2017 Gift Guide: Small Businesses and Women-Owned Businesses

This holiday season, I wanted to mix things up a bit. I’ll be sharing a few more gift guides over the next couple weeks but for today, I wanted to highlight some amazing small businesses and especially some women-owned businesses! There’s so many wonderful women I follow on Instagram who are making, sourcing and selling amazing things. I also reached out to my followers and they had some great suggestions too. I didn’t have room to include every single one, but if you’d like to check out some additional recommendations, they’re in the comments of this instagram post. 

I’ll be purchasing (or have already purchased) a lot of Christmas gifts from these shops this year and I hope you do, too! Favorite picks are highlighted and the full list is sorted by category. Happy shopping!!

Home Decor

Riveted Bowl

Soleil Rug // 
Pom Pom Blanket

Shops
Caitlin Wilson
Main Line Candles
Lauren Williams Art
Danielle Oakey Shop
 KT’s Canvases
Convival Production
Flea Market Fab
Wicker and Woven
WolfeDENCollective
Ket Mercantile
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Paper Goods

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Pet Accessories
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Fashion, Jewelry, Accessories

X Ring // Feminist Keychain
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Settee Round Up

I mentioned on instagram the other day that I wanted to make some changes to this area of my apartment. I’m still searching for the perfect settee or tiny loveseat, but my goal is to replace these two chairs. I like them, but I feel like it’s a lot of furniture lined up, especially next to the credenza, so I’m hoping changing from two pieces to one will give it a more simplified look.

I’ve rounded up six pieces, all under $1000. I like the varying styles and shapes but still haven’t landed on a favorite. Which would you choose?

Three Ways to Arrange A Studio Apartment

1) Physically divide your space: Use bookcases and other furniture to divide your space into separate living areas for privacy and to feel like you have a designated (small) area for everything. This apartment makes great use of small space and the bookcases are used to separate the bedroom area, a little office nook and to separate the living room from the dining area. Photos and design below by Marissa.   2) Keep it open, but create zones: This studio has a more open and airy layout, but it’s  divided into zones using the help of rugs, art and other accessories. The rug in the living room anchors that specific area and the art and accessories help to define each space. Photo and design by Sing (blog no longer available).

3) Go vertical: I realize this might not be possible for everyone, but I just had to share this awesome layout. The lofted bedroom area gives tons of privacy and allows for a larger sofa and dining table below. If you do have the option or find a space that is already lofted, it can make a small apartment feel much bigger. Photos and design by Holly.

For more studio apartment tours, click here! If you have a great studio or one bedroom or another stylish small space you want to share, email me a couple photos for consideration. studiostyleblog@gmail.com

Balcony Updates and Outdoor Furniture Roundup

The balcony has been an ever evolving project over the last two years. Partially out of my control (6 month long construction nightmare) but it’s come a long way and I wanted to share the progress and a few changes I still want to make. I’ve also included a round up of stylish, affordable furniture and accessories at the end so be sure to check those out if you’re looking to make some changes to your own outdoor space.

Here’s the balcony before I moved in: 

Balcony after move in: (Rug, lights, curtains, fake plants, sofa and dining set added)

Balcony after construction:
Construction (on all apartments in my building) involved new railing, completely new concrete slab and side. The only thing left untouched was brick (thank goodness, my favorite part), and the door/windows. I added a  new rug (unfortunately the exact one is no longer available but I’ve linked a similar one here) and did not put the curtain system back up but everything else is the same.

Changes I want to make:
While my dream would be to have this sofa or this sofa, I have to be a bit more realistic with the price tag. So I’ve pulled together these love seats at a better price point, all under $500.

New coffee table– my current one was literally free on craigslist, so it has served it’s purpose for the last two years, but I’m ready for something a little nicer. These are all under $150.

Accessories– when I sell the love seat, I’ll probably also sell the pillows and cushion along with it, so I’d like to incorporate a few new throw pillows and other accessories here.

4 Ways to Spruce Up An Ugly Rental Kitchen

This is not going to be the prettiest of posts, but in an effort to keep it real around here- I wanted to share my least favorite room in the apartment… the kitchen. While it’s certainly looking better than move in day (see below), it’s no gorgeous white and bright kitchen like in my last apartment. 

But I’ve made a few tweaks to distract from the ugliest elements. So if you have an unsightly rental kitchen… check out the tips below!


Note: If you notice a small difference, the dishwasher has changed. It ended up being completely defective so it was replaced with the black one shortly after I moved in. 

1) Hide the ugly tile: this tile is some terrible shade of salmon. So one of the first things I did was put this West Elm runner down to hide most of it.

2) Keep it clutter-free: A bad kitchen can look even worse if it’s full of clutter and stuff piled up on the counters, so keeping it tidy really helps.

3) Distract from the ugly counters: I have a nice knife block, modern coffee maker, stainless steel toaster oven, marble paper towel holder and my DIY ‘marble’ utensil holder. Everyday items, but it helps when they are pleasing to the eye and they can distract from the ugly counters.

4) Keep it neutral: Almost everything in this kitchen is black and white. This keeps the space looking a little more uniform and put together. 

Hope those tips were helpful! If I owned this apartment, I would gut this space in a second (and knock out that wall on the left!) but sometimes you just have to make the best of it and work with what you already have. 

Bedroom Refresh

I’m back after the super long hiatus! My plan is to get back to regularly posting, but maybe 2-3 times a week rather than 5. Thanks for sticking around during the silence. On to the post:

One space that finally feels ‘finished’ is my bedroom! I thought it would be fun to walk you through all the changes over the last two years, from move in day to present.

Designing on a budget means you can’t usually buy everything at once to make over a space, so this has been a two year process of slowly changing, upgrading and re-designing this space and I’m really happy with how it turned out!

Before moving in- empty and ugly rental paint color

New Benjamin Moore Simply white paint- move in day  After unpacking  Changes started… New lamp

New rug

Different bedding, new nightstands. Switched bedroom lamps with living room ones.

Latest and biggest changes!
New bed, removed one night stand, added mirror, de-cluttered the dresser.

If you’re looking to redesign a space and you’re on a budget, I recommend the ‘slow and steady’ approach. While it might not be instant-gratification, the results in the end are worth the wait. Decide what pieces you want to keep and what you want to replace and scour sales (bed and mattress both purchased during big sales), Craigslist (where I scored my dresser and two nightstands) and don’t be afraid to use items from other rooms in your home. These lamps were originally in my living room and I switched them out and it brought a whole new look and feel to the bedroom.

The things I got rid of (tripod floor lamp, desk and chair, black bookshelf, tan rug, old nightstand) I sold on Craigslist and Next Door, so I recouped some money back from those to put toward new purchases. I also have very affordable pieces in here- the mirror is from Ikea, the water lily painting was about $10 at a thrift store and the pillows were on super clearance from target for $6 each (no longer sold, sorry)!                  Get the look: click on the pictures or the links below to shop!



 Bed // Lamp (no longer sold, similar linked) // Duvet Cover //
Nightstand (vintage, similar linked) // Dresser (vintage, similar linked)
Area Rug (vintage, similar linked)