Designers’ Own Home: Emily’s New Beginning Part 2

Up next… Emily tackles her rental and how she made it fit her style and decor.  Here is the second part her Designers’ Own Home post focused on Apartment Interior Design Styling. And goodness, do we love how she styled her home. (And don’t forget to spot the cat teepee if you didn’t see it in the last post!)


Once you have settled all of your large furniture into your new rental space, it’s time to focus on the details. This can be fun but with so many decisions to make, it can also overwhelming. Like many people, my interior design wish list is long, and my budget is small. So if I decide to not make a Target run, where inevitably I’d spend more then I plan in their home goods section, I’ll work with what I have or what I’ve been gifted. It’s amazing what reinventing things you already have can do to your final interior design!


I have had two counter height stools since I moved to Philadelphia. I few years after I purchased them I partially painted them seafoam green. I gave them a quick sanding, taped off the bottom of the legs and painted the rest. This was a quick, and inexpensive update, and I still love them. I want to purchase at least one more stool, and I will paint it the same way. Doing the painting yourself is a way to get big interior design style for a small amount of money.

(Here’s an HGTV article with more information on painting kitchen stools.)



Setting up small vignettes in your apartment interior design styling personalizes your space, and creates “moments”. And just because the vignettes are decorative does not mean they cannot be utilitarian as well. In my kitchen I took my old bulletin board and painted it with chalk board paint. Now I have a great spot to write notes, and post photos and other meaningful items. Another DIY touch where a little paint and elbow grease yields big style for a low price.

(We’ve located a get DIY post over at the Virginia Sweet Pea blog that walks you through how to transform your bulletin board in to a chalkboard like Emily did!)




The coffee maker and wine bottles help hide the unsightly outlet, and they can easily, and regularly, get switched out. Meanwhile, salt and pepper shakers, a glass container for the wine corks, and a decorative cutting board fill the adjacent corner.




A living room is a great place to display books, and vinyl records. I have my vinyls alphabetized and I like to organize my books by color. Doing so helps make the open shelves feel less chaotic. Mixing in storage boxes is also a great storage solution for open shelves. That way no one needs to see your stuff, but you can access it easily.

(IKEA has a great selection of boxes and baskets to as they say, “hide things in plain sight.”)




The coffee table is another opportunity for a vignette. I love candles, and plants, so I topped my coffee table with candles, and a lovely vase that Amy picked up for me in Germany. I love this vase, on the side it repeats the phrase “a vase is a traveling garden” in German. How beautiful! When I have greens, I use them in the vase but today I do not. Along with the vase I have candles holders in varying heights. Creating height is important to add interest. If all of the items where on the same plane it would look unfinished. I also added a small lion statue I have. I like the small scale, and I also love lions. I display all of these items on an interesting tray; together they add character to the coffee table and reflect my individuality.

We say bravo to Emily! She has successfully made her new apartment into her home, a place that is uniquely her own. Emily will keep us posted on other projects for her apartment interior design.  If you have any questions or would like to tell Emily how much you love her space, leave a comment below.

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