec upon a time, I started flicking through Home & Garden magazines a lot. I was bored, my mom had like a million of them, and I’m a sucker for interior decorating. I now have a way better idea of what to do with decorating things. It’s not necessarily the colors or the styles, but they’re good for getting the shape of things, you know? Like how to lay stuff out and how to place patterns and solids and stuff.

      As for coloring a space… pick a color on a big thing that’s already in the room (blanket, couch, lamp, etc.), or pick a nice color. Not necessarily your favorite color (because having a monochromatic house freaks people out), but maybe a color that looks good WITH your favorite color so that all your favorite stuff looks good in your room. If you need help with color, go to a fabric store and look at those little starter kits of fabric. They have like a million combinations of Colors That Work Together already assembled in pettable fabric form. (If you’re still not sure, take a picture of your room and ask a store associate who seems like they ‘get’ paint colors what the hell you should do. Or your mom/girlfriend/professor, whatever.)

      Now, as for putting them together, think about your families’ and friends’ living rooms, and the ones in the magazines, and think about what you like about them. Maybe ask them how they put them together, because everyone likes to tell stories about the hideous side table that needed to die and that one time they accidentally painted the cat. Ask someone who has painted an interior before to help you paint. (You may want to plan this as a kind of informal house party. Get beer, burritos, or cake.) Once you have colors and a vague idea of what kind of styles you like, you can start keeping an eye out for things that go with them. Enlist friends–they can take pictures of stuff and say “I think this would go with your couch”.

      Good luck, I hope this helps!

  17. This article makes me feel all fresh and new and excited. I ADORE small spaces, and I adore nesting to perfection. “Blankets for your windows” is my new favourite line.

    I live on a farm, in a 1959 guest cottage across a little wooden bridge from the original farmhouse. The walls are wooden (as you may recall from my Autoharp Ode To Autostraddle (http://youtu.be/Pg-HbtT1cRE) and the carpet is forest-green. Everywhere. Even the bathroom. It’s so awful it’s endearing, and it reminds me of the farm’s previous (deceased) owner, a real character for whom I used to work, whose taste it fits to a T.

    There was no way to make it the clean, modern space my girlfriend and I both prefer. So we went cottage-eclectic. The entire space, save the bedrooms and bathroom, is open-concept, so we defined a living room, reading nook, dining area, and ‘equestrian equipment too nice to keep in the barn’ slash ‘we spent a lot of money on this gorgeous leather craftsmanship and we like looking at it because it reminds us of the thrill and elegance of competition and also reminds us that we need to clean it before the next competition’ area. The second bedroom we refer to as the “Mystery Room” and it holds miscellany to the extreme (in this song I wrote for my girlfriend in the Mystery Room (http://youtu.be/moj_7E0OUJc), you can see Rubbermaid bins, a snowboard, guitar, bookshelf full of her Machinist School textbooks, bamboo rug… Also seen is a row of Ikea shelves with curtains hung in front, which make a great storage idea in a space lacking closets). There’s a drum set and electric piano in the living room. My guitars/autoharp happily live wherever I last left them and they fit right in. There’s a dog kennel in the reading nook. There are house plants everywhere. (photo of myself in my riding gear + Funky Munky slippers, taken next to the kitchen/dining area: https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/fSBkUeSS3qP_vrRhnsz3exOl25hOy2BZvsXXRETAKPI?feat=directlink).

    I grew up in a beach town and miss it terribly. Once, whilst walking home to my parents’ house on the beach after an awesome locals night at my fav bar, Drunk Me decided that some driftwood would be a great decorating idea. And I brought home a pile. Sober Me will forever respect Drunk Me, because I’ve brought that driftwood everywhere with me. I use it as a coat tree (as seen on the far left in this song, ironically about another space in which I used to live. (Alternate song title: Don’t Live in a Basement) (http://youtu.be/HRTOcfgX7EY)).

