12 Brilliant Pet-Friendly Tips from Apartment Therapy House Tours

12 Brilliant Pet-Friendly Tips from Apartment Therapy House Tours

Home just wouldn’t be the same without the cats, dogs, and other creatures that share our spaces, but living with pets does come with its challenges (Lots of extra stuff to store! Accidents on the rug! Scratched sofa arms!). Luckily, this is where a wealth of tips and tricks from Apartment Therapy home tours come in handy. Below, check out some favorite decor hacks and pointers for living with your cutest roommates

1. Move plants up high to save them from cat claws. 

In Zoë Withered’s Seattle ranch house, decorating with both cats and houseplants in mind proves a challenge. “When I design, I try to make sure my plants are 1) getting adequate sun, 2) out of reach of claws and teeth, and 3) aesthetically pleasing. It doesn’t sound that challenging, but it’s surprisingly complicated to find spots that fit the parameters,” she says. She achieves this through hanging pots, high tables, “strategically-placed” grow lights, and tall homemade plant stands. 

2. Mask scratched upholstery with something that’s probably already in your living room.

A clawed-up couch can feel inevitable with cats in the house, but with a couple throw blankets tossed over the arms – as they are in Lisa Vanin’s 390-square-foot Toronto studio — you’d never know about any pet-made marks or scratches underneath.

3. Opt for leather furniture and hardwood floors for easier clean-up. 

Having rescued, fostered, and rehabilitated dogs for years, BJ and Mae know a thing or two about keeping their Akron, Ohio, home pet-friendly. A few of the things they’ve found? Brown furniture, leather materials, and hardwood floors make it easier to clean up messes. 

4. Know you don’t have to sacrifice style when you become a pet parent.

“I have a 3-year-old long-haired Chihuahua named Starla who I love more than anything. The biggest challenge I faced when designing my home was incorporating pet furniture for Starla to blend in with the style of my home,” says Chad Rogers of his Beverly Hills condo. “Through the process, I learned that more and more furniture designers are realizing the importance of chic and sophisticated pet furniture. From beds that come in any style to a wide variety of water bowls, these days you can find just about anything to suit your specific taste.”

5. Keep your pets in mind when planning renovations.

If and when you remodel your home, consider how certain items and materials will fare with pets around. When Caroline redid her Upper West Side pad, she went with white IKEA cabinets over custom wood — they’re lower in cost, and she knew her parrots would eat the latter! 

6. …And when buying furniture. 

Learn from Erica and Dave’s misstep: The couple says they chose the purple velvet sofa in their Somerville, Massachusetts, home because someone told them cats don’t like velvet. And now? “The cats shred our sofas with their claws like it’s their job,” they say. 

7. Hide litter boxes out of plain sight.

In the Chicago apartment that Shannon Buckley and Nick Huertas share with their three cats, Shannon says “Nick is the DIY king, hands down.” His projects include an IKEA shelf unit that he made into a home for two litter boxes, and a third litter box made out of two old wine crates. “It’s the first thing you see walking in the front door of the apartment, so you would think it’d be super obvious and an eye sore, but he disguised them so well,” Shannon says. 

8. When decorating, factor in your pets’ needs. 

They are members of the family, after all. Jaimee Dormer says it’s important for her, her husband Adam Lodynsky, and their cats to feel “happy, inspired, and comfortable” in their Pasadena, California home. Their space includes dedicated spots to create this feeling, such as a perch attached under a windowsill for the felines. 

9. And let them find their spots naturally. 

Liz originally DIYed the bench in her and Brendan’s D.C. apartment as a surface for their houseplants. However, their cat, Vincent, loves lounging on the piece to soak up some vitamin D. 

10. Incorporate decor items inspired by your pets, too.

Take a page out Terra Loire’s book and zhuzh up simpler furniture with pieces that celebrate your furry friends. In Loire’s Toronto apartment, she placed ceramic Siamese cats that remind her of her own, Pyewacket, on a white side table in the living room.

11. Bring in extra storage if you need it. 

Living in an older home without much built-in storage, Apartment Therapy House Tour Director Adrienne Breaux and Keith Fields struggled with ways to store items, including pet food supplies, in the kitchen of their New Orleans duplex. They maximized storage by bringing in a vintage cabinet and vintage wooden trunk.  

12. Or go for storage that does double-duty.

Why fill floor space with a storage unit and a climbing tower when you can have both in one piece? In the Queensland, Australia, home Katie Day and her partner share with their three cats, a wooden shelving unit doubles as a ladder for the cats to climb.

What Exactly Is a Decade Dabbler (And Are You One?)

What Exactly Is a Decade Dabbler (And Are You One?)

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Some people are entirely devoted to the looks of certain past decades. I have great admiration for those homeowners and renters who found a time period of style they love and entirely commit themselves (and their interiors). Whether they are inspired by their home’s 1920s architectural origins, or just in love with the vibes of the groovy ’70s, it’s fun to see how folks respect the past and honor retro roots. And while time capsule homes and the devotees of them will always be inspiring to me, there’s a new type of designer that’s dipping into the past to create unparalleled interiors. And I’m coining the term: “Decade Dabblers.”

What is a Decade Dabbler, you ask? It’s someone who’s absolutely inspired and energized by colors, textures, shapes, patterns, and other throwback elements from more than one of the past’s most stylish decades. Florals and wood-paneled walls from the ’60s. Macramé and oranges and browns from the ’70s. Neon, grids, and Memphis-inspired squiggles from the ’80s. Instead of meticulously applying one decade’s details across the board, Decade Dabblers pick and choose design elements that most speak to them, throw them in a virtual blender, and come up with interior looks that, while inspired by the past, are entirely one-of-kind.

