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I am the worst at making design decisions for my own apartment.
Back in May of last year, I wrote about how I’d been looking for a rug for our living room for 110 days and just could not, for various reasons, make it happen. The article went live and I still didn’t order one. May rolled into June, the summer went by, and, still, no rug. It wasn’t until October that I finally ordered one, and now our living room looks marginally less like we just moved in.
But our bedroom is—still—looking a bit unfinished. It’s naturally an awkward room: It is long and narrow and, because it’s at the back of our apartment, it’s also dark. Right now it’s serving lots of purposes: a place to sleep, yes, but also storage for clothes, shoes, the drying rack, the vacuum, and our suitcases. It’s functional, but it’s missing all of the finishing touches, the things that would transform it from feeling like a storage space into a haven, a space with some personality and thoughtfulness behind it. Pretty important for a bedroom (and literally half of our apartment).
The thing is, I just don’t have the budget for an all-out makeover, which partly explains my holdup. I could get a rug, but then I wouldn’t be able to get anything else, so what’s the point?
Then I decided to do an experiment. I set myself a limit: a $100 budget, tops, to change the look of my dark, bare-bones bedroom, from the floor up. And I decided to stick with just one vendor—IKEA—because, well, they’re design-forward and affordable, and also to prevent me from going down a sleuthing rabbit hole all over the Internet (which I would do). Impossible? Maybe. But there’s nothing that kicks me into action like finagling a good deal. Challenge accepted.
Here's what I ended up with:
1. Stoense Rug, $39.99
First, a neutral, low-pile rug to soften the whole space—it’s a bedroom, after all, and ours could feel more serene and cozy. Plus, it would probably be a little easier to get out of bed in the morning with a rug underfoot, instead of cold wood floors. I started with the rug because I knew it would take up a chunk of my $100 budget, but this one’s under $40—not a bad start.
2. Tokabo Table Lamp, $11.99
I was looking for a sculptural bedside lamp, and bingo, I found one! I like the domed glass top, and at just six inches-high, this petite one will fit on the stool that I use as a very tiny bedside table.
Budget left: $48.02
3. Sanela Cushion Cover, $7.99
I’m going through an obsession with olive green—a tiny foray away from my usual greys, blacks, and whites—and this pillow, in cotton velvet, would add subtle texture to the bed. It’s not available online, so I'll have to make a pilgrimage to IKEA which, let’s be honest, can be dangerous on a $100 budget.
Budget left: $40.03
4. Sejerby Sheepskin, $29.99
No room is complete, in my opinion, without a (faux) sheepskin. Toss one on literally anything—the bed, a chair, layered atop a rug—and you’ve got instant texture and a bit of a luxe look. And since I read somewhere that it’s sometimes better to embrace dark hues in a dim room (rather than trying to brighten it with all-white everything), I’ll take this one in a dark grey.
Budget left: $10.04
5. Vårkrage Throw, $4.99
This throw is on point with the whole grids trend. Plus, $4.99? Sold.
Budget left: $5.05
6. Jåll Laundry Bag, $5.99
In a tiny apartment like ours, where there’s not much storage and everything’s out in the open, it makes a difference when even the utilitarian stuff is as good-looking as possible. This small-space-friendly laundry hamper folds up when not in use, and is actually nice to look at when it is.
Total Spent: $100.94
Okay, so I went 94 cents over budget. But still! Who knew that a pretty complete room re-do, rug and all, was actually achievable for $100, and that I don’t have to spend a fortune to make the bedroom a more considered place to start and end the day.
In fact, some of my purchases just arrived, and I thought you might like a peek. And because I have the worst track record when it comes to procrastinating over decor purchases, I'm just going to say: this is a big win.