    Another space I take -very seriously- is my equipment locker in the barn. Are you ready for this? https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/5zVGcl1va1s0HL9KFmlxrtMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=directlink Awwwwwww yeah.

    • I feel so jealous! Your spaces are awesome! I miss having a meticulously organized equipment locker; it was a home away from home. I figure a lot a people get to think that about their offices?

      • =D It’s all about trial and error and keeping what feels right. Baskets do wonders to cozy up any space. So do paper lamps, house plants, and driftwood!

  18. I usually just nerd up whatever space I’m occupying. My walls currently have 3 Harry Potter posters, a Hunger Games poster, a poster from The Oatmeal, a map of Skyrim, a Doctor Who calendar, and an ad for Wicked that I tore out of a magazine. One whole wall is covered in books. I needed new curtains the same week I went to Pride, so a Rainbow flag serves as window coverings. It feels like home to me.

  19. perfect timing! i just signed the lease for my first ever apartment last week and i’m moving in the fall. i’m more than excited to decorate!

  20. I can’t believe no one has called out those Childcraft Encyclopedias yet. We had the whole set and I read them over and over.

    • !!!
      I think I had a different edition growing up, but I loved the one about customs and the craft one.
      I vividly remember a lot of paper hats and doll furniture out of spools.

  21. I think what defines my space at this apartment is the piles of books. Next to my sleeping bag is where I keep my “I’m still reading these” pile. On top of my plastic-PX-acquired footlocker are all my gaming books (and there are quite a few!) Hauls from closing Borders and library sales are half sorted stacks scattered here and there, with enough space to work out and teach the dog new dance moves. Oh, and the dog. She’s like a piece of furniture. Hairy, hairy furniture.

  22. Do you have a Costco friend? I feel like everyone has that friend with a Costco membership. In any case, you can get HUGE prints made of any print-quality images (photos you took! Decent-quality photos from the internet as long as you don’t sell them like a filthy pirate!) for like $8. Get a cheap frame from Ikea or Michael’s, and you’ve got a classy art piece that you can structure the rest of that wall’s art around.

  23. I know this isn’t really very creative and kind of obvious but being able to paint the walls makes a huge difference. I also painted my bookshelves, which are just crappy pressboard. But when they’re yellow and teal, they look so much better! Also if you have say, a bunch of colorful dishes/pots/pans/baking dishes, think about getting one of those cheap wire shelves from Home Depot or what have you and displaying them. I have some Le Creuset pieces in orange, blue, red, and yellow, and they make the place look sunny.

  24. dude, glad you put this piece together. i’ve been fighting my living room while living in my bedroom.

    first, the living room has a leaky floor so it’s hard to really twerk it out. but also, i don’t watch TV and there’s this HUGE hand me down flat screen in there and a futon I hate and a desk that my ex used to smoke cigs n toss back cases of beer…so literally, i walk into my crib, dodge it and camp out in my awesome re-done bedroom.

    perhaps it is time to reclaim my living room. any new york autostraddlers want in on occupy gabby’s living room, hit me up.

    bye bye flat screen
    bye bye boozey desk

    and hello…empty space for candle lighting and record playing…

  25. so I had this one wall and a friend and I decided after a lil’ bit to drink it would be a good idea to draw on it. it looked shit. so we used old newspaper as wallpaper to cover the mess.and I still love it.
    don’t just put it on there tho’. go for the pages with words rather than pictures. also we ripped it apart and tried (very hard) to make it look very random. also its a small wall…covering a big space in the news might be a little overwhelming and also very depressing ( I wish I would have gone for the feuilleton and not the politics section)

    also every time I see a picture frame (big, small, cheesy, ..) at a garage sale/thriftshop I have to buy it. looks quite nice if you repaint them all in the same color and again try very hard to put them up on a wall very randomly looking

  26. I’m currently apt. hunting (probably for the smallest/cheapest place I can find), so I’ll definitely keep this in mind.

