Whenever I need inspiration for home decor I often turn to Joanna Gaines. I learned a lot of what I know about interior design from watching Fixer Upper and reading her blog. It can be a bit discouraging, however, to want a Joanna Gaines worthy home when at this time in your life you live in an apartment. Not having full access to make a home your own due to restrictions from your landlord can make it seem impossible to make an apartment a dream home.
I have fallen victim to this a few times, letting my home be cute and put together - but nothing to write home about. I figured it was not worth it to make my apartment everything I wanted because it was a temporary home. But I urge you not to wait. Whether we are in a studio apartment or a $1M dollar dream home, our homes affect our mood, our productivity and how we live day to day. I am here to tell you, it's worth it no matter what.
Usually, apartments lack character, color, and personality. Having such a blank canvas without much control over it can seem daunting. It might not even seem worth it to invest too much into a (probably) temporary home. But it's important to make a home YOUR home.
Even though you will not have full creative ability in an apartment, there are simple ways you can turn your apartment into a cozy, farmhouse masterpiece without drastic changes to your home. Sometimes in life, we are handed situations that are not ideal - we can let this keep us down or we can make the most of what we have. Here are a few simple ways you can take what you have, and turn it into a Fixer Upper dream apartment!
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Farmhouse decor creates a dreamy, warm and cozy home. With lots of charm, character, and antiques this type of interior design balances the old and new for a relaxing yet savvy environment to enjoy. When working to create a farmhouse style we need to include certain elements to achieve this look.
The first step you need to take is to talk with your landlord about what you can and cannot do in your apartment. This will set up clear boundaries and help you get a clear plan started for what you want, and can, to do in your apartment. When you are chatting with your landlord talk about not only what you can do but what they would expect your apartment to look like when you leave it. If you make changes, you might have to return the apartment to the way you found it when you first arrived. This is also good for you because you can take any hardware, etc you bought for your next home or sell it!
Whether you live in a rental home or in an apartment complex get in writing what is and is not allowed and save this in your records.
Alright, let's get to it!
The design choices you make in an apartment are just as important as any choice you would make in a home. Don't compromise because you are in apartment even if you know it's not your forever home. Now, this does not mean to spend spend spend but be intentional about your space and what you put in it.
In addition to painting or if you can't paint you will want to add in more color into your home. Pillows and throws are a great way to introduce bold or subtle colors and textures. You can add a lot of personal flare and exude comfort with the pillows you choose. You can even get pillow covers to change throughout the year for different seasons and holidays!
One of the things that sticks out to me most about Joanna Gaines and her designs is her use of plants throughout each home. Adding this greenery adds a sense of nature, color, and interesting pattern. They can add visual interest to an otherwise boring corner of a room. Plants can also give you a sense of responsibility and accomplishment while taking care of them.
I myself am nearing 30 plants..(!) I love to use them in every room and even have a few faux plants to decorate with as well! Which is totally fine too if you do not have a green thumb. So here are a few ways that Joanna Gaines uses plants to decorate in her Fixer Upper designs!
Most of Joanna's designs are pulled together by an amazing rug. Purchasing rugs for different rooms can bring a lot of personality and character to your home. Whether you want to add more color, texture, pattern, or all of the above, a rug is a great way to pull together the design of a room.
Farmhouse rugs are often very cozy (textured) and have vintage patterns. Here are some of my favorite rugs for this look. Make sure to get the right size rug for your space. It should not be wall to wall but should be big enough for each piece of furniture to have its front legs on.
Farm homes are filled with natural, neutral palletes. The idea behind the subdued colors is that the room has been lived in for a while. This color scheme is also more traditional which elevates the pieces which you will add later. While you might not be able to control all the color in a room, do what you can with what you have.
Slipcovers are functional and practical while remaining cozy, relaxed and elegant. You can also remove and wash these which is a HUGE bonus! Slipcover couches are a favorite of Joanna just in front of leather couches.
Black iron brings a modern and clean touch to the farmhouse style and it is no secret that Joanna Gaines loves it. This detail can add a much-needed contrast and freshness to your rustic home. While you won't be making this your stairway railing, you can add it in other ways through furniture.
