Designing with What You Have {+ House Tour}

I feel like there's sort of a pressure on me (that I put on myself, literally no one else feels this way, I think) that since I'm an Interior Design major my house needs to be perfect 100% of the time. I feel like when there's something out of place, I need to fix it right away or I get upset. I know that that's not how it should be. Kayla and I are human. There's two people living in this house and we have a big, long haired dog. Dog hair is going to be everywhere, shoes are going to be left out and dishes are going to not get done once in a while. 

Since I'm in the design program and I work at a furniture store, I really want everything to be matchy matchy. I want everything to match, I want all new stuff, but it's not possible. We are college students who work for minimum wage and it's just not feasible to have a perfect house with all new stuff. 

It's totally possible to work with what you have, what you've been given, and with stuff you buy for cheap. I'll show you how I did it. I love the way our house looks, honestly. By getting one or two small things a month, the house is slowly coming together. 

Brace yourself, this is going to be a long post! 

When you walk into the house this is what you see! Literally ALL of our furniture was hand-me-downs (Except for the white chair, that's from Target for $30). Kayla's family had the couch, love seat, coffee table and two end tables that they weren't using so we gladly took it! We used the futon in our second room as our couch for a long time and I hated it. The couch pillows have navy, burgundy, green and some yellow so that's the colors we went with throughout the living room and the kitchen. Since the couch was a little old and the pattern was dated (but still cool!) I added a modern rug (Target, $50) in navy to bring it all together. The TV stand actually used to be in my dad's restaurant. We needed a new one and they weren't using it so we took it. The only thing I don't like is that you can really see all of the cords but that's just one of those things I'm just going to have to deal with! The book case in the little nook is actually from Walmart for around $60. I love it! It holds a lot and it's cute! 

After you walk past the living room, you end up in the kitchen. It's a simple kitchen but it has everything we need. This kitchen (compared to our apartment before) has so much more cabinet and drawer space that we don't even know what to do with. I actually just bought those rugs last week. They're from Walmart and they seriously cost $20 total, including the one in front of the back door. 

If you follow me on Instagram, you've seen our kitchen table a couple of times now. We reupholstered the chairs and repainted the legs and the table stand. The rug under it was in the bonus room of my parents house. And a couple of weeks ago I bought that mirror for $15 at Walmart. I know what you're thinking. How is there even good stuff at Walmart? I thought the same thing too. I didn't think I would be able to find anything good at Walmart but I have actually found a lot of good things that really complement what we already have going on in the house. It's cheap and I know that we're not going to keep all of this stuff forever, so I don't want to break my bank now to just throw everything away when we eventually buy our own house after we get married. 

On the left side is the laundry area (below) and the door to the back patio/grassy area. 

This is seriously like my favorite part of the house. In the last apartment there was a half wall in the middle of the living room/hall into the bedrooms and bathroom where the washing machine went behind. It was extremely annoying and it really was an eye sore. You couldn't keep anything in that area because the wall was too short and the space was too narrow. So having a laundry closet is like a blessing. In the middle we have two hampers for darks and whites. To the side we have an accordion thing to air dry our stuff if the hanging space is taken up, our ironing board and a couple of folding chairs. We keep Koda's food in that trash can on top of the dryer. On top there's some other laundry stuff and extra paper towels. Nothing glamorous but it's seriously so much more convenient than what we used to have. 

And here's the outside! It's such a cute little area that we can just come outside and hang out together. And thanks to the gate, we don't have to worry about Koda escaping! And if we want to give her a little exercise, we have a lead that we can just clip to her collar and let her out into the grassy area to roam around. We got the whole table, chair and umbrella set for $100 at Walmart! Then we just added christmas lights to give it a fun touch! At first I wasn't really a fan of the gaps between the boards in the gate, but Koda gets to look out to the grassy area, so it's okay. In the last picture, we have a hose for easy Koda baths, and a plastic bin for our recycling. Because we're like real adults now and have a trash can and recycling bin that we have to roll to the road each week! 

This is our "guest" bathroom. We never use the shower, like ever, unless someone is coming over. Kayla's had that shower curtain, which I think is cool. For both of our bathrooms we have decided to go for a blue/black/gray theme. And we were given the bath mats in the bathrooms. This bathroom is pretty much mine. All of my extra makeup, hair stuff, etc. is all in this bathroom because this is where I get ready in the morning. 

And this is where all the magic happens! It's our second room and my office area. We have what feels like a thousand animals and this is where they all live. We have a bunch of fish, a leopard Gecko, a hermit crab and a ball python snake. The furniture in here is all hand-me-downs, except for my desk. The desk is from AC Moore. It's a desk, but it's also a drafting table, which I use for design. It was on super sale so I had to scoop it up. 

And the master bedroom. Again, all of the furniture was someone else's at some point, aside from the bed and the rug, those are new. There's not much to tell in here. We each picked a few things that we liked and put them on the walls. 

And this is our master bathroom. As you can see, the floor has contact paper on it. That's because they didn't retile the floor before we moved in and it was really gross. Even though we scrubbed and scrubbed it was just stained and nasty. So now we have drawer liners on our floor, haha! 

If I had one piece of advice, ask family members and friends if they have any furniture they're not using. Pick and choose the best pieces that go together and work around those things for the rest of your home. As you get older and start saving money, you can slowly replace those things. That's what Kayla and I are doing! 

Do you have any tips for designing with what you have?

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