A Conscious Home

I once listened to an interview between design*sponge’s Grace Bonney and stylist Sibella Court where they reached the conclusion that you are either a fashion person or a home person. Well, I work in fashion and I write about fashion (well apparel and style), but I love home decorating too.

Even though moving is the absolute worst, there is something thrilling in the prospect of making a new space feel like home. But after the experience of writing this blog, I knew that decorating my new apartment, which I moved into in August, was going to be different. This time, I wanted to be intentional about all of my purchases, even though I was starting from scratch without even a fork or a chair to my name (literally).

It was a challenge but one that seemed inevitable. If I am so careful to make sure my clothing purchases are responsible and thoughtful, why shouldn’t I do the same for my home?

So I made some rules:
1. Always question whether the purchase is really necessary. (Do I actually need it?)
2. Try to buy used first.
3. If used isn’t possible, search for handmade, local or sustainably or ethically sourced items.

Extra points, of course, if it’s both used and handmade, local or sustainably-made.

And these rules seemed natural: I am on a budget, I tend to prefer vintage home goods with personality, vintage goods are more likely to have been made to last, and shopping used offered the opportunity to connect with people and have things with a story.

So how is it going?

Well, our apartment is only half-furnished, and literally all of my weekends have been taken up with home projects instead of blog writing. However, we have had some amazing finds. Here are a few of my favorite stories:

The couch
I am terrified of bed bugs, so I assumed the couch was the one thing we’d have to buy new, even though the only options seemed to be a disposable Ikea couch or incredibly expensive designer couches. With my friend’s encouragement, we scoured Craigslist and found a perfect lightly-used Room & board couch for half the retail price but no compromise on style. And it happens to be made in North Carolina (bonus!).

Vintage Ethan Allen table
Another fantastic Craigslist find, this table and set of chairs fits perfectly in our tiny apartment, and we got to wish the seller good luck on a new job as he prepared to move to a new city. His mom had picked up this set years ago and stored it, knowing that one day it’d be the perfect apartment-sized dining table. She was right.

Kitchenware
There’s something really tempting about going to Bed, Bath and Beyond, armed with coupons and leaving with everything you need (until it all breaks). But that place makes me miserable, and there is such a thing as going home with too much. We needed new pots and pans, but the big box stores want you to buy the unnecessary 10-piece set. We decided that we really only needed 4 pieces, so we only bought exactly what we needed. And buying from a restaurant supply shop meant it was reasonably priced and built tough.

As the apartment becomes more like home, I promise to share photos. And if this is something that you’d like me to share more about, leave a note in the comments or tweet @ThisIWear!

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5 comments

  1. Pingback: A Conscious Home Update | This I Wear
  2. Kristian

    Interesting to read about how your home purchases are going based on your shopping rules. Luck and fun to have found a couch too!

    I wonder if one is a home person or a fashion person? Looking at blogging it would seem many are both….

  3. Dus of Cuddly Cacti

    that’s so wonderful that you found so many great things on Craistlist! That couch looks so cozy and perfect to me, and the table sounds awesome. wonderful you made an effort to get fairly made/secondhand for your new home! my husband and i also furnished our home w/ almost all secondhand, and then plenty of fairtrade decorations we purchased from artisans in Mexico : ),
    Cuddly Cacti
    Mitla Moda

  4. Stephanie

    Please share the story on your dresser (with pics) and your recent purchases in San Francisco. Also, share a tutorial on how to build the shelves on your own with the brackets. Can’t wait to come visit and see it all together!

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