Arguably one of the best things about being a #RealPerson is getting to furnish your apartment exactly how you want it. When I faced the thrilling task back in September, visions of tufted headboards and mirrored front furniture danced in my head.
I had been proudly saving a disciplined amount of my generous $12/hour Intern paycheck all summer in preparation for squandering it all on furniture and faux fur throws, and I was PUMPED.
The excitment promptly dissipated after my first visit to a “discount” furniture store. I remember strolling through the aisles and feeling my confidence wane at each “$899” price tag. To make matters worse, most of the pieces were not-heinous at best, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to walk out of there for under $1,300 for my bed, dresser, and nightstands.
That felt unacceptable to me, especially since I didn’t necessarily like any of it all that much.
(Call it champagne taste on a beer budget, but the only bedframe I liked was $999).
This was a wake-up call, of sorts. My fantasies of beautiful, chic furniture devolved into nightmares of me sleeping on a wire bedframe with Target dormroom plastic tubs as dresser drawers. And to a high-maintenance, bourgeois Millennial, this was 50 shades of not-going-to-fly.
Enter Amazon, Bezos’ magical online marketplace.
My hope in this post is to inspire some of you who are likely going through a similar transition, and help you find beautiful pieces online for a small fraction of the price you see in brick-and-mortar stores.
I had a very distinct vibe I was trying to achieve with my bedroom, and I do feel strongly that your environment impacts your mood significantly and shouldn’t be ignored. In other words, I wasn’t about to fold and purchase cheap stuff I hated just to stay under-budget.
My vision was a space that was open, clean, bright, and timeless, but with a few trendy elements that made it feel just a little sassy.
I’ve linked the exact products I purchased (all from Amazon) that were mostly Prime and shipped for free (or close to it). I put together this entire bedroom (minus the mattress) for around $1,000, and I’m so happy with the result.
Let’s launch into the focal piece: the bed.
I wanted a “sheltered” headboard because I like how it makes the bed feel cozy. I also wanted light colors, but didn’t want wood or oak. I grew up with a white bedroom set, and feel that sometimes it looks a little juvenile to go with straight-up white, so I felt that a tan linen would be perfect.
This is the bed I purchased, and it was only $300 for the entire frame (one thing I noticed is that most ‘beds’ that cost $300 are only the headboard—watch out for this). I built this bed by myself with an Allen wrench (please hold your applause) and was surprised at how easy the assembly was.
This is what it looks like after it’s put together but before you put your mattress on it.
…And this is how I styled it:
It also comes in this gorgeous dark gray, which, looking back on it, I probably would’ve opted for if I were going for a moodier overall aesthetic.
Now, for the more fun stuff: the bedding. I really wanted bedding that, more or less, looked like it belonged in a hotel. Maybe I’m weird, but I think sleeping in hotel beds is the best—they’re white and fluffy and envelop you in don’t-think-about-the-fact-that-a-million-other-strangers-have-also-slept-here warmth. Charming.
A lot of people ask me if I regret buying white bedding, and the answer is no. White bedding forces you to be a better person. Nobody eats pizza in bed with white bedding.
This comforter set is beautiful. I bought the comforter, two Euro shams, two regular pillows, and plain white sheets—all from Target. The comforter and two regular pillows were $90, and I got the white with the thin blue double-stripe because I felt like it added a nice subtle accent.
I went with the comforter because I literally cannot be bothered to mess with a duvet cover. If you have time to wrangle a massive lumpy sack into a slippery tortilla-like sheet encasement, be my guest, but I'd rather not.
I wanted to add some pink—because, you know, trying to stay on-brand here—and I opted for the velvet to add some texture.
These pink velvet pillowcases were a steal—$12 for a set of two. I bought three individuals. They come in different colors, if you hate fun and pink isn’t your vibe. You’ll need the inserts, too, which are only $9 each.
Having a really extraneous amount of pillows is the fastest way to make your bed look luxe. And if you're opposed because it seems unnecessary and you're like, I could get by on two, then I ask you: why are you rejecting comfort AND style? Just do it.
