Operation: Apartment

EDIT 11/3/16: I started this idea awhile back and quickly realized having everything in my apartment be DIY was A: dumb and b: exhausting and surprisingly expensive. As a result this never really became an actual series, but I’ve left this post here for posterity and because it has lots of great links to other folks’ interior DIYs that you might like. 

Hello! I haven’t made a post since the dawn of man November, or right before I started writing my thesis. That, along with the hub-bub of graduating college and starting my life, has made working on blogging kind of a non-essential activity. But now that’s all done, and I’m back!

A bit less than a month ago I moved into a brand new apartment that’s sized less than 500 square feet, a space I also share with my messy and cluttered lovely boyfriend. As many of you city-dwellers are probably aware, small-space living requires not only scaling back your possessions – a tough task for us crafters – but also incredible organization skills. We’ve done a bit already, but the apartment has a long way to go. As a result, I’m starting Operation: Apartment a new series that will include interior decorating, DIY, organization, and lots of pinterest testing. I have a lot planned, but I’m excited to hear everyone’s input as this thing evolves over the next few months. Without further ado, lets get going!!


Today Im going to take you guys through my apartment and all the plans I currently have. Some new stuff needs to get bought, but most of the ideas are straight DIY. If I can make something instead of buying it, I ain’t buyin it. The boy doesn’t always like this, but we are almost homeless flat broke at the moment, so my way goes for now. I’ve provided links to the projects and other things I’m planning on, if you want to follow along or make suggestions.



We don’t really have an entryway, but more of a tiny hallway behind our living room with enough space for a shoe and coat rack. Right now all we have is a shoe rack from IKEA, but I’d like to combine a few DIY’s to make an all in one shoe rack/coat hanger/mail station/key hook .

Living Room


Our living area doesn’t currently have a couch, and it is infuriating, so that’s priority number 1. We have about $500 to play with here (and we don’t own a car), so it’s gonna have to be IKEA. The space isn’t big enough for end tables or a coffee table, so I’m going to write a DIY of this wooden arm wrap available on Etsy. For even more storage, I’ll make an over-the-chair bag to store remotes and projects. To cozy it up I’ll write some sick patterns for a cozy afghan and these bad-ass knotted pillows. We also have an IKEA folding table here that works great for a simple dinner or could be folded out for company. I’d love to make these rorschach place-mats to class up our dinners a bit.


The TV console needs a little TLC as well, mostly in the details since our brick wall gives it an automatic flair. Right now my embroidery and pillows live in a plastic crate, but a beautiful sweater basket would look much nicer with our decor. The boy and I already made some cool mini-pallet coasters for the space, but I think given our current AT-AT mascot, some cement Death Stars would fit the space well. Finally, since the boy and I are constantly asking each other “what do you want to do today?” I thought a cute random date idea station could be cool. I’m not sure how to make this look classy yet, so I’ll have to figure that out.



The kitchen is decently sized given the total square footage of the apartment, so not much needs to be done in terms of organization. A couple little things would make my life a lot easier though. I like to write my life up on the fridge, so a DIY on cool magnetic chalkboards is in order. I also charge my phone in the kitchen, so making a wall hanging pocket would keep me from dropping mashed potatoes on my phone again keep things a bit neater. Taking all my salts and sugars and putting them in pourable mason jars will also create a more organized space. Our knives are in a clunky drawer organizer right now, taking up valuable space. Since we can’t afford a knife block right now, making a bamboo skewer knife holder will provide a simple solution. Lastly, I also hate dealing with measuring cups all tangled in the drawer. Solution? Hang them inside your cabinets. I’m gonna need to find a renter friendly way to do this though.



Our “hall” space right now is boring and cluttered with leftovers from our move in. As the space clears out, we’ll hang our print collection in the classic pinterest gallery wall. I also have a great 70s high-fi system to place opposite the kitchen, but it’s in Maine right now and thus will be a future project.


The hall also has this super cool nook I want to turn into our fiction collection. Since we rent, I have a great idea for how to make light-weight shelves (perfect for paperbacks) from tension rods. I’ll also use this as an opportunity to finally make a simple at-home printmaking DIY that focuses on paste- in book plates. Cooler than cool.



The bathroom doesn’t need too much work. My old place had a tiny bathroom, so I already had to come up with some systems. Our hand-me down trash-can needs a facelift though, and our under-the sink rack is a weird shape that requires hand-made storage boxes.



Serving as the boy’s office and my closet, the bedroom is a crowded place and by far needs the most TLC. Most of that will be just getting rid of stuff and making some much needed container store runs, but I have some DIY ideas as well. A new bedset that matches my tones-of-grey color plan for the apartment will need to be bought, and I think hanging a faux open-work geometric headboard will add to the beauty of the brick. I’ve always wanted to make a labyrinth or a rag rug, and in various tones of grey it’ll match all this decor nicely. Again, to save space without sacrificing storage, a nice bedside caddy can hold all our needed junk. A bed shoe holder works for this, but a more specific DIY version might be better.


I’m not gonna touch the boy’s desk or closet even though it’s the messiest part of our house, but there are some things I can do to the corner. The floor will seem less cluttered with a hanging laundry basket, and given all the important documents we have now an organization system that fits on our shelf is needed.


My IKEA dresser is remarkably versatile and holds pretty much everything I own, but a couple additions could make it sweet. This ingenious bra holder can fit inside the door, as can a simple bar to hang my weekly outfits.


My vanity is the last area and is super cluttered, but a couple fixes could really make a difference. A hanging jewelry organizer will take all the junk off my table, and the extra shelf space that once held my fiction collection can be used to extra craft storage. The one wall here is also blank, but we have no photos or work to hang there just yet. I’ll think of it as my future wall, to be filled as our life continues!

And that’s it, even though it’s a lot. I’m sure I’ll come up with even more as I work on all this, but it’s more than enough to start. What do you guys think? Have I made good choices? Is there anything else I could be doing? I’d LOVE to hear your input; this is way too huge a project for one girl.

I’m pumped to be back and with so many awesome DIY’s on the plate. Stay tuned and follow me for the manifestation of all these ideas. I try to make a post every weekend.

And as always,


6 thoughts on “Operation: Apartment

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