Last month, after four years of living in dorms, I moved into my first apartment in New York. Before moving to the city, I had heard horror stories of tiny cramped spaces, cockroach infestations, and crumbling walls, so I prepared myself for the worst. But after two weeks of apartment hunting with my three roommates, we found the perfect place: an airy three-bedroom on the Upper East Side that’s filled with natural light in the morning.
Even with the limitations of the rental agreement, and, of course, a post-grad budget, I couldn’t wait to begin designing my bedroom as soon as I’d seen the space. I knew that I wanted several key pieces of furniture: an area to read and write, a full-sized bed, and bookshelves, but was not sure how to arrange them. After weeks of planning, sketching, building, and making careful purchases, I could not be happier with the end result.
Fresh Flowers The flower store on my corner, like most New York flower shops, sells beautiful bouquets for around $5, which I consider a small weekly investment for how beautiful they make the room. I usually buy two bouquets (my favorites are hydrangeas, ranunculus, and spray roses), and split up one of the bouquets to bookend the books over my non-functional fireplace, and put the rest in a vase on my bookshelf.
Mementos The earring holder my mom bought me for my first dorm, a polaroid of my boyfriend and me on our first date, various knickknacks from travel. While I am a crusader against clutter, it’s nice to have little reminders of people and places I love.
Books The Strand bookstore carries a bag that says, “Never sleep with anyone who doesn’t have books.” Aside from this being a great piece of advice, I think it’s true that books dictate a great deal about a person, and it’s important to keep them displayed – not only will they remind you of your favorite passages, but they look beautiful on a shelf.
Space While my room is large for a New York apartment, it would still be a large investment of space to buy something like a closet or a full desk. Instead, I created a desk area with a reading chair and a glass C-table. And for a closet, I have a clothing rack which adds color to the room.
Lighting Overhead lights can be blaring and too harsh at night, so I’ve borrowed some old dorm tricks and upgraded my past affinity for Christmas lights with a strand of outdoor bulbs that I’ve hung over the bed and attached to a dimmer. During the day, I adjust my $10 Ikea drapes to create a soft natural morning light.