Pop, Sparkle, and Shine: Create Your Inspiration Space

In the busyness of daily life, it is nice to come home to a place that’s soothing and serene. Whether you’re moving every six months or planning to stay in one place for several years, you’ll want to make your apartment a comfortable space in which you can kick back and relax. Growing research suggests that the design of interior environments can influence health and well-being. For example, the presence of daylight and other natural elements and wall art is thought to reduce stress and promote psychological health. If you move often, it can be tempting to keep your apartment barren and in move-out ready condition, but small touches like adding a couple plants and hanging up a few pictures can create a completely different look and feel!

Here are some design tips to make your apartment feel more relaxing and inspirational – a space where you can rest and de-stress – while sticking to a tight budget. The key is to make these additions gradually and keep an eye out for sales!

01. Go natural. Plants not only promote better indoor air quality and produce the oxygen we need to survive, they also brighten any room. Peace lilies are popular house plants, known for their resilience, easy care, and air-purifying qualities. Pictures with natural views and cool blue tones that are reminiscent of the sky, a river, or lake can maintain a sense of peacefulness and solitude, creating a park or spa-like feel. A painting of a tranquil lake surrounded by mountains, an azure-blue futon cover and throw pillows, or a lucky bamboo plant are all items that can help provide a calming ambiance.


02. Add some curves. Round tables, chairs, and rugs are a fun twist from the usual rectangular furniture! A papasan chair – both cost effective and functional – makes a great accent chair and is comfy for curling up and reading a book!


03. Lighten up. White furniture bounces light around, brightening up any room. In my living room, I have floor lamps with puffy white shades, ivory upholstered chairs, and white book shelves that reflect natural light and help create a fresh look.


04. See clearly. Mirrors and glass tables create a sense of openness, making a room feel more spacious and inviting.


05. Think bold. Mixing and matching different patterns, textures, and splashes of color with neutrals can liven up your space. Choose colors and patterns that are meaningful to you and reflect your personality! For example, my futon and throw pillows have subtle blue and gold undertones, representing my alma mater’s colors!


06. Personalize your wall art. Surround yourself with bright images, positive words, and artwork that reflects your passions, interests, and goals! Love to travel? Make your own travel gallery with pictures and souvenirs from places you’ve visited.


Personal touches make a room more inviting and conversational. From the water color painting of Champs-Élysées that I bought from an art school student on a bridge in Paris to a colorful fan of La Catedral I picked up at an art market in Old Havana, all the decor in my apartment has a story and reminds me of my  adventures!

Mix n’ match styles and design your inspiration space in a way that is uniquely you!


“The world tells you to hurry. Art tells you to take your time. Always listen to the art.”

-Junot Diaz




Pictures from here, here, here, here, here, here, here.

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