Austin is an amazing city. Having only lived in large sprawling metros before, it’s lovely to live in a place where you can walk around, where you have interesting neighborhoods, culture, and so much to do. Austin is a blue island in a red state, a college town and the capitol, with many opportunities. My husband and I have been trying to do as much as we can here and explore this city. He is working, and I am in graduate school, but we find time.
Our apartment was all set up with the necessities, but I was looking forward to start decorating my first home. I’d had a cherry blossom theme in mind for my kitchen for a while, so all my dishes, plates, canisters and kitchen items I had picked and put in my wedding registry (Cornell, from the Target website) were in that theme. I added two piece cherry blossom wall paintings to the dining room wall which I found in the Target clearance section for $30, and a $10 dark brown woven floor vase with three stems of fake cherry blossoms for $9 each (all from Target, where they have the loveliest décor). I got a fourth stem a few weeks later for a clearance price of $6. I also found some small fake cherry blossoms stems from Pier One on sale for like $2 each, which was pretty cheap for Pier One. I found that waiting and browsing stores with a certain theme and colors in mind did the trick in bringing together the look I wanted.
I also wanted a large spice rack for the counter, but had a hard time finding one I liked that was not pre-filled (since those tend to be spices I don’t usually use). I ended up buying a Kuerig coffee individual cup holder thing (for their fancy coffee machines, where you buy a separate holder just for their mini cup shaped coffee things) for around $24 dollars from Bed, Bath and Beyond. I found spice jars that fit inside it for only 70 cents each, from the same store. So now I have a really nice spice holder that spins, and that I can personalize with my own spices.
While we got new sofas and a TV for the living room, I didn’t want to buy a brand new coffee table. So I craiglisted around until I found a three piece espresso brown (like all my furniture) set for only $50(!), which was pretty exciting, since it looked really nice after a polish. I was thinking teal accents for the living room, and I went ahead with pillows (which are honestly more like turquoise, and were pretty pricey at around $26 from Pier One). I had an Ikea coffee table that I had received from someone for my wedding and I hadn’t been sure what to do with it. We started using it as a TV table until I got adventurous and bought some teal spray paint (and primer), and after sanding the table down in my patio, I spray painted the boring thing teal. And my tray table too for good measure. That helped bring some color in the room, and I’m planning to add patterned paper to the table with some ModPodge. The paint doesn’t have any other layers on it, and can be easily scratched, so I need to put some kind of top coat (or maybe just ModPodge) on it. (ModPodge is around $8 from any art store, the spray paint was only a couple bucks each for the paint and the sand paper).
My bedroom centered around my quilt set and matching curtains in a grey blue color, which I accented with gold, by buying old vases and trays from the thrift shop and putting some gold Rub N’ Buff on them. The dining table was only around $150 from Walmart, and looked nice though it is way tinier than the online picture. It’s great as a starting table for a couple, but as far as quality you get what you pay for, and one of the chair backs cracked within the first few months.
As you can see, I was just getting the place to look like home, when a disaster struck. After I had finished writing this post there was a fire in our apartment building. I’ll tell you all about it next time.