So I know that I’ve been promising this post for ages, but it’s finally here! Because I’m such a homebody, it’s really important to me to create a home that I truly enjoy being in and actually feels like home. So below I’ve shared photos of the majority of the decor in our home. Everything pictured below is still a work in progress, I’m constantly adding and moving things but I thought it was finally time to share where we’re at now. I’ll add more details about each space below but just a few general tips:
- Frames – Check out stores like Ross, Marshall’s and TJ Maxx to find cheaper photo frames. I personally haven’t gotten a chance to do this but also check out your local dollar store! If I see something I like, I usually just pick it up and worry about what I’m going to actually put in it afterwards.
- Gifts – As you’ll see when I describe each photo below, a good number of things we have around our apartment were actually wedding gifts from friends. While we didn’t request anything like that, I think people just thought to give us gifts like this because they knew we were starting a new home together. If you have a birthday, graduation, etc coming up and someone asks what you’d like, you can ask them to give you a gift for your home that they think describes your personality. It’s so nice to have things around our house from people who mean so much to us.
- Souvenirs – In the past year or so, hubby and I have been lucky enough to travel to a couple places around the country. We have a mug collection so we buy a mug from every city we’ve visited together. But I also really like buying ‘functional’ souvenirs for our home. You’ll see a calendar below that we picked up at the Chihuly Garden and Glass.
- Thrift/Antique Shops – I’m a big believer in supporting small and local businesses so these shops are one of my favorites. I’ve picked up a few of the pieces around our home from a local antique shop.
As an amateur photographer, I really enjoy taking photos during our travels. I mostly photograph architecture but occasionally I get really great photos of hubby (left). I love printing these photos and putting them in various frames I’ve picked up while shopping. This is probably my favorite wall in our apartment. When studying gets to be too much (and feels like it’ll never end) I love having this reminder of all the fun places we’ve been to and that we’ll continue to do so. I still have to pick up a couple more frames to add shots from our trip to Northern California last week. The letters were used at my bridal shower and I painted the two letters a couple months ago (same paint that I used for the cork boards in a previous post!).
In college, I went on a humanitarian mission with a local NPO to Haiti. It was definitely a really life changing experience because it helped me understand what kind of humanitarian work I would like to pursue in the future. I definitely see myself returning to Haiti in the future and working to help improve their health care systems. Going on this trip really opened my eyes to the idea of ‘voluntourism‘ and how I really did not want to ever participate in short term trips that did more to change my life than actually help anyone in the region I was visiting. The mentality I have now adopted is put so poignantly in this quote by Lao Tzu: “Go to the people. Live with them. Learn from them. Love them. Start with what they know. Build with what they have. But with the best leaders, when the work is done, the task accomplished, the people will say ‘We have done this ourselves.'” The paintings shown above were done by one of the local Haitian artists. I love the contrast between the bright and vibrant colors he used in the one on the left and the complete gray scale in the one on the right.
This is the calendar that I mentioned above from Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle, Washington. We obviously don’t really use the calendar to check dates or anything since we can easily access that on our phone. But it’s nice to record exciting things on it like: the first time we went to the farmers’ market, various travels, finishing MS1, graduation, etc. We also have people who visit the apartment sign it and leave a note. I think it’ll be really fun to look back at every year of our marriage in this way.
This is the little ‘marriage’ corner of our apartment. The white frame was a wedding gift from our friend and shows both mine and hubby’s frames – I thought this was the cutest idea! The fairytale book is what hubby used to propose 🙂 it still has the rose petals in it that surrounded the ring box.
Hubby is a huge fan of Calvin & Hobbes so I had this puzzle made from a puzzle generating website last year for Valentines Day. It took us soooo long to finish because so many of the pieces are just black so it was hard to place them. But once we finished, I framed it in this black frame I picked up at Marshall’s.
One time my cousin was staying over at our place and was deeply upset that we did not have a single clock in our apartment haha so I picked up this one at World Market. I did feel kind of strange buying an antique-y clock from there and I don’t think I will be purchasing anything else from there in the future. The borderline appropriation of the business kind of strikes me the wrong way so I’ve stayed away since then. The paintings below were a purchase from an antique shop.
I’ve posted about 5ive Pillars before in my posts about my t shirt with the exact same print. We purchased this movie sized poster during their Eid sale earlier this year. The text reads BISMILLAH, which translates to ‘In the name of God.’ Originally we were going to hang it but I really liked how it looked sitting on the floor so it’s been there since. It’s right by our front door, hence the keys hanging, and serves as a great reminder to slow down after I come home from a particularly long day.
One of my mom’s colleagues got us a National Geographic subscription as a wedding gift and we were also getting JAMA magazines too and I was getting really tired of having piles of them laying around our apartment. So while antique shopping, I came across this rusted tool box and it was perfect! It even had this top layer that we use for remotes and coasters on our coffee table.
Hubby and I are both superhero nerds so I was super excited when he picked up this minimalist Marvel poster. We framed the poster to make it a little more ‘adult’ since we’re married and apparently that means we’re adults now haha.
These mini shelves were also wedding gifts, as were the vase and candle with the Arabic calligraphy of verses from the Qur’an. We also have two of hubby’s tennis trophies on display! The little elephant at the top is named ‘Scrubz’ (shout out to my college roomie for thinking of such a perfect name!) and he was a gift from my parents the day I found out I got into med school!
One of our good friends painted this as a wedding gift! She painted orchids cause hubby told her that orchids are my favorite. You can check out more of her work on her Instagram.
This was also a gift from one my best friends in college. She’s also a big fan of photography and took a photo of this tree on our campus in each season. It’s super meaningful, of course, because it’s from such a close friend but also because hubby and I met on that campus so it’s a pretty great addition to our home.
And lastly, this is the side table in our bedroom. I picked up that adorable lamp at a local antique shop. The photo was taken the day we got our marriage license at the courthouse (don’t we look like such babies!?). The puppy and penguin stuffed animals were gifts to me from hubby and the Baymax was a gift from me to him. We always joke about how they’re our ‘babies’ haha.
So I hope you enjoyed this post! I think making your home a place you really enjoy being in is so incredibly important. It’s also a great way for me to relieve stress during study breaks. Hope you all have a great week!