Ask Studio Style Blog: Volume VI

 I’m back with another Ask Studio Style Blog post for you, covering Craigslist purchasing tips and making sure you don’t buy anything sketchy.
Sarah asks:
Hello!

I would love some advice on purchasing furniture from Craigslist in DC (or any other city for that matter). How do you check to make sure that it doesn’t have bed bugs, etc? Thanks!

Studio Style Blog Advice:

This is a great question! I’ve covered a bit of the Craigslist searching and buying process here and here but I’ll certainly dive in a bit deeper with advice on this.
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My own rule of thumb is to stay away from most upholstered items. I’ve purchased chairs, benches, tables, a credenza, etc. from Craigslist, so it’s far less likely that any item with a hard surface will have a pest problem. Mattresses, couches, etc are more likely to have something creepy hiding! 🙂 That being said, there are tons of reliable, trustworthy sellers out there with clean, pest-free items so don’t shy away from buying a great chair or sofa either.
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I take a good look at the photos posted (don’t go buy anything without seeing photos first) and check if the surroundings look to be fairly clean. IE if the background of the photo looks like an episode of hoarders- stay away. There’s only so much you can tell from photos so definitely go see the item in person as well. Many sellers also post ‘comes from a non-smoking home, no pets’, etc. If that’s important to you, look out for items with that noted or ask the seller if the posting doesn’t mention it. Don’t promise to buy anything when you contact the seller- just say you’re interested and you’d love to come look at the item. That way, there’s no expectations or promises that you’d be purchasing something if you see it in person and realize it’s beyond repair, gross, etc. Biv-Oo7FsXvwnVvg1Yg0ncbfIUf1_osrJxqcXkFOIDw
Don’t be afraid to take a good look at the item in person. Open a drawer, lift a cushion, etc. Make sure you do a quick visual and physical inspection of the item.
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My favorite Craigslist score, the mid-century credenza that I refinished from head to toe.
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Can’t forget the FREE rattan accent table, also scored on Craigslist

Happy hunting and hope this was all helpful for you and my readers!

Thanks to Sarah for writing in and for info on how to submit your questions to Studio Style Blog, click here.

Ask Studio Style Blog: Volume V

Robyn asks:

Hi! I’m a big fan of Studio Style Blog! I was wondering if you could help me. I just moved into a third floor apartment, with vaulted ceilings. I have no idea how to decorate, anything. If you could share any advice for me in regards to what colors exactly match my couches (curtains, area rugs, accent pillows) Should I mount my tv on the wall or buy a stand?  I have no idea what to do with the space.
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I’d definitely start with a rug to add interest to the space. Something neutral with a pattern would be great or you could incorporate a bit of color as well. I love these options below and many are on sale right now.

 

rugs

Rugs: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 

I don’t personally love the look of mounted televisions, but that’s just me. If you do go with a media console, there are plenty of options. Throw pillows can make a huge difference in the space, so choose a few with color, pattern, texture and even a metallic element or two. Be sure to check out my Style on a Budget series for tons of resources on throw pillows and media consoles:

style on a budget- five media consoles under 300style-on-a-budget-throw-pillows-under-50

Regarding the high ceilings, I say, embrace them! It’s a luxury not often found in most apartments. Adding mirrors and/or art on the walls will really draw the eye to this great feature of your place. Just be sure to not hang things too high on the walls. I pulled a selection of a bunch of affordable mirrors to consider below: mirrors

Mirrors: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 //

Adding art: Resources for art and prints here. DIY art project example here. Gallery wall post here. Many more art-related posts on Studio Style Blog can be found here.

Curtains are another must have for any space. For this area, I would stick with something light and neutral to brighten up the space. Avoid patterns that are too busy or dark colored curtains. I’ve selected a few great options below.

curtainsCurtains: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 //

Hope this was all helpful for you and my readers!

Thanks to Robyn for writing in and for info on how to submit your questions to Studio Style Blog, click here.

Ask Studio Style Blog: Volume IV

Tiffany in Virginia asks:

I recently started following your AMAZING Instagram page. I recently moved to a studio apartment in Alexandria that is extremely small and it has carpet, I have no idea how to decorate it so it’s been so plain for the past month or so. I really like everything on the blog so if you have any suggestions I’m open to anything! I would say my style is chic and stylish. Thank you so much for creating this blog and I can’t wait for it to look as cute as or close to as cute as yours!

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Studio Style Blog Response:
Thanks for your kind words and email! I think your apartment has a lot of potential, so don’t be discouraged by the carpet. I’ll break down my suggestions into a couple categories below and be sure to let me know if you end up utilizing them as you decorate. I’m sure the readers would love to see some ‘after’ photos as well.

