A Scandi-Inspired Rental Was Furnished for Under $5k With Secondhand and Sale Items

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Name: Alley Calkins, my fiancé, Ty, and British shorthair cat, Frankie
Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Size: 850 square feet
Type of Home: Apartment
Years lived in: 1.5 years, renting

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Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: Cambridge, Massachusetts, is full of historical New England homes and timeless brick infrastructure. Our apartment is newly renovated, hosted inside a building over one hundred years old. With high ceilings and an abundance of natural light, we had a blank canvas accommodating of most interior design directions. The communal spaces of the apartment lean Scandinavian and minimalist, with the intent of fostering a calm space to recharge and connect.

Our personalities pop as you venture into other rooms of the apartment; the main bedroom touting pops of color and heavy musical influence, and the guest bedroom demonstrating an elevated take on “man cave.” Our British shorthair, Frankie, complements the apartment’s overall aesthetic pretty nicely. You can typically find her either lounging on our sectional or attacking one of the many pet-friendly plants throughout the space.

Human connection, inclusivity, and environmental sustainability are all very important to us. Our apartment is a place where all are welcome to come relax, unwind, and engage in great conversation. We believe that the earth tones and minimalist/airy nature of our decor and furniture helps us achieve that. Being conscious of our footprint, we also prioritized buying second hand and from small businesses wherever possible.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Minimalist Curated Balanced Scandinavian Sustainable

What is your favorite room and why? Our favorite room is our main bedroom. It has a funky vibe that demonstrates our love for music, art and color. It’s that room in the apartment a friend will walk in and beam, “this is so you.”

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? We found an incredible vintage Asian vase from a local thrift shop that ties in beautifully with the vibe of our living room.

Any advice for creating a home you love? Furnish and decorate your space slowly, so that it looks intentional and curated. Think about how you want each pocket of your home to make you feel — if you want your common space to be peaceful, consider keeping colors neutral and the visual weight of decor balanced. If you want to feel vibrant and inspired, don’t be afraid to play with color and bold artwork. And whatever direction you head, remember that oftentimes, less is more.

Thanks Alley!

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