Brooke is our social media manager and recently moved into her first apartment in Idaho. We Ooo and Ahh over photos of her place and felt it was high time we shared her California-casual style with our readers. Whether you’re in your starter home or looking for a little rental inspo to freshen up your place, we could all take a clean, classic page from Brooke’s book.
I’ve been working for Chris Loves Julia for more than three years, and it made me really excited to have (and decorate!) a home of my own. I had Pinterest boards and links to furniture saved for months before my husband and I moved in. I started decorating before we could even carry in all of the boxes. This is our first apartment together, and I really wanted it to make it special.
Functional decor was really important for us. We didn’t want a coffee table because we love having the extra space in our little living room for game nights or workouts. Instead, we stacked two of these woven floor stools on top of each other. They make for the perfect foot stool and can easily be pushed out of the way.
The rug is the cushiest, softest, homey, casual rug I’ve ever stepped foot on. It’s so plush, in fact, that Tristan, my husband, has napped on it. Even though it’s super thick, it vacuums easily.
Julia always says, “If you’re not sure what’s missing, it’s probably the curtains.” She’s right. The curtains really took things to a new level. Now, these may or may not be the fourth curtains I have gotten. (!!!) I wanted green curtains, and the first ones that I bought were so dark they almost looked black. The second ones were the same color as the couch and the rug, and everything started to fall flat. Third time’s a charm, right? Unfortunately not. I sprung for white curtains, and they were way too stark against the cream-colored walls. I finallyyy ended up loving these Pottery Barn ones. They’re Emery Linen “Sage Grass” in the 96″ length, and they’re the softest gray-green, bringing in a great layered texture/textile look for this room. We hung them high and wide, and it’s amazing how much taller it made the room feel. We paired them with these bamboo shades. I put two 45” ones together–a trick I learned from CLJ.
I went neutral on the pillow covers, keeping the room’s color palette to creams, heather grays, burnt oranges, olive greens… But my real gush here is for the pillow inserts. No joke, I buy these inexpensive pillow inserts for every pillow cover that I own. They are that good. Here’s something I learned in the process: Get a pillow insert that is two inches bigger than your pillow cover so it looks nice and fluffy. (Did you know that? I didn’t know that!)
I have always been obsessed with olive trees. They’re so chic and sophisticated. But we didn’t have a space large enough for one. So when I found this tall, sparse one, I had to have it. It comes in a planter, but I stuck it in this one and it’s like it was meant to be.
Our hallway is just the right size for a small bench, a little “moment.” This felt like the right space to add some greenery and some art. I found the frames and the vase at the thrift store, and I’m already enjoying swapping digital prints in and out as often as we cut some fresh branches.
We don’t really have an entry in our apartment, but I wanted to designate one. In the photo above, you can peek at what we did! To the left of our front door I hung a round mirror on a strap (The It’s not an Entry Without a Mirror post gave me major inspo) and mounted a small coat rack.
In our bedroom, I went for classic pieces that might carry us to our next home. This little cane nightstand has so much personality, and if I told you that my mom passed it down to me from HER first apartment — you’d believe me. (She didn’t. I got it at Target 🙂 The headboard was a hand-me-down from Tristan’s parents and gave me a nudge in the direction of a color palette: Once this cutie was leaning against the wall, I started collecting cozy bedding, rolled out a cream-colored rug, and knew that the room could handle a big alabaster vase. Decor hack: Hanging hats on the wall = functional art. Home is where you hang your hat, right?
Since we are both still in school, an office seemed like the best option for our second bedroom right now. Tristan cannot function without a desk. I, on the other hand, would choose to do homework cozied up in bed any day of the week. But I inserted my favorite olive green in this comfy chair, and that felt like a great compromise.
As renters, we don’t have a lot of room to renovate our kitchen, but as soon as we laid this runner down, it felt really warm and inviting — like a room where we’d want to hang out. Did it inspire me to make more banana bread? Probably.
Decorating this apartment didn’t happen overnight, and we’re still not “done.” When we first moved in, six months ago, we had a TV and a blowup couch. Julia’s “Don’t Wait” mantra really came into play. We had friends over. We enjoyed our space at every stage. It has been so fun to see it evolve. I hear a lot of people say they don’t want to spend money decorating an apartment, but all of these pieces we can take with us when we leave and the most important thing is that our apartment feels like home. It feels like us.
Paint colors: Sherwin Williams Egg Shell White and Amazing Gray
Living Room: Rug, Couch, Rust Pillow Cover, Cream Pillow Cover (old, H&M), Pillow Inserts, Accent Chair, Throw Blanket, Woven Floor Stools, Olive Tree, Planter, Curtains, Curtain Rod, Curtain Rings, Bamboo Shades, Oversized Mirror, Floor Lamp, Side Tables, Candle, TV Stand, Art: Trees (old, Lulu & Georgia), Bird, Watercolor Landscape, Geometric, Alphabet
Entry: Mirror (old, H&M), Wall Hooks
Are you a renter? Check out this DIY for adding marble contact paper to open shelves.