There’s nothing new under the sun, and everything old is new again. Those two adages apply to every design field. So what is one to do if you’re hankering for a home that looks different? With Decade Dabbling, you can take notes from the folks below who lift fun details, play with them in different ways, add their own personality into the mix, and create spaces that are utterly unique.

This Philadelphia house combines the ’50, ’60s, ’70s, and more

Homeowner: Sue Liedke
Age of the home: 1970s
Youngest/newest item in the home: “I just changed out my shower curtain for a trendy heavy duty pink polyurethane number from QuietTown, which doesn’t match the mid-century era of my bathroom, but I think it interacts with it nicely! When the sun is rising, it comes through the shower curtain and makes the whole upstairs glow.”
Oldest items in the home: “The cedar chest (which I use as TV stand, filled with DVDs I can’t part with yet) belonged to my great grandfather. And my bedroom set was my grandparents’! They bought it in the early sixties.”

Sue Liedke explains that she’s a Decade Dabbler because, “I’m not a purist! I tend to seek out items that speak to me, and incorporate them into my design, whether or not they’re period-accurate.” Her South Philadelphia home was built in the 1970s, but she’s filled it with decor from many eras, particularly the 1960s and 1970s. You can see her Decade Dabbling especially well when it comes to wallpaper choices. The paper in the vestibule is from the 1950s, the bathroom and kitchen wallpaper is from the 1970s, but she also mixed in contemporary patterns found on Spoonflower that complemented her home’s style.

“Ever since I was a kid I’ve enjoyed ‘old things,’ and as a thrifting teenager, I was especially drawn to late mid-century, and still am! It’s also a good fit for my house in particular because, like many houses in South Philly, it experienced a makeover around that time, so the bones of the kitchen and bathroom were ready for me to (softly) update and embrace them,” she describes.

Her advice for designing a home that mixes different decade designs: “It’s easy to create cohesion, even with different eras represented, if you’re choosing items that speak to you,” she writes. “A house that’s too perfectly a time capsule would have an inauthentic feel. There’s something natural about an old house that’s gone through years of updates and remodels. As homeowners review what works well, what they want to keep, what they want to change, the house evolves. The same should happen with decor!”

This Montreal home blends the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s

Homeowners: Roxanne Arsenault and Pascal Desjardins
Decor time periods represented: “Our home is time travel, covering the late sixties to the late ’80s. We did not dabble in another decade yet — but the ’90s is right there flirting with us! It’s just a matter of years…”

“We are definitely Decade Dabblers for all the warmth of the ’60s and ’70s and for the boldness the ’80s can add to a home,” admits Roxanne. Their eccentric and colorful home in Montreal is a mix of patterns and textures of the ’70s, along with colors and shapes of the ’80s. And they created their unique home using era-authentic decor elements and furniture pieces from the ’60s, ’70, and ’80s, all found either on the internet or in thrift stores.

It’s not only vintage elements in their home, though. Both art lovers, the couple folds in contemporary artwork throughout the home’s rooms, mixing and blending with throwback looks. And they admit to having contemporary, updated appliances like a dishwasher, washer and dryer, etc., that they try to hide or disguise so as not to take away from the vintage vibes.

Their advice for creating a beautiful home that embraces more than one era’s design styles? “Our advice would be to respect each element of your decor, not for one to overpower another. You have to choose a focus, and then work over it to create a balance. A mish-mash is exactly the contrary: too many colors, textures — too many things that want your attention. But you can definitely go all the way and add so many details if this is respected. It’s a balanced intensity.”

This Miami apartment takes design cues from the ’60s, ’90s, and the Art Deco era

Renters: Dani Klarić, her boyfriend Bello
Youngest/newest item in the home: Transparent speaker. “It’s a Swedish see-through speaker that I solely got because of the unique design!”
Oldest items in the home: The original 1980s Post Modern pink bedroom set. “This set lives in my guest room and I adore it with my whole life. I actually stumbled upon it at an estate sale and ended up falling in love with it. Now the plan is to hold it for my kids one day!”

I buy and collect house items from different eras. My love for vintage design is so strong that I started to decorate homes for my clients inspired by these eras,” writes Dani, explaining why she, too, is a Decade Dabbler. The home she rents with her boyfriend was inspired by the Art Deco era, but also shows hints of style from the 1960s through the 1990s. She says she was even inspired by mid-century designs, too. No decade is off-limits, in Dani’s opinion.

“As an eclectic interior decorator, I believe that there is no way to go wrong with mixing different styles and eras. If anything, that’s what I find myself doing the most with my projects. There’s nothing more beautiful than seeing multiple design styles merge,” she writes. So how does she keep her home and the homes she designs for clients from looking like a hodge-podge of mismatching elements?

“The easiest way to create harmony, especially when merging interior design styles, is to choose a specific color palette (three to eight colors) and stick to it!” Dani advises. “Decor, in my opinion, is something very personal so I always recommend to stay true to yourself and your taste! Always add personality into your interior style. You can do this by blending designs from different eras. For example, you can add modern wall art to contrast antique style furniture pieces or add accent pieces like a mid-century modern chair next to a traditional living room sofa. It’s all about balance and choosing similarities in design like colors, wood tones, lines, and scale to pull it all together. Lastly, you can always make sure to balance these styles out by placing more than one piece of the same style in a room so that it doesn’t look out of place!”

