By “home,” I mean my new apartment.
I’m not someone who slowly decorates over several months until my home is completely perfect. After spending the past four years of my life studying interior design, I know no home will ever be perfect. I also learned I don’t have a ton of patience when it comes to unpacking and buying home décor, so if I want something, I just go for it.
With that being said, now that I feel settled in my new place, it feels less like a blank canvas and more like a home. It’s a place where I feel comfortable being every bit of Jamilah I could possibly be. It’s a place where I am my most tranquil and feel like I can breathe. With all the scary stuff happening in the world right now, the impending fear and heartache, it’s incredibly important to have a place that eases the worry and the ache–a place to call home.
One day, I plan on showing the entirety of my apartment, my beautiful home. However, this is not that day.
I wanted to take some time and share ten small elements of my new apartment, or what I call moments, that bring a smile to my face every time I look at them.
Quick disclaimer before we get into it: I wanted to test out the image quality of my new phone, so all of the pictures for this writing were taken on the iPhone 13. What do you think of the image quality?
Each room in my apartment has a different vibe; though, everything also manages to flow and be complementary. Being a 750 sq. ft. 2-bedroom, the living room is definitely on the smaller side. With it being the first room you walk into, I wanted it to be a combination of everything. It has a combination of natural, calming finishes and elements, but there’s also variations of color to match my personality.
1. The Gallery Wall
If there’s anything that encompasses every facet of my being and makes the small space feel cozy, it’s this gallery wall. There’s elements of my friends, my family (behind the brown square), my achievements, and my interests. My favorite thing about my gallery wall, the reason I smile whenever I look at it, are the two silhouettes of the women with the gold & blue hair wrapping. There’s quite a story behind how I obtained those, but to keep a long story short, a complete stranger gave them to me as a gift, a random act of kindness. I’m smiling just thinking about that day.
2. TV Décor
Peep my afro reflecting in the TV. Anyway, one side of my TV is regular shmegular and stores controllers for my Switch. This side, however, is more exciting. I chose my closest friend as one of four people to attend my college graduation, and she took this picture of me on her film camera and printed it. Having her meet my extended family is such a special memory, and the way they love her fills my heart with so much joy; that’s what I think about whenever I look at that picture. Plus, the frame was a steal from Bed Bath & Beyond. The Cincinnati snow globe is from a trip I took with the aforementioned friend; I believe it was the first 48-hour road trip we took together, and there were so many good vibes during that trip. Speaking of good vibes, I almost cried when I saw that peace sign at TJ Maxx, so I bought it. Simple.
With it being a decently small apartment according to the square footage, there is not a designated dining space. Still, two of my guy friends and I managed to fit a dining table with a 4-foot diameter in the room. To serve as a transition space between the living room and the kitchen, I keep a bowl of green apples on the table.
3. Aloe Centerpiece
This is a fairly new addition to my home, and it was incredibly hard capturing it without showing the apartment building across the street. I can count on one hand the people at work I can go to for anything, who truly have my back no matter the situation; I love them. After having the week I had as expressed in Post Valentine’s Day Blues, I had a deep connection with one of the people from work I wholly trust. A couple of days after we talked, she surprised me with this plant since we are plant soul sisters, and I will do everything in my power to protect this plant at all costs. She even put it in the cute planter, and my heart melts with so much happiness when I look at it; it makes me feel like I’m worth something.
Immediately, I knew I could not be someone with a simple, black and white or black and beige kitchen. I’ve discovered that spaces where I am most creative are spaces that have the most color, which is why I spruced up the stainless steel appliances and soft-closing white cabinets with colorful pieces of décor.
4. Memorable Magnets
My goal is to fill the entire freezer door with magnets, and I feel like this is a good start. I believe magnets are easy items to collect for memories sake without making a space look incredibly cluttered. Plus, to me, a home doesn’t feel like a home without a bunch of magnets on the fridge. Besides the stainless steel conversion magnet, each magnet is from a special place that holds a special story.
5. Cookbook Central
Ignore the filth on my microwave. It’s one of those interesting things my family likes to pass down, and that ick has been on there for years. To distract from the permanent ickiness of the microwave’s exterior, I stacked my small cookbook collection on top of it. Not only did I pick cookbooks I was genuinely interested in, but I also made sure they added some color to the kitchen. Chefs I look to for cooking: Ayesha Curry, Chrissy Teigen, and Snoop Dogg. To continue the use of greenery that is present everywhere else, I added a tiny faux plant from who knows where and two small snow globes; whenever someone I know travels out of town, I ask them to bring back a snow globe if I’m not on the trip to buy one myself.
