GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET

Hello and thanks for stopping in today. As I mentioned in my latest Sundays With Celia Vol 38, my son just moved into a great Chicago apartment decorated on a budget. As two 20-somethings, he and his longtime girlfriend are busy millennials who wanted to have an apartment they could be proud of, but only had limited funds with which to achieve that. So, they invited me to Chicago to help them move, and in the process assist them to decorate with their combined belongings, as well as a few new items they planned to purchase. I’m proud of the results and thought I’d share with you how we decorated their place using existing possessions and a few new things purchased on a budget. I’ll also be sharing with you all of our budget-minded resources.

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Below is a floorplan of the apartment. To better accommodate the furnishing and the flow, we flipped the dining and living spaces from how they are indicated on the diagram.

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Now when you step inside the front door you see the dining area straight ahead. The dining table and chairs were a new purchase for this space. The dining table was affordable yet very sturdy and high quality. The chairs, which are covered in black leather, are very comfortable and take up little space in the smallish area.

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comGREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comGREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comGREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Resources:

  • IKEA Bernhard Chair $159.00
  • IKEA Mockelby Oak Table $699.00
  • IKEA Marit Placemat $1.49
  • CB2 Hida Braided Rug 5 X 8 $699.00 (our rug no longer available)
  • Get 1% rebate on CB2 purchases from Ebates here

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

The wall unit was also a new purchase for this space, while the Paris photo was a holdover from their Philly apartment. The oversized storage basket was purchased at West Elm for last year’s law school apartment and was placed next to his futon to hold sleeping pillows when not in use.

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comGREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Resources:

There was very limited storage space in the relatively small kitchen so we used the upper part of the dining room cabinets to display glassware, barware, and other decorative items.

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

And because there was no pantry space in the kitchen, we used the lower, covered part of the unit as food & small appliance storage.

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

There was also no room in the apartment for a desk. Since my son is a law student we needed to find a place for him to study comfortably. We decided the far end of the dining table could double as a desk and we placed a storage unit, purchased at Target, adjacent to the table where he could store office supplies.

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

And his nifty LED Desk lamp is at the ready as well.

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

He also has a pretty view out the window. We placed some artificial plants from IKEA on the window sill to brighten up the space with a little greenery.

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

  • IKEA Artificial Potted Plant $5.99

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

On a nearby wall we placed an IKEA shelf unit where he could conveniently house all of his law books.

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Resources:

  • IKEA Artificial Potted Plant $5.99
  • The candlesticks come from World Market. Find similar ones here.
  • Get a 4% rebate on World Market purchases from Ebates here

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Last summer my son and his girlfriend walked The Camino in Spain. For their Christmas presents they asked if we would frame their Camino Passports and Certificates. The beautifully framed momentoes from their epic journey now adorn the walls of their living room.

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

As a housewarming gift I gave them a new couch. We decided on IKEA’s new Farlov Sofa, which I think is very on point and in keeping with today’s latest design trends. The pillows are Ralph Lauren from his freshman dorm room in undergraduate school. They are still in great shape and are also perfect for this new space! That’s thanks to the fact that we maintained the same design esthetic and color scheme for all of his subsequent residences.

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

  • IKEA Farlov Sofa $699.00

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Photo above was taken in progress before the space was finished

This is actually the 3rd apartment I have helped my son move into in the last 4 years. 3 years ago we purchased the wicker chair and console table for his Philadelphia apartment. It now works beautifully in his new abode, although we do need to replace the red cushion.

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

And this time last year I helped my son move into a studio apartment in graduate housing for his first year of law school. For that apartment we purchased 2 of these storage baskets and trays to serve as a multifunctioning coffee table. It too was just what we needed for his new living room. And because they get a lot of overnight guests who will be sleeping on the sofa, I placed a set of bedding inside one of the cubes, convenient for their next houseguest.

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comGREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Resources

In their Philly apartment we had used the console table (shown below) in the dining room. Now it functions perfectly as a media center. We just added the seagrass baskets to hold DVD’s and other media items.

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Resources:

  • IKEA Hemnes Console Table $219.00
  • IKEA Artificial Potted Plant $5.99

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comGREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Resources:

  • IKEA Hutten Wine Rack $9.99
  • IKEA Knipsa Seagrass Basket $14.99

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

They also have a small outdoor balcony, just big enough for a small BBQ and this great folding bistro set.

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Resource:

  • IKEA Askholmen Table & 2 Chairs $64.99

Stepping back inside from the balcony you get a view of the kitchen and counter area as well as the layout of the living room area where we placed the wicker chair and a floor lamp.

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comGREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Resources:

  • IKEA Byholma/Marieberg Chair $114.98
  • IKEA Ranarp Floor Lamp $44.99 (Similar style. Ours is no longer available)

They will be doing casual dining at the kitchen counter where there was just enough room for 3 bar stools.

