This Cozy, Warm-Toned Milwaukee Apartment Stylishly Displays Over 300 Books

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Name: Taylor Strickland and fiancé
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Type of home: Apartment
Size: 1,050 square feet
Years lived in: 7 months, renting

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: My fiancé and I are homemakers — him quite literally. He started his own remodeling business a little over a year ago after we finished flipping a house together.

We moved back to the city after the job was done, and while we’re still working with renter-friendly renovations at the moment, we never fail to get excited about our next DIY project. This building was built in the ’30s, and our unit boasts parquet floors, stunning archways, original black hexagon tile floors, and many intricate Art Deco touches. We have great natural light and a view of both downtown and the lake. I fell in love the moment we walked in.

I like stuff. I like a room to feel full, bordering on cluttered. I am not a minimalist. I almost always hate beige or gray. A space without a few books laying around or a mug full of cold coffee feels wrong to me, unlived in. I like bold colors and cozy pillows and trinkets that trigger memories — of the latest thrift haul, of your childhood home, of that trip to Mexcio. Home shouldn’t be magazine-ready all of the time.

It's never too early to start decorating for spring!

Home should be a place filled with napping kitties and plants that have been brought back from the dead so many times you’re pretty sure they’re immortal. It should have flaws and quirks — the knick in the doorway trim from when you moved the entire living room around, or the wonky blinds that are never even. It should be a cozy place for snuggling and a little messy from the last time you baked cookies. It should be warm and inviting and spark conversation — an outward expression of you.

This orange couch was my first major thrift find, and I give it a lot of credit for getting me started on my secondhand journey.

What is your favorite room and why? Our living room has my heart. From the windows that cover the entire exterior wall all the way to the pair of archways that bring you out the front door or into the dining room. It’s bright and full, and it feels like a home. It also houses many of my favorite pieces, including my first major thrifting find and the piece I intend to pass down for generations: a rust-orange, mid-century, three-cushion couch. It’s not something you’d ever want to take a nap on, but it feels like me.

I found this set of lockers for $15 on Facebook Marketplace! I'm not sure my future brother-in-law will ever forgive me for what he went through to get it up to the seventh floor, but I couldn't be happier with how it fits in the space.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? My most recent find was a set of $15 cream-colored lockers from Facebook Marketplace! I had been on the hunt for the perfect set of lockers for a while because I just knew it would be the perfect piece to offset all of the wood in the room. Bonus: I now have even more storage!

I own more than 300 books, and in a smaller space like this, that means getting a little creative with how I display them! As long as I remember to dust, this arrangement has been one of my favorites.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Warm-toned maximalism found while thrifting

The sunset creates the perfect atmosphere for a lazy Saturday afternoon.

Any advice for creating a home you love? Take it slow! I think social media has conditioned us to want to get our dream home done NOW, whether it be to create fun before/after content or just to keep up with the Joneses. But I think that’s a trap that only leads to disliking your design after a few months. Be intentional, do your research, and wait for the perfect piece! That also doesn’t mean spending a bajillion dollars. There are so many great finds on Facebook Marketplace, local markets, and even in your neighbor’s trash… if you’re bold enough to look!

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