IMG_3617For a long time, this apartment was very empty, cold and boring.  Over the last year or so, I’ve managed to create an interesting and cozy apartment on a VERY small budget.  In this post I’ll be showing you how I put together my bookcase and what visually makes it interesting while keeping my bank account happy.

IMG_3618First off, we live in a very tiny space – it’s about 615sq feet. It is basically a living area, open concept kitchen that is attached to the living space, bathroom and small bedroom with a Juliet balcony.  having said that, I had to be careful not to crowd too much into it because it could easily end up looking like something from the show Hoarders.  At the same time, I wanted it to be eclectic, interesting and personalized with things I had collected on my ventures.  There is a very fine line that can be crossed there.  Over all, I think we accomplished the look I had imagined and are very happy with the way it looks at present. However, as many of you know, interior design is never complete.  I am constantly thinking of how I might change it and eying new objects in passing that I might incorporate into the space in the future.

IMG_3591Bookshelf – Ikea, Picture – Ikea, Bar sign – vintage, Martini shaker – Target

The bookcase is just THIS simple and inexpensive option from ikea.  I chose it because it isn’t too heavy looking because of the open back and glass shelves.  Because it is very light feeling, it left me more freedom for all my odds and ends that I used to fill up the shelves.

I couldn’t resist this little mirrored bar sign when I spotted it at a local vintage shop.  Not to mention it cost a mere $2.  It remind me of something from an old country bar. It sits perfectly below our liquor of choice.

IMG_3595Fan – from my grandparents house, Flowers – dollar store, vase – vintage

When my grandparents were moving out of their house, I jumped at the chance to save this fan.  At the time, I had no where to put it but I knew I loved it enough to store it and use it in a future apartment.  I see them all the time in vintage shops.  I’ve seen them sell for upwards of $75 in ritzy vintage shops.  Definitely a good keep and it adds a cool interest to the wall. The flowers fill the space behind the fan and give texture to the shelf.  I kept the colour of the flowers neutral because I already had a few other muted colours running though the unit.

IMG_3594Wooden tray – Superstore

I chose to allot a whole shelf to our liquor because, truth be told, my boyfriend and I like to play bartender on weekends. I put everything on a wooden tray to that it would be easy to slide out and reach the bottles that are tucked away at the back.  This one spoke to me.  I am a sucker for anything made of wood. 

IMG_3599Plant – Ikea, Clock – HomeSense (clearance), Globe – vintage, Wine rack – Ikea, bookends – Ikea

I always think it’s strange when people don’t use their WHOLE bookcase.  Meaning, nothing on the top shelf! I added tall objects that were all different heights to accentuate the height of our ceilings. If I hadn’t done that, the eye stops at the top of the bookcase and makes the room shorter than it really is.

IMG_3602The bottoms shelf seen here is just meant to look casual and not too tidy.  We keep a deck of playing cards and the boyfriends cigars here.

IMG_3600#98 jar – HomeSense, Coffee box – Vintage, Wine crank – vintage

This coffee box is what we use to catch our keys as we come through the door.  I love having spot that keeps my keys out of sight but are close to the door and easy to get at.  Plus, I NEVER spend time looking for my keys, I always know where they are.

IMG_3608Red cross picture- DIY, Picture – Vintage, Brown leather box – Vintage, books – Boyfriends

I like the idea of having a picture rest against the wall behind a stack of books, as seen here (and there are no holes in the walls).  That way it isn’t just plain beige wall behind everything.  Again, I kept it neutral in black and white and the picture itself has a old world feel to it that goes along with the rest of the decor.


Tray – vintage, Glass box – vintage

As I mentioned, I am a sucker for wood.  Especially aged wood with a decorative design like this one.  I picked it up for just a few dollars at a local vintage shop.  

Just as an FYI – all the books are my boyfriends (he reads a lot of finance based books), the big chest next to the bookcase is also vintage and the chalkboard was a DIY.

So, there you have it.  My eclectic, random and inexpensive bookcase.  The take home message here is that good design does not have to be expensive, you just need a little creativity and time to put into it.  Vintage shops have a TON of cool nik-naks (some of which break my heart to leave behind!) you just need some patience to go through all the stuff and weed out the junk.  I also think that watching design shows and using pictures from sites like Pinterest help a lot if your unsure of how to put it all together. So get in there and give it a try! If you don’t like the way it turned out, return/exchange things and move items around until you are pleased! I can’t tell you how many times I moved all these items around the apartment before they ended up in their current resting spot.

Hope all that was helpful and inspiring! Happy designing 🙂

Xo, Andrea



  1. Lindsey Pengilly
    March 27, 2013 / 4:29 pm

    You really spruced up that Ikea bookshelf nicely 🙂 and you ave great taste in booze! haha Thanks for the post-Lindsey

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