1. Layering rugs: I wrote about this in a design trend post awhile ago, and it’s a great solution to cover up rental carpet. Try layering a larger jute rug with a colorful patterned smaller rug on top in the living room area. See photo example below:

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Credit

This jute rug from World Market is a stylish and affordable option. For pattern and color, try this rug from Target or this rug from West Elm.

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2. Add curtains and pull back the blinds: This will draw attention away from the not-so-chic look of vertical blinds and will draw the eye up away from the carpet. Simple white curtains will keep the space light and airy but these are thick enough to provide privacy when needed.
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3. Decorate the walls: Whether it’s with art, wall decals, shelving or all of the above, adding elements to the walls will brighten the place with color, pattern and style. And will make your apartment feel more lived in and more like a home rather than a rental apartment.

  • Adding art: Resources for art and prints here. DIY art project example here. Gallery wall post here. Many more art-related posts on Studio Style Blog can be found here.
  • Adding wall decals: tutorials from both of my studio apartments: old and new.
  • Adding wall-mounted shelving: A few favorite resources for shelves: West Elm // CB2 //Ikea // The Container Store 

2015-03-15 12.30.164. Add furniture, especially dual storage pieces: I’m not sure what’s on your list of furniture that you need or already have, but I’ll throw out a few options for apartment-friendly stylish and affordable furniture.

  • Sofas: Neutral sofas work well in any space and won’t feel too bulky or overbearing. World market has one very similar to my sofa here and I love this one from CB2. More affordable sofa posts on Studio Style Blog here and here.
  • What better to pair with a neutral sofa than a ton of affordable throw pillows from yesterday’s Style on a Budget post here.
  • For dual storage options, tall dressers and media consoles are great for apartments. The dresser can be used out in the main room and won’t look out of place if you style it correctly. Adding a lamp, a few accessories and leaning art on top of a dresser like this would look great. And you obviously don’t have to use a dresser for clothes if you have other storage needs (books, toiletries, shoes, anything goes!) I’m currently using a dresser as a media stand. If you need a place for a television, try a colorful media console like this one. You’ll be able to use the cabinets as great hidden storage.

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Hope this was all helpful for you and any of my readers with a similar problem!

Thanks to Tiffany for writing in and for info on how to submit your questions to Studio Style Blog, click here.

Ask Studio Style Blog: Volume III

Taking a little break from the Shop Love series to throw in another volume of Ask Studio Style Blog!

Tierra from North Carolina asks:

I’m a soon-to-be-graduate moving to DC this summer to begin a residency. My most needed purchase is a convertible sofa – so that I can lounge comfortably but also host friends and family when needed. My last couch before grad school was from IKEA, but it’s on it last legs and I’d rather another brand, if possible. Do you have any other suggestions for a convertible sofa that are under $600? Thanks!

Studio Style Blog Response:

A quality (and hopefully stylish) convertible/sleeper sofa for under $600 puts us in the needle in a haystack category but I did manage to find a couple options after a ton of research! 🙂 Also, I’m including several options at other price points as well. If your budget allows, I’d consider investing in something with a slightly higher price tag. It will last you many years and you won’t have to keep buying replacements so often. Hope this helps either way and good luck with the move. You can find all of my moving tips and advice here.

$600 and under:

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Urban Outfitters

Ask Studio Style Blog: Volume II

It’s time for another edition of Ask Studio Style Blog!
Check out Volume I here. For info on how to submit your questions to Studio Style Blog, click here.
Design Dilemma:
I came across your instagram/website and love the work you do (your decoration is truly adorable)! I was wondering if I could get some decorating/design advice for my open/one bedroom loft space. I have two empty corners and am not quite sure what to do with them (things to put on the wall, potential small furniture pieces, etc). I’d love your feedback and any suggestions you might have!
I just moved into a new place and am trying to figure out what to do with an empty corner by my bed. How would you decorate the space? Any furniture pieces you’d use, or things you’d put on the wall? I have very high ceilings, and the area looks pretty bare – I want to warm the place up a bit!
 
-Tina (Washington, DC)
 

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All photos are from Tina

Studio Style Blog Response:

First off, I think the space is gorgeous and I love what you’ve done with it so far! I’ll break this post down into a few options and ideas for the space.