This Maryland rental mixes mid-century modern design with the ’70s and ’80s

Renter: Anna Liles
Age of the home: 1973
Decor time periods represented: Most of the furniture is from the ’60s, ’70s, or early ’80s

Anna hasn’t let renting her home, this 1973 house in Maryland, get in the way of being a Decade Dabbler. “I absolutely love to mix different styles from different times. I use a lot of modern, current textiles such as linens, throw pillows, and rugs to keep our home fresh,” Anna writes. “I mix them with the classic clean lines of the 1960s, the super graphics and fun of the 1970s, and the Post Modern shapes, and colors from the 1980s. I think they can all work together when the pieces and accessories are thoughtfully chosen. I also like the fact that it’s sustainable to mix styles from different eras. Most people can’t afford to change out all of their home decor every few years.”

In Anna’s opinion there are really no decades that don’t go together when it comes to blending decor from different eras. “Nowadays I honestly think you can pretty much mix anything if you have certain elements that tie the room together. I love that you can incorporate family heirlooms with more modern pieces. I love the personality and warmth that comes with mixing different textures, materials, and styles,” she writes.

Anna explains that one of the ways to blend different decor styles together successfully is with accessories. “For instance a bold rug and some bright pillows can really modernize vintage furniture. Rooms can have unexpected elements but they should feel cohesive. Sometimes it’s a color scheme that brings it together, sometimes it’s the mixing of similar shapes, styles, or patterns. Don’t be afraid to mix your different pieces. It might not always work but you might be surprised. If you don’t love it you can always change it up. Be brave!”

This piece is part of Throwback Month, where we’re revisiting vintage styles, homes, and all kinds of groovy, retro home ideas. Boogie on over here to read more!

Adrienne Breaux

House Tour Editor

Adrienne loves architecture, design, cats, science fiction and watching Star Trek. In the past 10 years she’s called home: a van, a former downtown store in small town Texas and a studio apartment rumored to have once been owned by Willie Nelson.

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8 Brilliant Layout Hacks from Apartment Therapy House Tours

8 Brilliant Layout Hacks from Apartment Therapy House Tours

With any space, it’s tricky to figure out the perfect layout. But when it’s your first apartment? That takes tricky to a whole new level. Chances are you don’t have much experience to glean from, nor do you have the square footage of your dreams (yet!). On the bright side, there’s plenty of opportunity to experiment and get creative with how you want to set up your space. And it’s important: Being intentional about designing an apartment you love will help you feel at home before you know it. 

One of our favorite places to take inspiration from is, of course, Apartment Therapy’s home tours. We’ve seen some ingenious layout hacks that have blown us away when it comes to maximizing space and joy. Ahead, find eight favorites that will make laying out your first apartment a total breeze.

Section Off Spaces with Rugs

This might be the oldest trick in the book, but it really does work wonders. Blogger and designer Erika Carlock opted for a small rug to create a dining nook in her Los Angeles rental since there was no formal eating area. You can also use rugs to section off a living area or bedroom. It allows for a more cohesive look in that part of your apartment — and, as a bonus, adds softness and texture for a more grounded aesthetic.

Maximize Vertical Space (and Open Up Floor Space) with Floating Shelves

Transform a Closet into an Office

If you’ve got a spare closet but not much room elsewhere, converting it into an office might be your best bet, like lingerie brand founder Maddie Flanigan did in her approximately 500-square-foot Philadelphia home. Just add in some removable wallpaper and you can set a whole new vibe for your WFH setup. It actually feels a lot more private than just placing a desk in your living area or bedroom, so you can have a clearer separation between your work and home life.

Split Your Open Concept with Shelving

An open concept can be wonderful — but sometimes in a small space it can feel like everything is blending together. So, a Brooklyn couple separated their 600-square-foot abode with a minimal, airy shelf that doubles as decor. Because it’s not as chunky as a traditional divider, it offers an open-concept feel while still acting as a boundary. Bonus: It means a chance to showcase (and store away) all those extra trinkets.

Think Beyond the Walls for Couch Placement

Pushing your furniture against the walls of a small space can actually make it appear even smaller. So, try out some different placements with your couch, even if it seems wacky at first. For instance, this Brooklyn resident placed an emerald loveseat smack in the middle of her 400-square-foot apartment, and it totally works. She shows that having a couch in the “middle” of a space can actually act as a boundary between different sections of your apartment — and make the room appear larger than it is.

Use Plants to Carve Out a Nook

If you, too, will take any excuse to add a plant to your space, use one (or several) to corner off an area. In this 700-square-foot apartment, a Québec City renter did just that, designating her work space by surrounding it with plants. It’s a great way to seamlessly create a separate section of your apartment. Plus, it adds life and brightness, which can help boost visual appeal and mood. 

Turn Your Collection into a Display

If you’re a collector — whether of paintings, plants, or skateboards — hang your treasures on a decorative wall instead of letting them take up valuable square footage. That’s exactly what communications professional Nicole Cueto did with a hat collection in her one-bedroom apartment. The hack clears up room for pieces that actually need ground space, delineates an area of your home, and allows you to enjoy the artistry of your hobby — a win-win-win situation.

Not a bunk bed, but a bed loft! Elevating your bed frees up a ton of space — enough for music teacher Kirsten Lindberg to have a “walk-in closet” in her eensy, 219-square-foot apartment. If you’re up for a good DIY project, this hack’s options are endless: Tuck a work desk, art studio, or storage solution underneath. It’s smart, convenient, and certainly creative.

59 of the Best, Most Beautiful Bedrooms We’ve Ever Seen

59 of the Best, Most Beautiful Bedrooms We’ve Ever Seen

February is Bedroom Month on Apartment Therapy! We’re sharing stories all month about bedrooms — from how to decorate them, to the fascinating history of them, and so much more. Head over here to see them all!

