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Grown-up grad apartment

We're planners. But sometimes even the best-laid plans don't work out.

So when a last-minute school decision collided with an unfurnished apartment, we got creative. Like most, we didn't want to make any big investments in furniture and decor, because this isn't anywhere near the final stop in her housing life. Lucky for us, the basement was stocked with some pretty cool pieces we'd saved over the years just waiting for a twenty-something to re-purpose into fab apartment decor.

We got to start with a blank slate; this just-built apartment featured clean floors and fresh paint. For the first time, she'd be living without a roommate and had the flexibility to make the entire space her own. Here's how we made it happen:

  • First came the denim slipcovered sofa. Perhaps one of the comfiest couches around, its petite size made it apartment-perfect.

  • A fabulous counter-height table created additional prep space, and comfortable seating for six. Perfect for homework and hanging out.

  • A clearance-section ikea coffee table, previously painted and living on the patio at home got a fresh coat and makes the perfect accent in front of the denim couch.

  • A retro-look cooler, purchased for a party years ago, matches the coffee table perfectly (go Illini orange), and makes the ideal TV stand.

  • A Pinterest-inspired construction project originally meant to house clothes subs in as a open shelving pantry unit, complemented by a hanging shoe organizer perfect for all those small kitchen gadgets.

  • With the no-nails rule pounded in place, we had to get creative on a headboard. The multi-pack of foam ceiling tiles, already painted glossy black, became the perfect headboard thanks to those life-changing Command hooks.

  • Another ikea table, covered with coasters and admission tickets from a long-ago trip, graces one side of the bed. A Deny designs table - purchased on a flash sale with 30% off and free shipping, graces the other.

Other pieces used over the years - including a desk, chair, rug, and wire shelving, suit the new space perfectly and come together to create a great space to work and play. Total outlay ... about $100. Including all those Command hooks. Money well-spent.

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