I have the two standard pillows with the 'sheets' pillowcases in the back, then two Euro shams, then two standard pillows with the comforter-style pillow cases (that come with the comforter) and topped off by the three pink ones.
The staff in my sorority house used to fluff our living spaces and they'd karate chop the accent pillows, and since that house was a mansion and those people seemed to know their way around a pillow, I now do so, too. Feel free to chop your pillows accordingly.
Moving right along.
I think one easy way to immediately class up your bedroom is throwing a bench at the end of your bed. I don’t know why, but it ties everything together so beautifully. I am obsessed with this one, and it’s the perfect length for the end of a queen. I went with the rose quartz color because I thought it was classic and timeless, but there are darker options available (the gray is really nice, too).
The best part? It’s only $150. Most other pieces like this I’ve seen are well over $300 or $400, and this thing is STURDY.
I put a tray for books on my bench to keep my journal (nerdy, I know) and favorite reads at close reach. If I may impose my literary taste on you, definitely check out:
Megyn Kelly’s Settle for More
This book will make you want to kick ass in the workplace and inspire you to go full-out in everything you do.
Anna Kendrick’s Scrappy Little Nobody
This book will crack you up and make you feel OK about being a little weird.
Mark Manson’s A Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***
This book will show you a ‘counterintuitive approach’ to living a good life, by showing you how to direct your f***s appropriately. It’s #8 on Amazon right now.
And now that we’ve covered the bed and the bench, I might as well tell you what the bed is sitting on, right?
I wanted a gray/silver rug because I felt it was a cool neutral that wasn’t too distracting. But guess what? Most rugs are expensive as hell. I was so annoyed trying to find one at rug stores, and I finally found this beaut online. I believe I only paid $180 for it, but the price fluctuates as stock changes. It comes in a bunch of colors.
The reason I loved this one (the 8 x 10 size) is because it felt so plush and luxurious to have a huge rug in the middle of the room that made the bed the focal piece. Much like the bench, it ties things together and elevates the entire look of the space.
(Do I sound like I know what I’m talking about? I have to be honest, I’m impressing myself with the amount of hokey jargon I’m loading this shit with.)
So, onto the piece that I hands-down get the most questions about: my mirror-front vanity. This is the aforementioned ‘trendy’ piece that will likely be out of style in a few years (since mirrored furniture is such a trend right now), but I think it’s beautiful and—frankly—just really wanted one.
The one I ended up purchasing is gorgeous. The drawers are velvet-lined, it’s super sturdy, and it’s the perfect place to get ready. I put mine up against the window because I love doing my makeup with natural light, but at night, I use this super cool little ring light makeup mirror. Most solid ring light mirrors are $50, but the one shown in the pictures and linked above is only $20.
You guys—it’s literally $160. I paid more for a single bottle of the perfumes pictured on my jewelry box than I did for this vanity. If you want a chic space to get ready, I’m telling you, this is it.
And of course, if you’re sitting at a chic vanity, you need a chic place to sit. I wanted to involve the velvet texture here again, so I went for another small bench/ottoman that slides under the vanity when I’m not using it (by some miracle of God and absolutely not because of my strategic forethought, this one fits RIGHT underneath it).
The bench isn’t as much of a steal at $100, but it’s still reasonable based on the other options I explored.
And so you know I’m not just trying to tote all my decisions as fantastic, I will tell you:
Don’t buy dressers or nightstands on Amazon unless you want to literally rip your hair out trying to put them together (and then be super pissed off when they’re wobbly as shit).
My dresser is as good as useless (one of the drawers completely broke) and my nightstands are fine but took SO much time to put together that I would’ve rather just paid a little more for preassembled ones.
These are the two things I would just bite the bullet and splurge on to save yourself the headache.
But the bench, the bed, and the vanity? There’s literally no reason to pay more. The assembly is so straightforward and the result is stunning. Why overpay for the brand name or the preassembly if you don’t have to?
I’m going to do another post about furnishing a living space and entryway soon, but wanted to test the waters with this one.
Let me know if y’all like any of the options!