In a lot of people’s homes, living rooms get all the glory and sure, it makes sense. Living rooms are typically big, high-traffic areas with the most opportunity to design, gather, and relax. For some families, it’s the most important space in their homes. If you ask a realtor, though, they’d probably tell you that “kitchens and bathrooms sell houses.” So at the end of the day, when it comes to the best place in a home, it really just depends on who you ask.

Bedrooms are in a lane of their own and it’s time they got more shine. Whether you live alone but like to entertain, or you share your home with other people, your bedroom should be a space for you to be yourself. If you’re feeling creative, you can go full on maximalist and fill the space with all the things you enjoy. You could even create a zen, relaxed vibe ideal for lounging and endless naps. Bedrooms are as personal as it gets, and no two are the same. Here are 59 of the best, most beautiful bedrooms that we’ve ever seen from people who’ve shared their homes on Apartment Therapy.

Creative and DIY bedrooms

From stenciled murals, to cool headboards, to one seriously awesome plant wall, these bedrooms are notable for their amazingly creative and one-of-kind ideas, many of which were DIYed by the residents themselves.

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1. They’ve got stencils, symbols, and shapes for days.

Emma Jane Palin and her partner Joshua John Parker transformed a run-down rental in the UK with art, color, and tons of character. One of the coolest things they did inside the home was bring new life into this bedroom with fun shapes and bold colors. The painted stripes and scallops trim around the ceiling of the room are cooler than any peel and stick wallpaper you could buy, and the DIY art ties everything together.

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2. Murals belong everywhere, especially on dressers.

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3. Give it up for a bold headboard and the mannequin in the corner.

Rachael Havenhand took “adding a pop of color” to a whole other level in what was once “a beautiful, but so very beige” home in Sheffield, England. Her entire 830-square-foot home is original, eccentric, and over the top in the very best way, and her bedroom is no exception. The hot pink headboard paired with the purple painted walls is the perfect combination for a bold, one-of-a-kind bedroom. No wonder she loves it.

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4. We guarantee you’ve never seen a greenery wall done quite like this.

TikTok is a fun place to retreat from everyday life because of creators like Taylor BeepBoop. So, it’s no surprise that her colorful condo in San Francisco is just as vibrant and inspiring as she is. In her bedroom, Taylor covered nearly a wall with bright, lush, faux leaves to create a DIY headboard that’s got us green with envy.

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5. What could be better than a pastel rainbow headboard? A hot pink fireplace.

 Kate Forsyth and Dave Bunting have covered their home with soft pinks and pretty pastels and filled it with “a glorious mix of old and new.” Their primary bedroom in particular is like a master class on how to incorporate cool colors while preserving character in a home. They DIYed an arched, rainbow-colored headboard to bring in something new, and painted the old fireplace a hot pink to tie it all together.

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6. Funky wallpaper creates an illusion on the ceiling — and we’re big fans.

If you’re into bold prints and patterns, then you probably already know about the magical world of peel-and-stick wallpaper. Shea Keating and her husband Rich Lamiroult have a fun, colorful, and eclectic home so, naturally, there’s cool wallpaper everywhere — even their bedroom ceiling. To make their bedroom even more magical, they put wallpaper on the blades of the ceiling fan for a super cool illusion so seamless you just might miss it.

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Credit: Carina Romano

7. Wallpaper applied in a circle shape.

If you find yourself in awe of the wonders of wallpaper, then you’ll love Sue Liedke‘s bedroom. “There are seven different prints(!) in my home which seems like a lot… but I tried to use it in ways that don’t overwhelm you in the space,” Sue says. One way she did this was by creating a large circle with patterned wallpaper that serves as the focal point of her bedroom.

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8. Wood becomes a cool 3-D pattern in this DIY-filled bedroom.

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9. Proof that closets can use a little color, too.

Incredibly colorful bedrooms

When splashed with vibrant hues, bedrooms become bold spaces that can energize you.

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Credit: Carina Romano

10. A bold wallpaper nook complements a bold wall color.

This colorful nook in Chanae Richards‘ bedroom should go down in the accent wall hall of fame. While Richards considers her 1600-square-foot home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a “minimalist retreat,” the primary bedroom is anything but. The bright teal walls and her grandmother’s leopard print robe give the room of a “Jungalow vibe,” but the floral wallpapered nook is the star of the show.

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11. In a house full of pastels, this primary bedroom’s purple is perfect.

When Anna and Richard first moved into their Lincoln Square condo in Chicago, Illinois, all they wanted to do was paint and pack as much color into each room as possible. “Every wall was gray, so the first thing we did was paint every single room a different pastel color,” Anna says. She took a bold and fearless approach everywhere she could, but the bedroom is a real work of art boasting pastel purple walls.

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12. You won’t be blue in this bedroom painted in shades of blue.

“My style is fresh, creative, and full of vibrant color that makes us happy,” Anna Jacobs says of her colorful three-bedroom flat in the UK. While the entire home is cheery and delightful, Anna’s main bedroom offers the ultimate source of joy in at least four different shades of blue.

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13. Graffiti meets abstract art in this guest bedroom.

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14. The custom chair matches the wallpaper in this sleep space.

Jaclyn Madar is living in her first “grown-up” apartment in Montreal and decided to decorate it with a style she calls “spirited vintage.” Jaclyn hired a designer named Adrianna who used a sleigh bed, bold patterns, and dark shades of green and blue to display that style inside her bedroom. Another cool, unique detail the designer added was having the vintage chair custom painted by Mixxy Design to match the striped wall covering, which really makes this room one-of-a-kind.

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15. Colorful lightening bolts makes an electric headboard.

