Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Shoebox to Home

Six months in New York and I finally have a place I can call home. Sort of. Until August because that's when my lease runs out. 

Even so, I thought it would be prudent to document my first ever apartment no the blog. As this is the first time I'm living alone, it is quite a milestone in my existence. 

It took me a couple of months to find a place that fit my budget. Being an international student isn't easy, not just financially although that is a major burden, but also because we are unaware of the layouts and the legalities when it come to renting places. For an average international student, it is near impossible to rent a studio in Manhattan or even a shared apartment as one would hope. Most students opt for Brooklyn, Queens, or New Jersey, not necessarily in that order of priority. 

I live in Brooklyn at the moment in a little-less-than-standard four-bedroom apartment. I have the smallest room in the flat and am quite content with it as it just a place I come to sleep, eat, and bathe as my schedule is quite tight. When I first moved in, the apartment was extremely dull and depressing but I have now managed to turn it into a place that I look forward to coming back to every evening. And I did it all on a student budget!

When I first moved in, the room looked smaller, felt colder, and had no furniture (obviously!). It was absolutely depressing! It was four walls and a window. And tiny. Oh, so tiny!

I was sleeping on an uncomfortable air mattress, using my towels as curtains to keep creepy eyes out, and living out of three massive suitcases that left little to no room for movement. It was the epitome of depression and after 2 months in New York, I was finally homesick.

The first things to arrive was my bed frame. I got an elevated one from Amazon that was easy to build. It's also super efficient for storage as I can slide my suitcases and other boxes under the bed, obscured from sight. I also purchased a mattress from Amazon for quite an affordable price. The good thing about Amazon is that it offers student a six-month free subscription to Amazon Prime. Your furniture arrives faster and you get reward points for purchases in the future.

The rest of my furniture is from Ikea. No surprises there! I got curtains, pillows and a closet from Ikea. I bought the discounted furniture from Ikea, because student problems! I chose lighter colours to make the room look bigger, although I'd personally love black furniture.

Space crunch requires adjustments and comprise. And to make room for more junk on the floor, I lined my bags on top of my closet. It keeps them out of the way and is the right height for me to grab them when I need them.

The curtains block out the lights without clouding the room completely. They make the room look bigger and frame the window perfectly!

My soul being perennially dark, I had to have an element of gloom in my minimal decor. I chose a grey comforter which goes with the general colour scheme, much to my surprise.

One of the most important aspects of decor is lighting, something that I was a little too concerned about. The ceiling light in my room is a stark white which clashes with the open brick wall, making the entire room look sick. I invested in a tall lamp from Target which was quite affordable. It added warmth to my room and made it feel cosy and homely. I also added star string lights over my bed to indulge my obsession with string lights. It's subtle but whimsical at the same time. Goes well with darkness and good music!

And so a shoebox became my home. My first home in New York. Hopefully, not the last!

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