  27. ESTATE SALES. Dead people’s stuff is not only cheap but it is super fun! My old flatmates and I used to go to estate sales all the time. At first it is creepy to go through some dead persons stuff but you get over it pretty quick and can find some really cool stuff and it is almost always affordable! It is a practical hobby!

  28. There is one thing that has helped me most: patience.

    I moved and thought OMG I have to get all kinds of new stuff that I actually like and make my room warm to guests? Shoot, when will I have time or money to do this stuff? Then I decided- no, I will not rush. I will leave that whole wall open and blank until I find the right bench, or the perfect album to frame. Instead of using up all the excitement of moving in one week, I make my place mine one piece at a time. Wait as long as you need to find the perfect thing (except for hygiene products, then you should at least find something to hold you over).

  29. Looking back, what marked the death of my higher ed. years was:

    – Getting rid of posters. If it’s awesome, frame it. Unframed shit is super undergrad.

    – Downsizing in general. Simple is cool. Once I knew who I was, I could stop trying to appeal to every kind of visitor with my mishmash of “cool stuff.”

    – Paring down on decorations. All the random shit decorating my walls and surfaces collected dust and gave people seizures.

    – Getting rid of books. I don’t need stroke my ego with books I’ll never pick up/again.

    In that “living room has an office” photo, the knick nacks on the shelf… pretty much everything from the thrift store, I would delete.

    In that dish towel as art photo, the gold lei thing 1/2 framing it is my nemesis.

    And then more:

    – Getting prints of and framing photos of my friends and stuff I’m into. That tells my story best.

    – Setting up my stuff so that whatever I use most is most within reach, and the reverse.

    It’s totally different strokes for different folks, this is my way.

    • I totally agree with all your strategies. I recently took all my little knicky knacky things and put them in a box and stuck it under my bed. If I don’t miss anything from the box in 6 months it’s going to the thrift shop.

    • I hear ya on the books. After an undergrad in English lit, I cast off all the books I didn’t absolutely love. Of what remains, only about half are books I actually studied. The rest are books I WISH I could have studied!

      I’m also not a huge fan of posters. They make me anxious. Like, my space is the only space where I don’t have to be bombarded by pop media unless I choose to turn on the TV. I want the ability to turn things off.

      I like functional knick-knacks. Like houseplant pots, and wooden boxes, and wrought iron candle holders.

      We try to organize our barn attire closet through a careful balance of what gets worn most, what’s muddiest (goes on the bottom so it doesn’t muddy the ‘nice’ riding boots), and out-of-season boots have a whole other place to live. I mean you have your winter work boots, winter paddock boots, winter tall boots, winter coaching boots, spring/fall work boots, spring/fall paddock boots, rain boots, summer work shoes, backup summer work shoes, summer paddock boots, summer tall boots, cowboy boots, show tall boots…

  30. I still live at home but have an urge to donate everything and start new, especially with my clothes and old books and junk. Summers are so great for that! I loved the part about the as is furniture… People in general are so quick to want to buy the new and expensive furniture for their households when the secondhand or as is often substantially cheaper! Plus I think the as is furniture is quirky… I hope I’m not the only one, haha.

  31. Your favourite things. Yes. These things, like books are a reflection of you. And I want to see them.

    I can’t tell you how much I loathe pretentious minimalist bullshit. If people try to tell me about their spartan, Scandinavian approach to interior design, all I hear is an echo from their desolate, vacuous hearts. True story.

    …too scathing? Ah, don’t care.

  32. I have such an issue with clutter in my bedroom. I share a house with 2 other women and so the common areas are neutral zones- but my bedroom is so cluttered with books and cards and toiletry-stuff it drives me crazy!

    Great tips Laneia! I love the tip of using dining room chairs for other uses- I’m picturing a row of chairs used as shelves for my books.

  33. Thank you thank you! I am going to college next year and right now, I feel like I need to donate my entire life to Goodwill/the recycling center and bring one set of clothing and myself to my dorm room.

  34. I tend to like to have bookcases/shelves/coffee tables/picture frames/side tables/any sort of table you can imagine in darker shades (they’re all either black or mahogany (also, I like mixing black and mahogany))so I put a brightly colored blanket on the sofa to add some pep to the room.