Each room in Kate Forsyth and Dave Bunting’s Australia home has a different vibe and loads of personality — their son Remy’s bedroom is no exception. Their best piece of advice (and what they live by when decorating) is simple: “Ignore what’s trendy.” So naturally, Remy’s colorful bedroom sports bright teal walls, a few different shades of green, and a very cool headboard made of rainbow lightning bolts.

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16. A bold blue wall paint color electrifies this bedroom.

Amy Shirlaw‘s 850-square-foot apartment in Edinburgh, Scotland, is bursting with color and gorgeous vintage decor. Amy’s design style is eclectic, arty, and cozy and her bedroom is a perfect example. The walls are painted a really bright, electric shade of blue that makes the entire room look like a framed work of art.

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17. The mural on this wall literally looks like the sun.

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18. If this doesn’t make you want to paint a mural in your house, nothing will.

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19. The wallpaper matches the bedding in this patterned bedroom.

Dani Dazey and Phillip Butler own a 1200-square-foot home in Los Angeles that serves as a master class on how to perfectly pair bold patterns and prints. There’s cool wallpaper just about everywhere, and this bedroom might have the best one. What’s even cooler, is that both the bedding and wallpaper came from Hygge&West and they have the exact same print.

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20. Color makes this bedroom a “sexy coffin.”

Blogger and event planner Libby Rasmussen is a proud maximalist who loves using color and bold patterns. “I also have a penchant for old furniture, Depression glass, velvet, and florals,” Libby says. Her bedroom, which she and her friend Shannon jokingly call #ProjectSexyCoffin, is a beautiful collection of all the things she loves like floral wallpaper, funky art, and disco balls, of course.

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21. Can’t decide on one wallpaper print? Use them all!

Annie Price and her partner Jamie Paterson own a creative, vintage-inspired home in Victoria, Australia. Annie and Jamie put a cool spin on wallpaper in their bedroom by mismatching seven different patterns. The pretty pom-pom lined headboard (made by Annie) also adds a nice, personal touch while still sticking with the vintage theme.

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22. Hello bright and airy, meet colorful and eclectic.

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23. Funky art, a velvet headboard, and a bold wallpaper color make this bedroom chic.

“I am an interior designer with a limited budget,” Kara says. “So it was a fun challenge to turn an apartment with popcorn ceiling into a space that I can proudly call my own.” Her entire 708-square-foot apartment in Los Angeles has a clean, modern glam look and her bedroom is just as beautiful. The green velvet-y headboard against the salmon pink walls makes it look super luxe and the chic art ties it all together.

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24. A unique paint job makes this blue bedroom one-of-a-kind.

Ginevra Held lives in a 1200-square-foot apartment with San Francisco, California with her mother Beverly. Their overall style is eclectic, bohemian, French and English, but the bedroom is where Ginevra really let her personality shine. She completely color-blocked the room, decorating with over three different shades of blue. About two thirds of the walls are painting using Farrow & Bal’s St. Giles with a jagged line making the paint job look unfinished, but still like a masterpiece, all at the same time.

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25. Gradient wallpaper makes this bedroom dreamy.

Amy Exton is an interior and set designer who uses vibrant color and patterns to create magical rooms. Each room in her three-story town house in Margate, England is more colorful and vibrant than the next. This particular bedroom has gradient wallpaper halfway up the wall, a shiny blue light pendant, and a cool ceiling medallion that brings it all together.

Calming and serene bedrooms

If bold colors in the bedroom seem too extreme, take notes from the bedrooms below. They use calming colors and soft textures to craft serene bedrooms that will calm.

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26. The combination of art, patterns, and texture in this room is just too good.

AT’s Executive Home Director, Danielle Blundell, has been living in her Upper East Side apartment in New York with her husband for eight years. Their entire place is only 600 square feet, so their bedroom isn’t huge, but it’s definitely designed well. The chunky knit blanket paired with the modern patterned sheets and tufted headboard prove how mixing a few different textures goes a really long way.

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27. This bedroom is giving serious cozy cabin vibes.

Sara Barge, Shelby Goodwin, and Stephanie Gutierrez live in a 1344-square-foot home in Austin, Texas. The overall vibe is relaxed, homey, and inviting, styled with lots of natural textures and neutral tones. While most of the walls in their home are painted shades of white and gray, they took a different approach in this bedroom. With the beautiful wood paneled walls, white sheets, and plants, the only thing missing in this room is a fireplace.

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28. The wall art and neutral color palette create a zen, boho retreat.

Isa Lora Messier‘s love for modern vintage decor and boho vibes has inspired every design choice in her 1500-square-foot home in Montréal, Québec, Canada. She strikes the perfect balance between calm and charming by using a neutral color palette. The fringed light fixture above her bed paired with the macrame wall art create a relaxing boho feel that’s perfect for a bedroom.

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29. Layers of peaches and pinks are giving off soft, 1970s vibes.

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30. It’s so bright and cheery in here, there’s no room for a bad mood.

Chambers Austelle is a contemporary painter and her 1374-square-foot home in Charleston, South Carolina, is full of her beautiful art. Her design style is a mix of traditional and modern, with Parisian inspiration, so her bedroom makes total sense. It’s a mix of bright whites and soft pastels that makes it so bright and cheerful, you can’t help but smile when you see it.

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31. A pink half wall and white sheers balance pops of bold color.

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32. Light green walls are the perfect soothing backdrop in this bedroom.

If you want your home to be bright but you don’t want to do white, then Emma Frank may have found the perfect solution. “Painting was a big priority because I’m super sensitive to colors,” Emma says. So, she and her husband, Pedro, painted their entire 700-square-foot Brooklyn apartment a muted green and it’s absolutely gorgeous.

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33. The black accent wall makes this bedroom a cozy, calming, cave-like space.

