Roommates Decorated This Apartment With Lots of Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace Scores
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Name: Austa Somvichian-Clausen, Kaley Lockwood, and Butter the cat
Location: East Village, Manhattan
Size: 900 square feet
Years Lived In: 7 months, renting
When I decided to make the move from Washington, D.C. to New York City for my job at Apartment Therapy, I was doing two things—looking for random roomies on an app literally called Roomi (essentially Tinder for potential roommates), and checking out studios in Brooklyn to see if I could swing living alone. It wasn’t until the day that I put my good faith deposit down on a studio in Prospect Heights that Kaley texted me and told me that she had gotten also gotten a job in the city and wanted to know if I’d possibly be interested in rooming together. I immediately called my broker and let him know, and he thankfully gave me my full deposit back.
I’m someone who believes in serendipity, and this situation was full of it. Not only did our timing work perfectly to move in together, but we realized on moving day that Kaley and I had met at a Christmas/birthday party exactly one year before! She managed to find us our spot on the borderline of East Village and NoHo—a short commute for both of us. But the move to Manhattan and our now-much-higher rent meant that we were extremely short on funds when it came to purchasing furniture, which is where trusty Craigslist came in! If you’re living in a big city like New York, I recommend checking digital secondhand resources like the Let Go app or Facebook Marketplace, or consignment shops like Housing Works—a non-profit raising money to combat AIDS and homelessness.
Our third roommate, Butter, came to us after I stopped inside Best Friends Animal Society one day after work. She’s contributed to the decor of the apartment with her cute cat tent that I keep in my room (though she sleeps in my bed), the scratching post in the living room, and a litter box that makes me wish I had tried to toilet train her. She’s seriously the best cat though and acts more like a dog than anything; we play fetch.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Eclectic, modern maximalist
Inspiration: Traveling, my grandma, and the Apartment Therapy Instagram, of course.
Favorite Element: I love our exposed brick wall that runs along the entire apartment and the brick faux fireplace in my (Austa’s) room. My favorite decorating elements include the beautiful woven art I have in my room from Sunwoven, Kaley’s amazing fire escape shelf in the entryway, and the prints in our living room by Society 6.
Biggest Challenge: We have absolutely no natural light in our living room, kitchen, or dining room thanks to the only windows in the apartment being in our bedrooms, which makes it so hard to keep plants alive!
What Friends Say: That it’s super spacious for Manhattan and very well decorated for having furniture almost exclusively sourced from Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace.
Biggest Embarrassment: Our lack of light and storage space, which forces us to keep things like our vacuum in plain sight all the time. Not a huge deal but would be nice to have a catch-all closet to store stuff like that.
Proudest DIY: I found our dining room table on the free section of Craigslist, and had to pick it up from an office nearby that didn’t have room for it in their new conference room. I loved it but the legs were originally a hyper-shiny platinum silver, which completely clashed with the rest of the apartment, so we spray painted the legs gold.
Biggest Indulgence: I think living in Manhattan over Brooklyn is enough of an indulgence in and of itself, so we honestly didn’t really splurge on any one aspect of the apartment. We both love our sofa and the fact that you can’t tell when Butter attempts to rip it to shreds. It’s originally from West Elm but I bought it from a very nice couple in Greenpoint for a fraction of the price.
Best Advice: It helps to have a base color palette in mind when you’re shopping for new pieces, so that the main elements of your home are cohesive and you can have a bit more fun with the other decorating elements. For example, picking a wood color and metal color preference to generally stick to and then a few other accent colors (ours are light neutrals like white and oatmeal along with warm pastels like light pink and peach).
Dream Sources: Antique stores, ABC Carpet and Home, Loom + Kiln, The Citizenry.
- Fire Escape Shelf — Overstock.com