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comGREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Resources:

  • IKEA Ingolf Barstool $59.00
  • IKEA Malinda Chair Cushion $4.49

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I used a small lamp placed on top of some books to give some extra light and a little decor to the kitchen counter area.

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comGREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Resources:

I used the same table lamps in the bedroom, where we didn’t have to add a thing. We simply used everything from their Philly apartment to decorate the bedroom.

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comGREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Resources:

  • IKEA Hemnes Nightstand $69.99 (no longer available in red)
  • IKEA Alvine Stra Duvet Cover & Pillow Case $39.99
  • IKEA Mie Ruta Duvet Cover & Pillow Case $29.99

To complete the bedroom decor I hung Ann’s Medical School Diploma along with her Residency Match Letter and a photo of her medical school buddies.

GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Well, that’s it folks. I hope I’ve inspired you with some affordable, budget-minded design ideas and given you some helpful resources too. I know that decorating from the Big Box Stores isn’t always ideal, but it is the way to go when time and budget don’t afford a more curated method of decorating. It will do these young people just fine until in a few years, when they have good incomes as a doctor and a lawyer, they can start fresh, making their home their very own.

Happy decorating!

So there you have it: GREAT CHICAGO APARTMENT DECORATED ON A BUDGET

Thanks so much for dropping in! 

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All opinions expressed in this post are my own. All photos are the original property of Celia Becker @ www.AfterOrangeCounty.com and may not be reproduced without specific permission. This post contains affiliate links that help to make this blog possible.

Comments

  • How lucky they are to have such a wonderful place as two young up and coming professionals. And very fortunate to have your uber talents to help put it all together. You make decorating from big box look so easy and so stylish! Great choices for high style and functionality.

  • Thanks very much Vanessa for your kind comment. In helping my kids decorate with both time and budget constraints, the Big Box stores are my only answer. Unlike my fixer-upper homes where I love curating an eclectic decor with great antiques and vintage finds, I don’t have the time or budget to do that for them. I hope they live nearby one day so I can help them collect quality items for their first real and permanent home.

  • diane

    I have also help decorate multiple apartments for my daughter and new son-in-law and you have taught your kids one of the most important things I taught my daughter…to buy items that can be used in multiple ways and in multiple rooms. My daughter also enjoys the continuity these items bring to each new “home” she has and is learning the difference between quality and junk and spends her home decorating $ wisely as a result. Married to a lawyer I remember how difficult law school is so having a beautiful spot to escape and study is so important. They are lucky to have not only your help in moving but also the benefit of your great decorating eye. Thanks for sharing!

  • Joyce Bedrosian

    Celia…you are so talented and creative! I love how you switched the dining living space… It makes sense! How blessed they are to have your time and talent to create an affordable, chic place. Love it all! P.S. I’m at The Lake and heading up to Bella’s later today!

  • This is fabulous Celia…what a lucky couple to have such a talented mom!

  • Ah Cindy, you are so sweet.

  • Glad you agree with my thinking. Switching the living and dining area really improved the flow and made better sense. Welcome to the lake! Do say hi to Michelle at Bella’s for me. It’s such a GREAT store!

  • The lesson of continuity is indeed important. What’s old is always new again and with a little creativity so many things can be rearranged and repurposed in subsequent residences if you stick to a consistent color scheme and esthetic. What I did realize however in trying to arrange their belongings was that people of their age have not accumulated a lot of possessions yet. So, in trying to accessorize their glass cabinets I had to get real creative. I actually put mixing bowls and mason jars on display, and you know what, it worked. In the not so distant future they can replace those things with china and crystal and all those things we accumulate as adults over time.

  • Shelly Mathes

    Hi Celia, ingenious! My gosh, you are so good, I LOVE the whole place! Lucky couple to have you to help them. But, no pantry? That surprises me. Thanks so much for the items and where they were purchased along with the price points. I hate to see something and then no one tells you where they came from or the cost. The cost is what kills me, like when I click on the item of something I really like and my mouth drops, it’s usually lamps, ha! Thanks, you are wonderful!

  • diane

    You did a great job with what you had! And I love how you placed three of the cabinets together to create that great built-in look.

  • Hi Shelley, I can’t tell you how much it means to get affirmation from my followers. Thanks for taking the time to write and make my day. And I know what you mean about so many things featured on blogs being ridiculously expensive. Simply can’t be the case for these young people on a tight budget.

  • Yes, the apartment has tall, lofty ceilings with exposed ductwork so it needed a tall, wide and narrow wall unit.

  • Deb Hoover

    This is fantastic! You’ve given me many ideas for my daughter. You always have great results, Celia!

  • Thank you so much for your kind comment Deb. Our kids sure are growing up fast!