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34. Dark gray is the soothing base for this calm bedroom.

If you like a more modern, traditional design style then you’ll love Cass Smith‘s home. Cass lives in a 3600-square-foot house in Virginia with her husband and two daughters. Though they’ve lived here for about two and a half years, she says she’s “still replacing boob lights and working on one room at a time.” One room that looks completely put together is her bedroom, painted a dark shade of gray and styled with clean mid-century modern furniture.

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35. This bedroom is a perfect mix of minimalist and artsy.

 Josie Azuma has a unique style that she considers “mid-century Scandinavian New Orleans eclectic.” In the primary bedroom of her 1800-square-foot New Orleans home, Josie does a great job of pulling all this style together. She’s got a creamy headboard against a clean white wall, with shiny brass light sconces and minimalist art to pull it all together.

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36. The traditional farmhouse style in this bedroom feels like a fairytale.

Sade and her husband, William, live in a cozy colonial 2000-square-foot home in New Jersey with their daughter, Sage, and son, Oliver. The house was built back in 1837 and the whole place is still full of charm and original features that they’ve enhanced along the way. Sade and her husband restored the hardwood floors just about everywhere, and they look especially beautiful in Sage’s soothing bedroom.

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37. The minimalist approach in this bedroom really lets the architecture sing.

Brownstones are known to have striking architecture and charming original features. Shelley V. Worrell and Janluk Stanislas live in a 2600-square-foot brownstone in Flatbush and it’s absolutely gorgeous. Instead of filling their large bedroom with lots of decor and furniture, Shelley and Janluk decided to keep it simple. She styled it simply with bedside tables, lamps, and a ceiling fan from Design Within Reach. Shelley says, “My home was done on a budget for sure. It’s literally a labor of love.”

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38. White paired with light wood creates the perfect Scandi-inspired bedroom.

When it comes to minimalist and Scandi-style rooms, less it always more. Émilie and her daughter Brook shares this bright and airy 700-square-foot apartment in Canada that’s all about clean, earthy vibes. When styling her home (and this bedroom) Émilie’s biggest indulgence was natural wood, “it kind of became an obsession,” she says. Émilie was going for a Scandinavian, vintage sort of look and hit the nail right on the head.

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39. This cool, pink geometric swirl art is way better than a headboard.

Hanging the right art can make a big difference in a space, and Molly Hatch gets it. Each room in her 1450-square-foot home in Florence, Massachusetts, has different art with a different vibe, but this bedroom might be the best. There’s a large, pink modular wall piece above the bed from Bend Goods that makes such a bold statement, she doesn’t even need a headboard.

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40. Wood walls and a black and white color palette give this bedroom Scandi farmhouse vibes.

It’s not everyday that you see Parisian mixed with farmhouse, but Rachael Myers and Samuel Littell took it there. “I would say my style is French farmhouse,” Rachael says, and her favorite element in their 1450-square-foot Lafayette, Louisiana, home is the exposed wood walls. The walls, the floors, and the doors are all white, making it feel Scandi and airy. They still managed to tie in the farmhouse feel with the metal bed frame and vintage furniture.

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41. Gray wainscoting and natural textures create a calm retreat.

Achieving that calming, coastal style doesn’t mean abandoning your love of art and color, and Briony Delves sure didn’t. She went coastal in the bedroom of her 1938-square-foot home in Australia by pairing neutral pastels with textured patterns. The striped linens on her bed and gray wainscoting behind it really steal the show.

Super small bedrooms

When your bedroom happens to lack square feet, you have to use smart storage and furniture arranging skills to fit both a big bed and anything else inside.

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42. Bold color and narrow storage make this small bedroom sing.

When painting smaller rooms, you may consider going with a light color to make the room feel bigger. But Libby Duke says, “Some rooms are just SMALL and it doesn’t matter what color you paint them because they’ll still be small!” With nothing but fun and good vibes in mind, Libby painted her bedroom Benjamin Moore’s “Summer Sun Pink” and it’s a bold and beautiful choice.

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43. Minimal decor and natural textures keep this small bedroom airy.

Since Ryan Sanchez‘s home is a 200-square-foot Airsteam, this may be one of the tiniest bedrooms ever. The bed is pushed into a little nook, so there’s virtually no floor space. Instead of a nightstand with a lamp, he mounted a small light above the bed and lets the natural sunlight from the window do the rest.

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44. This tiny house has a tiny bedroom that’s packed with character.

Rachel Stroly and her husband Logan converted this 700-square-foot garage into a tiny house for Airbnb guests. They built a ladder that leads to an elevated loft area where this bedroom is and nearly 150 people give it five stars! The room has a colorful, cozy, boho vibe with creative touches like mismatched lamps, polka-dots instead of a traditional paint job, and chairs on either side of the bed to serve as nightstands.

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45. This tiny nautical bedroom is soothing and calm.

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46. A shipping container home’s small bedroom embraces industrial.

Rob DePiazza used art, a comfy bed, and beautiful sheets to turn a corner of this shipping container into a cozy bedroom. “The overall theme of the Prince Road Container House (PRCH) is to reveal and celebrate materials and construction techniques that are typically concealed,” DePiazza says. So instead of cover up the wall with plaster and paint, he embraced it, which is the most unique feature in the room.

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Credit: Dustin Walker for Hutch

47. A floating shelf turned out to be a genius space saver in this small bedroom.

When you have a smaller bedroom, but want a full-sized bed like Beatrice Fischel-Bock, then you’ve got to get a little creative. In her small, stylish bungalow in West Hollywood, California, Beatrice utilized the wall space in her bedroom instead of buying a ton of furniture. The floating shelf beneath the TV instead of a dresser is a genius space saver, and the gallery wall behind her bed is her favorite feature in the whole house.

