Today, I'm so excited to share Ashleah's apartment bedroom from her first year of medical school in Arkansas. It's beautiful, it was done on a student budget, and the best part: she pulled this together in one week. The look she was going for was happy but relaxing with a little quirkiness and some coastal touches. She also researched coral reefs in undergrad – so you'll see lovely little coral details throughout. Without further ado...
This is what Ashleah's bedroom looked like when she moved in. Handsome hardwood floors, antique white trim, and a very bold shade of sky blue. Lucky for her, her super nice landlords allowed her to paint. So she swapped out that distracting blue for something more subdued and cozy: a gorgeous, darker grayish blue.
Ashleah's beautiful, rustic bed is a hand-built piece from James+James, a local furniture maker in her home state of Arkansas. Her splurge piece – Ashleah and her parents split the cost of the bed as a gift for her master's degree graduation. The bed's dressed up with a variety of patterns and colors that all work well together. The quilt, throw, blue pillow, and curtains all came from Target; the coral pillow from Kirklands; and the starfish pillow from Pottery Barn.
This sleek white table is from Target – a $15 piece from their ReStyle dorm line. It was the only table Ashleah could find that was the right height for her bed and the right price for her bank account. The lamp is from the same line. I love how she uses the open, rectangular base as a place to store/display her to-read books. The wall art is actually a framed glittery greeting card that reads, "Amidst the chaos there is chocolate." Such a creative idea!
Besides the bed, this has to be my favorite part of Ashleah's room – because of the bright sunny color and the historical, sentimental significance. The chest was her great-grandfather's and is roughly 70 years old. It spent most of its recent life in her parents' garage (as many fabulous antique pieces do). While Ashleah was away on vacation, her parents fixed it up with a cheery yellow makeover. The drawer pulls are from World Market and Anthropologie.
On top of the chest, Ashleah created a sweet little vignette with a pink coral bowl (love that color against the yellow!), a tea light holder that is also a sea urchin shell, and a wooden tray. The cute little guy holding her Ray Ban specs reminded Ashleah of an Easter Island statue.
"I know... cheap bookshelf alert. In my defense, there's no Ikea nearby, or I'd have a much nicer looking cheap bookshelf," Ashleah says of her bookshelf / desk area, which she also deemed the part of her room most in need of TLC. I love the baskets that fit perfectly on one of the bookcase shelves – I think baskets on every shelf would be a great way to cheap up the basic "cheap bookshelf." I also like how the crisp white desk pops against that moody blue on the walls.
The crisp white desk was also a Target purchase – along with the chair. The art came from the Oak Street PoBoy Festival in New Orleans, where Ashleah had been living for a year before moving here. The framed fabric is a Guna mola made by the indigenous women of the San Blas (Guna Yala) region of Panama, where Ashleah conducted her undergrad research. How cool and unique is that?! And that little seahorse on her desk is actually a bottle opener – for when studying gets a little too hard. (A girl after my own heart!)
Ideas to Borrow from Ashleah's Rented Redo
1. Scavenge Your Parents' Garage Great quality antique and vintage furniture is often sitting forgotten in relatives' garages, attics, and basements. Get the word out to family that you're looking for hand-me-downs. A coat of paint can make a world of difference, plus you're preserving a piece of your family history.
2. Opt for Big Basics, Finer Details Most of us on a college student and young professional budget find ourselves buying furniture and "cheap bookshelves" at places like Target. Buying a chair from Anthropologie is a fantasy. However, buying drawer pulls from Anthropolgie is less likely to break your budget. You can transform a basic bargain desk or dresser by swapping out the hardware with something fancier.
3. Bring in Personal Touches At the end of the day, you're the one living in your space. Ashleah brilliantly filled her room with items that are special, nostalgic, and practical to her: coral details that nod to her undergrad studies, framed fabric and art from travels abroad, and a strategically place bottle-opener. If you like it, find a way to incorporate it.
Ashleah moved out of this lovely little space in May. She's currently working on decorating her new space, so keep an eye on the blog for another post featuring her new place. You can follow her on Instagram here.
Thank you so much, Ashleah, for sharing your gorgeous bedroom with The Lovely Side. Looking forward to checking out your new digs! Happy decorating!
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