Shabby Chic Apartment Tour

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I helped a friend move into a new apartment recently, and it made me realize I never shared photos of my own place back when I moved in over the summer! While I lived in a “real” off-campus apartment with a roommate my junior year of college, this is really my first adult apartment—living completely on my own, having full control of the decorations, furnishing a whole space, etc. It was a lot of decision-making but so much fun to have a place to call entirely my own.

My apartment is technically a studio, though I like to explain it to people as a one-bedroom without a bedroom door—you’ll see what I mean in the pics below. (It’s not like my bed is in the middle of the kitchen, thank goodness.) When deciding what to title this blog post, I realized that my apartment is perfectly shabby chic, which Oxford Languages defines as “a style of interior decoration that uses furnishings that are or appear to be pleasantly old and slightly worn.” Aside from a few items, all of the furniture in my studio belonged to my grandma before she had to downsize, so shabby chic is the perfect descriptor for these hand-me-down pieces. Her place had the cutest rustic décor, and I’m so grateful I get to use some of it now.


As you’ll see, the kitchen is rather short on counter space—and there are only TWO small drawers! I had to get creative and was very excited to realize I should use this rattan drawer set as both an end table for the seating area and extra storage for kitchen items (such as Ziploc bags, dish towels, and oven mitts). It fits perfectly at the end of this gorgeous blue couch that my grandma and aunt picked out together.


This white bar table is the only piece of furniture I had to buy for the entire apartment—isn’t that so nice?? My grandma already had these two white bar stools for her counter that I wanted to incorporate in the kitchen. For a while, I considered purchasing one of those rolling counter tops to create an island (for extra counter space and extra storage), but I was worried the kitchen would feel too cramped with a big piece of furniture in the middle of it. I opted for a round white bar table instead to tie in the white of the rattan drawer set. The table and stools fit perfectly behind the couch, which creates a separation between the “living room” and “dining room”, and the round table helps break up the otherwise harsh lines (I didn’t want the room feeling like a bunch of blocks, which I think it would have had I chosen a square table). The woven placemats that I purchased for my senior year on-campus apartment were the perfect addition to match the other browns and textures throughout the apartment.


One of my favorite decorations in my apartment is my framed card collection. During my freshman year of college, I started keeping the beautiful Papyrus and Hallmark cards that family members gave me on my birthday. I hung them in my dorm rooms over the years, oftentimes on string lights, but I wanted to elevate my collection for my first proper adult apartment. I went to Ikea to buy a bunch of these cheap frames and then hung most of the cards in little clusters throughout the apartment. This made for really cheap but sentimental decorations. The cards are hard to photograph because of the glare of the frames, but I absolutely love how they turned out. I carefully selected these three for the living area to match the blue couch and mustard yellow throw pillow. That blue shoe card is the first one I received that started my collection!


My apartment is kind of a funny shape, with this nook of sorts between the door and the outside wall. There was a great debate about how the couch should be arranged in this space—my boyfriend thought one way, my dad another, and my aunt still another—but ultimately my original vision is what worked best. I love how the couch creates a divider into this little living space, with the TV and bookshelf. The blue mosaic sun on the wall is one of my oldest decorations that I’ve had since I was at least seven years old. It was special to bring a little piece of my first childhood home with me to Denver.


Luckily, my grandma and I have very similar styles, as lots of her furniture already matched the sort of rustic, boho vibes I went for while decorating my senior year apartment. It was so nice to be able to reuse a lot of my décor from that space, such as this Ikea tree and planter basket. The lamp is secondhand as well, although instead of from my grandma, I bummed it off some college boys while they were moving out.


I absolutely love the piece of furniture I’m using as my TV stand, and it was my grandma’s favorite item as well. The colors and textures are so unique, and it even has a little metal “14” on it, which was my soccer number back when I played competitively.


The throw pillows are also repurposed from my senior year apartment—the yellow one is from Target and the pink fluffy one was sent to me in a PR package. You can see what I mean now when I say my “studio” apartment is just a one-bedroom without a door.

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I love the dark cabinets! For kitchen décor, I have a vintage glass fruit bowl in the corner that my parents thrifted for me and my favorite PMS-themed magnet poetry on the fridge. Fridge poetry is a great gift for the college kid or young adult in your life—they come in all sorts of fun themes. It’s always so entertaining to see what bizarre messages my friends come up with when they visit.

Also, you may have noticed the built-in wine rack above my fridge. Seems like a cool feature, right? However, I learned in my Wines of the World class senior year that you’re not supposed to store wine in these types of racks! The temperatures above your fridge fluctuate a lot as the refrigerator expels heat, and those fluctuations can spoil your wine.


The door you see in the right of this photo is the washer and dryer. One of my top priorities while apartment hunting was in-unit laundry, so it’s ironic that my washer and dryer don’t actually work very well! A handful of clothing items have been ruined and I can’t wash black clothes without them coming out with deodorant-like stains everywhere… very strange.

The first door you see on the left of the photo is the bathroom, and the second door way in the back is my walk-in closet. I may live in a studio, but my closet could be rented out on Airbnb—it’s huge. I, of course, had no problem filling it… Not sure how I’ll ever go back to having a normal size closet!

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The bathroom lighting is unsurprisingly terrible, but aren’t these cards so beautiful?? I absolutely love my collection—it brings me so much joy. If I ever have one of those fancy cloffices that all the big-time fashion bloggers have, I would absolutely decorate it with my fashionable Papyrus cards.


The bed, drawers, and unique oval mirror all belonged to my grandma as well. Aside from the four months I lived in Scotland, this was the first time I’ve had a bed bigger than a twin size—very exciting! I made the floral garlands with twine, fake flowers, and mini clothes pin back in the fall of 2021 when I moved into my senior year apartment, and they made for a very fun centerpiece, sort of an extended headboard, above my bed. I found the floral quilt at Target and purchased the throw pillows from there as well, which matched the color scheme of the garlands quite well.


This artwork is actually a Paint By Numbers that I painted at the end of junior year. It was the inspiration of my senior year apartment décor and remained the centerpiece for this apartment—my grandma’s furniture matches the painting and style surprisingly well. Sometimes accepting hand-me-downs can feel like you’re settling, but I didn’t feel like I was settling at all with my grandma’s furniture. All of her stuff matched my pieces SO well, the apartment looks really cohesive! As if I bought and perfectly curated everything myself.

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I was fortunate enough to be given this desk for free by my aunt’s friend who was trying to get rid of it. The wood finish matches a lot of the wood in the living room, and I love how my grandma’s blue desk chair ties in with the blue couch. I bought the gold geometric lamp from Target, and my gallery wall is from a collaboration I did with Poster Store. I love this little space!


So there you have it, my shabby chic apartment! I’ve always really enjoyed interior design and think it’s fun to see how people’s sense of fashion either corresponds or clashes with their décor style. I wouldn’t say I usually dress in a particularly shabby chic way, but I think the purposefully miss-matched look of my apartment corresponds well to the eclectic way I dress.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post, and have a great rest of your day!


Miles of smiles,

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