A Petite Portland Rental Apartment Proves the Power of Plants and Lots of Natural Light

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
The light from these large windows drew us to the place and keeps our plants happy!

Name: Jenny Subil and partner Chris
Location: Portland, Oregon
Type of home: Apartment
Size: 580 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years, renting

The view from the bedroom to the living room. Where we love to have our morning coffee.

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: Jenny is a social worker (who has also worked a lot of odd jobs) and Chris is a photographer. We moved to Portland from the San Francisco Bay Area just about two years ago and had only seen pictures of the model units online, which we acknowledge was a pretty big risk. We actually didn’t fully know what to expect from our unit until we stepped foot in the door on the first day of our lease.

We really love plants- and drink a lot of coffee as you can see from this view.

The entirely open floor plan was honestly a little scary at first, as we are fans of cute corners, nooks, and funky details, but over time we have been able to carve out small sections of the space to make it feel more cozy and inviting. Since we were working with a really small budget, many of the items that we have, have spent time in various other houses and roommate situations; there is also a sizable amount of things bought from the Fred Meyers clearance section. Plus plants—a lot of plants. Other things have been carefully planned for, like the credenza that Jenny continued to “discreetly” text links to Chris until he surprised her with it for her birthday in 2019.

Light, bright and airy bedroom

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Bright, simple, botanical, and cozy.

Another favorite apartment feature, the credenza which not only holds a lot of photo equipment but also features one of our favorite Joshua Tree pictures shot by Chris.

What is your favorite room and why? The living room area gets great light; both us and our plants love it. Every morning we sit on the couch and enjoy the sun (well the days when Portland graces us with a little sun in the morning). Having both lived with roommates for most of our lives prior, it’s been nice to create a home where we can have clean and quiet spaces whenever we want. It also helps that the living room space is right next to the kitchen area so that we can enjoy a toaster strudel (we have recently rediscovered these treats) on demand.

A great shot of our favorite element, our dining table with green chairs!

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? Our kitchen table. We had a rectangular table that we got from IKEA (because it was the most affordable and came with chairs) in that space for the first year and a half of living here. After pining away for a round table for six-plus months, we pulled the trigger on a deal (with a Super Bowl coupon code) for the round white table and chairs from Target. The round table really pulls together the apartment and fits the space a lot better than what was there before. Both from Target: Emmond Mid Century 42” Round Dining Table and Copley Upholstered Dining Chair.

Flour, a beautiful stand mixer and a dutch oven-our kitchen is complete.

Any advice for creating a home you love? It is your home and your space, decorate how you feel and don’t care too much about what is popular at the time or what other people enjoy. We love design and love seeing what is trending but would prefer to trust our intuition and what feels comfortable to us when it comes to our home.

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