    I had everything set up so the living room felt more cramped, but then I moved everything around and now it feels so much more open and spacious and that makes a big difference for me. Also, I have all my Boba Fett figurines on my book shelves by all the Star Wars books, I let the geek flag fly.

  35. This is super relevant to my life right now!! I’m moving out of my Boston apartment soon and thinking of all the ways Im going to keep m next bedroom from looking exactly like all my previous bedrooms/dorm rooms. EXCEPT also sort of the same if you know what I mean.

  36. My decor strategy is lots of colors and patterns, topped off with fairy lights and thrift store vases, candles, and lamps.

  37. my room has a tent in it atm

    i’m getting prepped for camp in the most extreme way possible while expanding my interior decorating expertise

  38. I think there should be a thing where autostraddlers send in pictures of their spaces and then there is a big gallery of all of them!

    Also, I’m going to throw in some tips for when you are NOT ADULT ENOUGH FOR PICTURE FRAMES.

    1) POSTER GROUPINGS. A few posters or magazine clippings on their own might look a little collegey (which is a look) but put 3 or 5 or 10 in a asymmetrical group with the edges touching or even overlapping a bit and things get artsy real fast. Scale is key. This is for posters or other sizable things.

    2) STRING + PAPERCLIPS. For smaller things, hang a string horizontally across a wall and then use paper clips to attach photos/postcards/do-dads. Hang more things from the first row of things to make chains of things that hang down a wall.

    3) FABRIC. Dishtowels, bandanas, scarves, and scraps can all look very nice on a wall without any frames.

    Ok. Roll up your posters and string. Stack your do-dads. Fold your fabric. You are ready to move 15,000 times!

    • 3) or pillow cases! i don’t know how it happened but i seem to have collected several pretty/too-uncomfortable-for-my-face pillow cases that make great wall art!

  39. I understand this particular space was on a budget and I enjoy the good intentions behind this article. Although, as someone with some somewhat related and expensive education (although I am very humble) I would love to see contemporary design in the future of this series. Ikea is not what I am talking about although I do buy their furniture and build into it. What I mean is spaces with an overall aesthetic or attention to detail such as finishes, flooring, lighting, cabinetry, doorknobs, and such.

    • I don’t think this series is on interior design specifically, just this article?
      You’re obviously passionate and have strong feelings about contemporary design, you could always start your own blog!

    • Yea, i’d have to say, this article isnt even specific to interior design in the sense your thinking. its about how to make a space your own, that expresses who you are. If your flooring is an expression of who you are, then kudos. ahah, but ima stick to my dried flowers

  40. You wouldn’t want to see my cieling, i have this addiction to hanging things from my ceiling .. so atm.. i have.. 9 dream catchers chillin out about my bed, a giant shell wind chime on the other side that i adore.. iv taken up the hobbie of making shell windchimes from the shells i obsessively collected while on vacation ( seriously.. i have 5 large bags of shells,, its not right) .. and dead.. or dying flowers, hanging as well. i dry them almost imediately after i get them and hang each flower individually from the ceiling.. some people adore it.. others say im mildly morbid and shouldnt be allowed to have flowers.

    Oh, and the book shelf. . come on guys, if you don’t have a book shelf.. shame. :p

  41. is this an appropriate place to say that i just registered for my free mini-box of OB tampons?


    free things for my vagina!

  42. First place I moved into, I got some cheap canvasses and paint and me and some friends had a night in getting drunk and painting on the canvas only using our fingers, they turned out completely ridiculous but I loved them.

  43. When I had to move back into my Dad’s house I found myself stuck in an empty white room with a beige carpet…

    So I tacked everything I could find to the walls. Luckily i’d just got back from the Edinburgh Fringe so I had a ton of fliers and posters to help with this. I also piled up books on the available surfaces and some soft toys. It’s not much, but it’s doing the job for now.

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