young couple’s first apartment

One of our favorite types of projects is always the first apartment. We were recently approached by a young, newly married couple who have just bought their first apartment. They’re on a budget, but wanted their first real place to feel special and be filled with pieces they could take with them to their next home. Since there’s nothing we love more than finding great bargains and transforming flea market finds, we were so excited to get started. Below, a few of the major textiles being used in the living room.

Here’s a rough sketch of the apartment, not including the kitchen, entryway and bathroom. It’s small but its got lots of charming, pre-war details. It’s really important to have a map like this before you start shopping for furniture. The biggest mistake people make is buying pieces that don’t fit the scale of their spaces. Figure out what dimensions each furniture piece should have and stick with them when you’re out shopping. If you find something you love and it’s not the right size, keep moving!
When we’re working with clients on a budget, we usually spend the most on the most used upholstered pieces–like the sofa, in this case. We found the sofa for this project at the Lilian August outlet store in Norwalk, CT for $1,500–quite the steal for such great quality. A pair of rectangular pillows will be made out of the red paisley fabric (below left).

The Chinese Chippendale chair and stools were purchased from Circa Who in Florida. There’s a lot of color in the living room so we wanted to keep the bedroom a little more subdued. We found a great dahlia print wallpaper for just $30/roll that will go on the wall behind the bed. The fabulous antique French headboard (below, right) was secured from an estate sale; it will be upholstered in a beige velvet. Because the bedroom is small and the bed is king size, there’s only about 20 inches on either side for bedside tables. These drums from Wisteria were perfect. The Louis bench from Restoration Hardware (our go-to) will go at the foot of the bed to give the room a more layered, finished look.
Will share pictures of the finished product soon!

  • Susan Deane

    I love this! 

  • Kate {domestikatedfe}

    I’m on the hunt for a new couch and totally forgot about the lilian august outlet in Norwalk — I have to make a trip there! 

  • Janna Mccalley

    Love the mix of old and new, they’ll look great with the fabrics you’ve chosen!

  • Tokyo Jinja

    What a fab mix of color and high/low! Wish there was another pair of those end tables you plan on lacquering – I think they would be my dream night tables!!!

  • SLG

     Love these. I’m also curious to see what you would do with the kitchen/dining area.

  • Kathymutryn

    I love this!  Where is the wallpaper from?  I would love to use it in my powder room.  

  • Lauren

    The wallpaper is by Duralee. 

  • Dagmaral

    You had better post the final result when you’re done.  I’m salivating over
    Love that headboard. 


    Fantastic plan and elements! I love the layout and how much you are fitting into the space with out it looking cluttered. Beautiful.

  • goodbone

    It would be great in a powder room! The wallpaper is Dahlia in Sky by Clarke & Clarke.

  • Monica Leary

    Hey Lauren & Suzanne,
    I am a huge fan of your work and I love this room design! Are you going to post any pics of the final room design?

  • AD

    I love your design for this apartment. May I ask where the red paisley fabric is from?