A 480-Square-Foot Dutch Apartment Was Furnished Beautifully on a Budget

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image

Name: Van Anh Langelaan and her partner
Location: Arnhem, Netherlands
Type of home: Apartment
Size: 480 square feet
Time lived in: 6 months, renting

Vintage Art Deco smoked-glass pendant in the entryway.

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: This is a corner rental apartment with eight windows in total (yes, eight!). The apartment came unfurnished — without even a light bulb. Because of the pandemic, my partner and I could only view it online before deciding that it’s the one. It is our first unfurnished apartment, so we had to buy all of the essential furniture before our move-in date. Furnishing a place without having seen it in real life was a major challenge. But because we are both visual people, we could sort of visualize the space in our mind and luckily all the furniture we bought fit perfectly! The decoration of the apartment was tremendously budget-friendly, with vintage furniture, DIY-wall decor, and even an old dresser that I refurbished and painted myself.

The ombre dresser that I painted myself and am super proud of.

As a proud Vietnamese, I want the apartment to communicate my Asian origin through both its look and feel. Hence the Oriental theme, which is communicated through the Chinoiserie wallpaper, art frames above the bed, patterns on pillow cases and blanket, and the Japanese “Morning Sun” art print above the dresser.

TV Wall. (IKEA TV stand with Lucite pulls from Etsy).

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: “When Oriental Dreams meet Art Deco”

What is your favorite room and why? Definitely the bedroom! It is bright, airy, romantic, and cozy. (I created the framed prints above the bed using wallpaper samples from Boråstapeter, a wallpaper from Sweden. Believe it or not, the samples are only 2 euros per piece!)

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? I recently bought a sketch of Ao Dai (Vietnam’s traditional dress) by American Vietnamese designer Thai Nguyen, as a piece of artwork. I grew up wearing Ao Dai on every special occasion, from Lunar New Year, school special events, to college graduation day. The sketch serves as a reminder of those beautiful memories of my home country, and of course, as a means of representation. The sketch is expected to arrive in the Netherlands in November this year.

The memo board is from IKEA's new office decor collection.

Any advice for creating a home you love? Find a purpose for every piece you own and make sure that each one of them speaks to your personality and lifestyle in the most honest way.

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.