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48. This tiny bedroom is minimalism at its finest.

Fredd Wilson lives happily in a 400-square-foot apartment in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, filled with books, plants, and other things he loves. For the decor, he took an industrial-meets-minimalist approach that’s neutral and modern. In his bedroom, there’s not much art hanging on the exposed brick wall, and a single semi-sheer gray curtain makes the room simple, yet relaxing.

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49. The storage solutions in this tiny bedroom are so smart.

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50. Natural wood and a skylight makes this small bedroom feel much larger than it is.

The bedroom is so small in this 145-square-foot tiny house on wheels, there literally isn’t room for anything but the bed. Of all the things to love in Lee Pera‘s home, this space is her favorite, and for good reason. The light, the natural wood surrounding the bed, and all the sunlight pouring in makes it feel bright and bigger than it actually is. She says, “It’s cozy, but I don’t feel claustrophobic because of the skylight.”

Bedroom areas carved out of a studio

What do you do when your home doesn’t even HAVE an actual wall-off bedroom? Why you get creative to use other ways to distinguish your sleep space from the rest of your home.

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51. Plants and bookcase help define this bedroom corner.

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52. This studio has a bed alcove in what used to be a closet.

In a studio, you have to work with what you’ve got to try and separate your living space from your bedroom. For Franco Cheng, this mean converting the built-in wardrobe near the door into an alcove for a bed in his 450-square-foot studio. He believes (and he’s right) that this helps to strike the balance between enclosure and visibility at the short entryway.

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Credit: Erin Derby

53. At first glance you might miss this bed in this small studio.

With just 350-square-feet, Christine Leahy‘s homey studio apartment in Brooklyn, New York, is not spacious by any means. So, she DIYed a loft bed with a desk underneath. “I wanted a workspace that I could use for my full-time job, but also a large surface where I could explore other creative pursuits that wasn’t in the way,” Christine says. This bed/office combo checks all her boxes, and it’s cute! Oh, and bonus point for all the storage she created, too.

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54. A small studio finds bedroom storage wherever it can.

“At 225 square feet, this apartment has been one of my ‘biggest’ challenges,” Whitney Thayne says, “and the smaller the space, the more you have to dream up space-specific techniques to function.” She’s been renting her Brooklyn Heights studio for over three years and has discovered some genius storage solutions along the way. The most impressive is the “dresser” she built out of narrow IKEA storage pieces, taking up little-to-no floor space.

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55. Turns out, wallpaper is a great way to distinguish two spaces that share a single wall.

In her 315-square-foot apartment on the Upper East Side of New York, Jung Hi Han immediately fell in love with the high ceilings. To accentuate the ceiling in her tiny studio, she went for a beautiful chinoiserie-style wallpaper on the wall behind her bed. Since a studio is essentially one big room, this also does a great job of separating the living space from where she sleeps.

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56. This is a bed nook like you’ve never seen.

You’ve probably seen a murphy bed before. They’re functional space savers that you can pull down or put away when you need them. For Miki Carter‘s bedroom in her 560-square-foot apartment in Pasadena, a murphy bed made the most sense. She decided to mix style with function and jazz up her bed nook by adding a fun hanging textile to really let her personality shine through.

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57. A DIY plywood bed features a built-in nightstand.

Becky Elfes-Terjung and Cliff Lance are a creative couple who love color and displaying art in their 400-square-foot studio. As a display artist, Becky loves to create cool things from scraps and get playful with plywood. She even DIYed a headboard from plywood, a TV stand, and a hutch to store her clothes. If you ask Becky, “Making things isn’t as hard as you may think!”

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58. A bright yellow accent wall and a curtain help divide the bed area in this studio.

Jeremy Lugo and Elaine Musiwa say they gravitate toward two things: color and Scandinavian design. So it makes total sense that their entire home is modern and minimal, but then the bedroom has such a big pop of color. The entire wall behind their oak platform bed is painted a cheerful shade of yellow. The couple says, “this is exactly the mood we wanted to set for ourselves, and for our guests.”

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59. A half curtain and bookcase help divide this bed nook.

There are all sorts of ways to section off your bed area when you live in a 490-square-foot studio. For Amelia Nicholas, she opted for a curtain instead of the traditional wall divider or large piece of furniture. The soft color and material make this a cozier, inviting space to chill. No wonder Amelia’s friends describe her home as a “warm hug.”

Savannah West

Home Assistant Editor

Savannah is a master binge-watcher and home cook. When she’s not testing new recipes or re-watching Gossip Girl, you can find her on Facetime with her grandma. Savannah is a news producer turned lifestyle blogger and professional homebody. She has a bachelors in journalism from Clark Atlanta University, a certification in Digital Storytelling and is earning her Master’s degree from Harvard University. Savannah believes every day is a good day and there’s nothing good food can’t fix.

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9 Smart Pieces of Advice from People Who Excel at Living in a Small Home

9 Smart Pieces of Advice from People Who Excel at Living in a Small Home

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A small space is its own beast in the design world. There are multipurpose uses to consider, efficiency to maximize, storage to produce out of thin air, and that careful line between embracing simplicity and making the home your own.

But with limited square footage struggles come incredible creativity. Several of the most popular small house tours over the past year include owners and renters who chose to move into a tiny space and cultivate a cozy life. From working with the space you have rather than the space you want, to putting sustainability first, to planning design ahead of time, this is the best advice from Apartment Therapy’s small house tours this year.

Secondhand is sustainable.

