Home Tour: A Chicago Apartment with Rustic Touches

Surprise! Today’s home decor feature is my apartment! I was inspired by Compass, a real estate website in NYC, and their Starter Stories project to share with you my new apartment and all the work that my boyfriend and I have put into making it home. Since it’s our first apartment together, it’s most definitely been a learning process that has involved a lot of compromise. We’ve only been in the space for about 6 months, so there are still a lot of things that we’re figuring out how to make work, but I am finally ready to do a little unveiling and let you all into my world! Especially since I’ve been talking about this new apartment constantly (like here and here and here, for example).


Now, I adore who I live with and ever since our space has started feeling more like home, I love where we live, but the boyfriend has an opinion on all things decor too. And, as I’m sure you can guess, our tastes don’t really match up 100% of the time. If you’re lucky enough to have a hands-off living partner who doesn’t care what you do, stop reading now because you are one lucky home design diva and you don’t need these tips. Unfortunately for me, there was a lot of tug of war going on, especially early on when we were carving out the space for ourselves.

As much as I just wanted to take control of the situation, I knew that wasn’t the way to go about it. So you learn to compromise and somehow make hideous, out of style end tables work with the space as a whole. You also learn to accept the things that you can’t change.

My cat wanted to make an appearance in this one. She’s mad because there’s usually a blanket there that she sleeps on.
When we moved in together, I had an apartment full of stuff already and so did he. So our first and biggest hurdle was figuring out what to keep and what to toss. After that, the “fun” began. Whatever ideas I had about the apartment before we moved in together went right out the window. Was it traumatic? Not exactly. Disappointing? Definitely. But I also got over it with a little bit of time. So how do you stop yourself from going crazy? Here are a few things I learned:

How Not to Lose It When Decorating With Your Significant Other

1. COMPROMISE. This is in CAPS because it’s basically the only thing you need to know. You’re not going to be happy with everything, but sometimes it’s more important to let him put the lava lamps where he wants because they make him happy rather than replacing them with more delicate lighting, you know?

2. Toss out whatever decorating plans you made without them. Everything has changed and nothing will turn out how you hoped. But that’s totally okay. Sometimes when you start from scratch you end up with something even better than when you started. 
3. Be honest, but don’t take it personally. Come on now, we’re not in grade school. Understand that they are not going to love everything that you love, but if they follow tip number 1 too, you just might get your way anyway 😉
4. Make room! You have stuff. He has stuff. You love your stuff. He loves his stuff. Great, we all love stuff. But in the end, if you can’t make enough room that you both feel at home, it’s going to be an uncomfortable situation. Trust me. I gave up closet space. CLOSET SPACE PEOPLE. If I can do it, you definitely can. 
5. Enjoy it! This is probably the biggest tip I would go back and tell my past self. I spent too much frustration and tears on some idea of a perfect apartment and totally forgot the most important part – you’re moving in with someone who makes you laugh 100% of the time and starting something new together. Duh. It’s a blast. Have fun with it. 
This resin dear head is one of my favorite things in the living room. After searching FOREVER for the perfect painted dear head on Etsy, I just picked this one up off of Amazon and spray painted the antlers myself. Then I added it to a crafty wood slice (which you can pick up at any craft store or on Amazon too) that I stained with some leftover wood stain. Viola! Cute, ain’t it?
Wrinkles belongs to the boy and Teddy is mine. I think they make a cute couple.
Best part of the apartment? I get a FREAKING CRAFT ROOM! Be jealous. No, seriously. I worked hard for this.

Oh, does this background look familiar? Then you’ve obviously been in the Etsy store recently. Welcome to my photo studio. This is the cleanest it’s every been in there, so I’m really excited to show it off.

What’s that? Brand new backsplash? Why, yes it is. Thank you for noticing.

My kitchen gadgets I obviously score from Modcloth. It’s a sickness. They have the cutest things.

So yea, our apartment is a mix of the both of us – a little rustic here and little rock and roll there – but isn’t that the point? I’ve carved out my cozy corners and just decorated over the things that I wish I could change and you can too!

Do you have a tip for moving into a new place? Add yours in the comments!

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