Advice for the walls:

  • Create a large gallery wall: along with the art and accents you have now, consider filling up that entire wall with other art, framed prints, accessories, etc. It will definitely ground the space and draw your eye to that wall.
  • Paint (if possible): depending on your restrictions with management/landlords, etc. I would consider painting if you’re up for it. A darker grey would look great in the room. If you’re really feeling adventurous, paint the ceiling! I’ve blogged about this new trend and it really makes the space feel warmer and luxurious.
  • Add wall-mounted shelving: if you’re in need of additional storage, consider adding a few wall-mounted shelves. You could add books, small accessories, etc. A few favorite resources for shelves: West Elm // CB2 // Ikea // The Container Store 

Advice for the space:

  • Switch out one nightstand: Disclaimer: I love those nightstands, I just think you might be able to re-purpose one (entry table, accent table next to a chair or sofa, etc) and replace it with a larger piece of furniture. If you take away the nightstand closest to the mirror and replace it with a taller, longer, simple desk, it could add visual interest to the space and help fill the empty corner. A desk could duel-function as a nightstand and could also be a great little spot to get ready in the morning, or to display art, jewelry, etc.

OR 

  • Add furniture: if you keep both nightstands in place, perhaps add a tall bookshelf in the corner, a comfortable accent chair or even a tall plant to help fill the space. Do keep height in mind. Anything with a bit of height will really help fill the space and not make the ceilings look so far away.

PLUS:

  • Purchase a rug: this will be the easiest way to warm up the space. It looks like you have a couple neutral elements in the room right now, so a rug with pattern will really bring visual interest and personality to the space.

Ask Studio Style Blog: Volume I

My first installment of Ask Studio Style Blog has arrived! As I mentioned before, please email me your questions (studiostyleblog@gmail.com)  and I’ll answer them on the blog! These don’t have to be limited to studio apartment questions, just FYI.

Gia in Baltimore asks:

I just moved into a studio apartment in Baltimore. I was just wondering how you affixed the cover around your bed. How did you hang it? Where did you get the materials from?
Also, I’m having so much trouble finding a sofa bed that is a decent size, not too big. I want guests to have a place to sleep if they visit. I’ve been scouring your blog for inspiration and ideas and would love any extra input you can provide. Thank you.
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Part One: 
I used Ikea’s Dignitet system to hang the curtains around my bed. I purchased two sets of these and one of these. I ended up with more than I needed, but better to have a bit of extra wiring and materials. I also suggest taping (masking tape is easiest) around your space before installing the system to get a feel for how high you want your curtains and how close or far away you want them hanging from your bed. My curtains (I used seven panels) are from World Market and can be purchased here.
Steps:
1. Measure and tape around the area
2. Drill holes on the wall an inch or two from the ceiling where you want curtains to start and end. Drill holes in ceiling for corner piece where the curtains will ‘turn’
3. Install Dignitet system per Ikea instructions
4. Tie on curtains and you’re done! If you don’t choose tie-ons, you’ll need to hang them on the wire before installing the system, obviously.
You’ll need a power drill and a helper! This is definitely a two person job.
Part two:
Stylish, affordable sleeper sofas are definitely more difficult to find. I bought mine at Club Furniture and absolutely love it. The price tag is fairly high, but I’ll have it for years to come, it’s holding up really well after two years and the bed is great for guests to use several times a year.
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A few additional options for sleeper sofas are below:
This one from Ikea is a new version of one I had in one of my first DC apartments and left behind with an old roommate but it’s a good sleeper sofa at a decent price.
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Ikea
This one from Wayfair is a really affordable option and has great reviews.
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Wayfair
Macy’s has a stylish option that’s on sale right now, though I can’t speak to the quality.
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Macy’s
At the top of the price range, this option from West Elm is one of my favorites and comes in several colors. West Elm makes really quality pieces and I’m sure this is no exception.
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West Elm

Hope that helps and thanks for emailing Studio Style Blog!

Ask Studio Style Blog: New Feature

Interior design questions? Product sources? Floor plan dilemmas?

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Hello, Studio Style Blog readers! I get quite a few emails, Instagram questions and blog comments asking various questions about my apartment, where to shop for furniture, how to design a studio apartment, etc… So I thought I would start a new feature of the blog and answer your questions in future posts. This way, it will be a good resource for all readers. Here’s how it will work:

Email me at studiostyleblog@gmail.com with your questions. Depending on the volume of emails, I’ll post a question and my answer on the blog a couple times each month.

Please be as detailed as possible in your question and feel free to send a link or small photo attachment if it applies. However, please keep emails to a reasonable length. Along with your question, include your first name and where you’re from. I will post first names only, to keep the process relatively anonymous. If you do choose to send photos, please know that they might be included in my post along with your question, and your first name will be credited next to the photo.

Thanks for reading and I’m looking forward to all of your questions!