“I want the ladies to like my place!” “What can we do for under $1000?” “I’ve got a brown microfiber couch, a mission style natural finish kitchen table and I don’t want to paint the walls.” I instantly jumped at the chance to work on this job for a first year law student living in Queens even though it required long-distance travel, tolls and multiple emails to finish the job in about two weeks. The goal was to finish the job before my client stepped into his first class because after that life is basically over. Total side note: I swear law libraries should talk to me about making Zen areas, sleeping bunks, and personal spaces. Because even if your apartment is designed to your liking, it would be nice to have the place where you spend the majority of your time feel the same way, even with your face in a law book every day.
The client and I hashed out what he was looking for and what he could purchase at a later date. He has two roommates with whom he a shares a living space, bathroom, and small functional kitchen. Typically you’d say three guys cooking, I don’t think so, but they all do so keeping a kitchen table was ideal in the living space. Providing a coat hook and a bench to store shoes, bags, and coats where you first walk in was also important so they just don’t throw it anywhere. Having a routine when you walk into your home helps with organization, a clear mind and an appreciation of the space itself. Plus, the goal was to have people and friends stop by without having to pick up or having a girl stay the night and not have her run to her girlfriends saying “ I like him but…. his place was not so great”. I’m not calling out men, but maybe just a little. They could use a little design advice, just sayin’.Check out bundleithome.com
The first step in designing my client’s apartment was the living room and bedroom. I put together a vision board of options from low to high.
I decided to work with Wayfair for the first time, as I could get a business account and shipping was relativity fast. I looked for items that could be used again when he decided to jump ship and move into his own place. We focused on adding a pop of color so the white 1960s walls with layers of paint didn’t look so drab. He wanted to make sure the furniture was sturdy enough because, as he quoted, “there could be a wrestling match after a night of drinking,” or the occasional moment when the apartment is at war from someone losing a MLB game on PlayStation. So I decided to have the furniture shipped to his apartment, which went surprisingly well, and because my client had the time he put it all together. I think I was told that the bookshelves had 78 screws. I’ll be calling him for future installs. We go way back and he had the time to assemble everything. Building furniture for a few days could be a good pick-up line. I am relatively new to purchasing online furniture so having the client knowledgeable and willing to put it together saved time. As my business grows and I start to do more online purchasing this allows for me talk to the client and see how we can make the process seamless. The option of purchasing products and furniture online gives the client a choice to take the time to assemble and place per the instructions of bundleithome or having everything assembled for them.
The client is a big sports fan and enjoys the history of New York City so starting to add memorabilia to the main wall in the living room really gave him the opportunity to add things over time and explore how to save money. We decided that this would be a great idea because they had a budget and certain items took priority. We picked the top ones and worked our way down. Because we had the sofa already we had to work around the material and print. We needed a coffee table, media table, bookcases, a side chair, end table, artwork and some accessories. On an evening out my client decided to bring home an old-fashion gumball machine and I got a call the next day saying will this work. We decided to lean it against the window wall so it could be a good conversation starter with friends.
After all the furniture was delivered, I purchased a few items for the bedroom and a large blue canvas print that I located above the sofa. The bookcase I selected was white and had an angled shelves, just enough for a few books and accessories. I started doing my research on simple, modern coffee tables with a drawer. I really like the simplicity of a coffee table, but you keep a few items on it all the time and it’s nice to place them away when the night has ended. The new style I love is having angled wooden legs, it looks more handmade and crafty but services the purpose of being totally modern. The same goes for the media stand, which we happened to find at Walmart. It hides all the PlayStation controls and doesn’t leave a mess.
Even though my client will be spending the next three years of his life in the law school library instead of his bedroom, we decided to look for a table-top desk that was similar to the bookcase in the living room. I also came across a really great lamp from target and a nightstand from Wayfair. My client happened to find this awesome over-sized mirror that we hung up on the wall. He had some old dressers that we kept and added a few pieces of art to the wall as well. When we started adding up the cost for the items we purchased he decided to keep his bedroom simple without focusing on style too much. I think with time the client will want to change out some of the furniture. But being smart about the priority list was important.
With designing on a budget you have to be smart about what you do, not everything gets done at the same time. Furniture may very well indeed be mismatched and items that, as a designer I may want to discard. But just because you are on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t have a little design in stages.
My client and his roommates have thoroughly enjoyed the new living room digs with a few parties, MLB PlayStation games and an occasional date night and for the total cost of only $725.00.