Wood accents bring warmth and rich color to this style as they contrast against your neutral color scheme. When you are picking out your furniture, take time to bring wood accents into your home. Joanna likes to do this through coffee tables, book shelves and shelves.
Exposed brick and stone
While you cannot uncover any brick in your home, if it is already there, let it shine.
Use a variety of textures
One thing that sets farmhouse apart from other styles is the use of various rich textures. Mix and match, get creative. This is the number 1 trick from Jojo. Don't hesitate to bring in a lot of different textures. This makes a home cozy and warm.
Distressed: Elements that are worn and torn fit in perfectly into the farmhouse look.
Vintage pieces: Vintage and worn pieces bring in the rustic aspect needed for a farmhouse. When searching for pieces look for solid struct but worn exteriors. Mix and match with new elements in your home to create a balance of the old and new.
Fighting Small Spaces
When Joanna Gaines decorates a home, it is all about open space. They never feel crowded and each room has a functional flow. This can be a challenge since you won't be knocking down any walls. Here are a fews ways to make the most of even the smallest of spaces.
Focus on lighting
Lighting is key regardless of what type of home you live in. Take advantage of all the natural lighting you can. Making sure your window treatments don't cover any part of the window that would bring in more light. If you can change the light fixture to something that will be brighter that might be the way to go in some rooms!
Change the window treatment
Most apartments come with standard basic white blinds that are not very easy on the eyes. Taking these down and swapping them for curtains or other, prettier blinds will go a loooonnggg way. This will transform a room quickly.
Add more storage
Invest in some furniture that can be used as unique extra storage. In most apartments, the biggest issue is that there is never enough storage. You will need to be very intentional about the pieces you choose to purchase for your apartment in order to gain the extra storage space.
Keep it functional
In smaller spaces, you want to focus on the essentials for the room to function. There's not a lot of room for extra pieces of furniture or large decor. Decide what the bare minimums are for the space and stick to only those items.
Opt for a few large pieces rather than a TON of little pieces
When we think of small spaces we often shy away from any large pieces of furniture. Having one or two large pieces will define the room where a lot of smaller pieces will make it feel disjointed and overfull. Make sure that the larger furniture you include FITS in your space. When I say large I do not mean pieces that overflow into the next room or makes it so you cannot move around.
Get a mirror, or two... or three
Mirrors help make a space seem much larger. It is an optical illusion that I gladly welcome in my home and smaller spaces. Having mirrors will also help with lighting, making your small space seem larger and airier.
Don't crowd the room with a lot of small decor items
We think because we have a small space we need to put a lot of small items in the room. This will make the room feel crowded and smaller than it actually is. Like with furniture, go for a few larger pieces than a lot of smaller pieces. It will give definition to the room and let each item meet its full potential.
Lastly, here are some bigger projects you can take on in your apartment. While these take a little more effort, they will be worth it!
Paint if you can
One of the first things you can do in your apartment is paint... if you can. Painting is a great way to add color to your apartment that probably is all one color throughout. Adding just subtle color in one or two of the rooms will add a warmer, more personal touch to your apartment.
Opt for wall paper
While you cannot put up permanent wall paper.. there are a lot of removable wallpaper options now! You can create a statement wall or make a bold statement in the bathroom with fun wallpaper. Scroll through different sites and find one that expresses your style. If you get sick of the paper, you can just take it down!
Swap the hardware on cabinets
This one you might not be able to do in your apartment but it is worth asking your landlord. Again, also make sure to ask what they would like you to do with the hardware you remove. Getting more interesting hardware that fits with your style will give more flare to a room than the basic hardware the landlord installed. Just the small step will give your bathroom or kitchen a major facelift.
Change plumbing hardware (kitchen and bathroom!)
This is a little bit of a bigger DIY but changing out the facets or the showerhead can be a beautiful update. It might even be a functional change that could make your water flow better!
Change light fixtures
Lighting can make or break a room. Opt for iron lantern pendants or metal dome lights. This requires more skill, so make sure you don't take on any projects you don't understand to keep you and your home safe.
Staging and Styling
The last step to making all of your stuff form a home is how you style it. Here is a list of styling posts I have put together for you!