I am most at peace in spaces that are incredibly minimal and have natural elements. Fortunately, I don’t wear a lot of makeup, which helped in keeping the bathroom clutter to a minimum. The bathroom has the same neutral finishes as the kitchen, and instead of adding a lot of color, I went with simple pieces of décor.
6. Pexel Art
Besides the unpictured cacti on the bottom of my shower curtain, the picture of orange flowers is the most colorful piece of non-functioning décor in the bathroom. I strategically chose orange to match the color of the pads I use, which sit in a clear container on top of my toilet. To go with that picture, I wanted something that showed off the body in a unique way while also displaying some sort of diversity since I have friends of different races who use my bathroom. I found both of these pictures on an app called Pexels, which is where you can get free copyright-free images and videos to use, and I immediately felt satisfied with this combination.
Remember when I said my most creative spaces are colorful? It’s like a color bomb went off in my office, starting with the rich blue rug that takes up eighty percent of the floor, which you will see another day. I am so incredibly inspired and productive in my office, and it’s probably because of all the color around me.
People think I would have color coordinated books since I have a color coordinated closet, but that’s not the case. I love the way my books are a jumbled mess of color; it’s a subtle way to add character to the space, and since it’s directly across from the door, it’s the first thing I see when I look or walk into my office. The top shelf is solely books I’ve read and want to keep forever, and the shelf below it is full of books I still need to read. The top shelf also has simple white flowers from Target, a work of art from my cousin, a cheap microphone that doesn’t get used, and a glass coke bottle that carries themes from the kitchen. I didn’t want the décor on the second shelf to be too distracting so I chose a simple candle of femininity from Etsy and a bookend from TJ Maxx.
8. The Wall of Talent
This is my background for video podcast episodes or anything that requires standing and talking. It was hard capturing this wall since it’s right across from the window, so I hope you enjoy the silhouette of my afro and me. None of the art on this wall is store bought, and each one has a story. The two on the farthest left were done by my close friend and me when we went glamping last June. To the right of that is a drawing of a girl someone from high school made years ago and gave to me; I have treasured that picture ever since. Then there’s the beautiful surprise of a Christmas gift my sister gave me last year; she put my love for plants and the color yellow in one painting. The two paintings to the right of it were done by my cousin, someone who needs to realize she is incredibly talented. Lastly, there’s a print of a minion I did my freshman year of high school, which was when the smallest thought of becoming a graphic designer entered my brain. Above my favorite art, there’s a simple shelf from Target with a few more books that need to be read, small scrapbooks with more memories, and an old camera I still need to learn how to work.
Now that I have my own two-bedroom, I can separate the colorful chaos from a place to wind down and drool my heart out. My bedroom is incredibly minimal and peaceful, and it was so hard to pick the final two décor moments to share.
9. The Dreamcatcher
You know that close friend I can’t stop mentioning? Yeah, she gave me that dreamcatcher from one of her many trips to Mexico. It is incredibly special, and whenever I transport it from place to place, I treat it with such fragility. There’s something about it being between two pictures of nature that I find incredibly calming, and since it’s the first thing I see upon entering my room, I am instantly relaxed, even when I’m rushing to find a good outfit. Plus, I think not having the distraction of a bunch of pillows aids in the tranquility of the space.
10. Nightstand Planter
Lastly, this small plant stand that I use as a nightstand is so incredibly calming. My plant soul sister also gave me the stress relief candle from Bath & Body Works; it was such a beautiful moment because she told me it is her favorite scent without knowing it is also my favorite scent. Eucalyptus is just so good for the soul. Anyway, it would feel wrong to have a plant stand without at least one plant on it, so I put my plant Pia on there (yes, my plant children have names). Honestly, I don’t know what the initial purpose or hype of the Himalayan salt lamp was all about; I bought it because it matches another piece of décor almost perfectly. Plus, it’s nice having one normal lamp to turn off before bed (all my other bulbs and lights are smart devices), and it provides the perfect amount of dim light I need to get ready to dream.
This was just a small glimpse into the way I decorated my new apartment, my new home. Each room has its own energy, and as I stated previously, one day I will show you all of it.