Meg & Brad's Student Sanctuary

Meg & Brad's Student Sanctuary

Meg Lewis
Dec 16, 2010

Name: Meg, Brad, & Kitties Björn & Olive
Location: Lakeview — Chicago, Illinois
Size: 900 square feet
Years lived in: 3 months — rented

We moved into this apartment only a few months ago with the determination to make it a home ASAP. Being a couple of students with jobs, we didn't have much time but we had a lot of determination. Decorating on a student's budget isn't easy. We've found a lot of ways to make our place unique for cheap without the feeling of IKEA overload.

You've all seen my apartment in my posts about How To Create a Visual Display on a Low Budget, How Long Does it Take You to Get Settled?, and my old apartment too: House Call: Meg's Eclectic & Affordable Apartment. As our apartment has become more "us" and less IKEA, we've really found a love for rare edition prints and interesting items from Craigslist. Since we're both students, we are able to swap prints with fellow classmates and do a lot of printmaking on our own time. We always vow to never buy a piece of furniture for over $200 and it's worked for us so far (with an exception of one of our sofas). Having a student budget is bittersweet, but most of all it's just a really great design challenge!

We have such a long way to go in our design as we find our aesthetic together, but we think it's coming along nicely. Our home is full of love and kitty cuddles. What could be better?

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Colorful collectors! We love to collect things from artists, thrift stores and Craigslist. These items aren't always in the same color palette so we're forced to put everything together making one big color explosion!

Inspiration: Mad Men is a great source of inspiration to us. We love the clean, sophisticated style with such colorful elements. We get a lot of inspiration by looking at various artist's studios. We also scour Apartment Therapy House Tours looking for inspiration all the time!

Favorite Element: Our amazing vaulted ceilings. They're so tall and make our apartment seem at least twice its size without compromising surface area. We have windows that rise all the way to the ceiling and it brings in tons of natural light. We rarely turn lights on

Biggest Challenge: Creating a workspace for two. We've always wanted to have our desks together and we just can't make it happen in this apartment. We are determined to make it work some day. Right now we're forced to have one desk in the living room and the other in the bedroom.

What Friends Say: They usually are so impressed by our central air that they don't notice anything else. Central A/C is hard to find in this neighborhood. Also, Brad's bike hanging on the wall usually perplexes people since we live on the third floor of a walk-up building.

Biggest Embarrassment: Our chalkboard wall. It's so overdone we know, but we wanted the dramatic element of a black wall. Plus we needed a place to make notes and write to-do lists.

Proudest DIY: Definitely our dining table. We made it from a $15 antique sewing table base and paired it with an IKEA top. The easiest DIY project but absolutely the most rewarding.

Biggest Indulgence: The apartment itself. We came from a super affordable but horrific place so we really needed to splurge on something of better quality. The rent is a lot more than we were expecting to pay but it's definitely been worth it!

Best Advice: Take the time to search through Craigslist. It became my full-time job the month around the move but it was completely worth it. We saved hundreds of dollars easily. Buying from Craigslist is also really eco-friendly, which is important to us. Why not reuse something that someone else doesn't want?

Dream Sources: Blu Dot, DWR, & Anthropologie galore.

Resources of Note:




    • Christmas print: Letterpress collaboration
    • Ikea Furniture tea towel: Skinny LaMinx
    • Facebook print: Allison Shiman
    • bowls & plates Anthropologie, thrifted, Urban Outfitters
    • Coffee tea towel: Enjoy
    • ladder: gift from friend


    • bedding; West Elm
    • photo above bed: Clothes Optional
    • box by bed: made by Brad
    • Ox yoke: garage sale
    • cuckoo clock: Amazon
    • tv cart: thrifted
    • yellow chair: Craigslist
    • dresser: Craigslist
    • Eames style chair: Craigslist
    • basket on wall: Craigslist
    • garland: Target
    • doily stretcher: estate sale

Images: Meg Lewis

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