Caleb Brackney bought a 36-foot 1995 school bus on Facebook Marketplace for $3,000 and turned it into his own tiny home. The architecture and landscape architecture grad student, who has an undergrad degree in interior design, created a space that feels industrial, traditional, and warm — and he did it all sustainably. 

Inspired by the efficiency of sailboat interiors, he focused first and foremost on upcycling on a budget. Brackney advises others to use what they can find and notes, “Don’t resort to buying new items first. The best and most inspiring solutions for decorating and organization come from thinking outside of the box (or big-box store in this case). For me, Facebook Marketplace expanded my opportunities to recycle items, meet people, and prevent items from going to a landfill simply because I refused to shop online for most of my items.” 

A 450-square-foot studio with sterile poured-in concrete and minimal character presented a unique design challenge for Franco Cheng in Toronto. How could he make this space feel both larger and welcoming? Inspired by both industrial, clean design and warm, cozy winter cabins, he completely renovated the space and maximized the square footage. Cheng offers a tip for those looking to make the most of a smaller space: “Large mirrors help increase visual perception of the room. However, this won’t work if you just leave the mirror leaning against the wall on the floor as your eyes will quickly catch the slightest slant in the reflection before your brain proceeds to understand it as just a mirror. To create the illusion of an extension of the space, you will have to mount the mirror flat on the wall.”

A $600 vintage 1968 camper was absolutely dilapidated when Conan and Katherine of Wichita, Kansas, got their hands on it. But these two veteran camper enthusiasts knew the 62-square-foot space was a diamond in the rough. They spun it into a traditionally styled (as in traditional design, not traditional camper!) pink and green jewel box, which they consider a tent on wheels — perfect for a quick weekend away.

The key to their project: embracing the size and not forcing it to be something else. They recommend, “Play to the strengths of the space. Don’t try to make it something it isn’t. If it’s small, make it cozy. If it’s big and open, resist the temptation to jam it full of things. Just let a space be what it naturally is.”

A 350-square-foot studio on Manhattan’s Upper West Side is Isabelle Eshraghi’s home base, where she resides with her plethora of plants. An exposed brick wall, collages of photos and images that inspire her, and comfortable furniture create a welcoming, approachable space that she describes as “cozy, vintage, airy, and eclectic.”

Eshraghi’s advice is a reminder that the most important thing in your home is to make it your own — you need to be comfortable there! “Don’t be afraid of mismatched decor, and fill the space with things that make you smile when you come home at the end of the day. Take advantage of the layout of the space, because you can turn any room into a home, however small it may be. Comfortable furniture is also a must!”

A 528-square-foot house sounds almost too small to be real — except it is, and Anne Marie Hankins and husband, Spencer Wyatt, have maximized every square inch. They’ve made this tiny 1950s home feel positively light and airy, perfect for their St. Petersburg, Florida, location. With ultra-functional clean-lined furniture, the couple created a Florida retreat that accommodates both of them living, eating, studying, and working from home. 

There are subtle nods to its ’50s origins, while feeling fresh with more modern furniture styles. Hankins advises, “Build your home around pieces you love that will never go out of style. I would also say not to pigeonhole yourself into one type of design style. Mixing pieces and styles is the best way to add character and depth to your home.”

Multifunctional is the way to maximize.

The designers advise others looking to maximize storage in a small space to think unconventionally and multi-functionally. In this tour, they said, “Closed, vertical, and multifunctional storage pieces are key in small spaces. Storage in general is great, but open shelves and bookcases tend to get messy and/or overfilled. Closed storage allows you to utilize every square inch behind doors while not overwhelming your space with its contents.” Oh, and don’t be afraid to get creative. “We used a bench as the coffee table because of its shallow depth and the white wall system is a TV stand, bar, extra kitchen storage, and dresser!”

Create a vision board for clarity.

Karen Akpan, her husband Sylvester Akpan, and their son, Aiden, live full time in their 260-square-foot RV, which they drive around the U.S. as digital nomads. When they bought the home off Facebook Marketplace, it needed a total remodel. Neither had ever taken on a small space renovation. They started by painting all the walls white to keep the small space feeling light and airy. Then they brought in accents of a vibrant teal, a color that represents open communication and clarity of thought, the exact elements they hoped to draw into their space.

For those looking to tackle a new design project or anyone decorating or redecorating, Akpan has wise words to get started. She recommends, “Create a vision board of what you want the end product to look like. That’ll help you pull things together for your final look.​​”

Kirsten Lindberg’s 219-square-foot Manhattan studio is rent-stabilized and has a “do whatever you want” policy from her landlord. A New York City dream, right? She may have a bathtub in her kitchen, which is in her living room, which is open to her bed, but she’s made it her own brand of antique-meets-Midwestern-cozy. Lindberg has maximized every inch of this tiny space and filled it with items she loves, from family heirlooms to Broadway memorabilia. 

Her biggest splurge was her West Elm couch, but she needed it to fit the exact dimensions of her tiny space. “If you live in a small apartment, spend your money on the couch. Get a good one. It’s worth it; your bottom will thank you!”

Educate yourself and be prepared.

A 350-square-foot NYC studio that also functions as a painting studio and small business hub is the place artist Clare Spooner calls home. With vibrant colors, a collected array of art, rugs from her time living in the Middle East, items “shopped” from her parents’ attic, and reupholstered vintage items, she’s made this space a colorful hideaway from the city streets. 

An artist first, she delights in learning about the past and encourages others to do the same as they make a space their own. Spooner says, “Educate, educate, educate. I read a lot and follow many designers and tastemakers, past and present, and am always learning more about what makes good design. Then I take what I’ve learned and go vintage shopping! I snag almost all of my finds in person so I can really see the quality and lines and feel a connection with the pieces. The story and soul of the thing is important to me.”