Hope your month has been going well. When I first started writing that post, the first sentence said "week" instead of "month", so that's how long I've been working on this one. I just have to be honest and say that this has been one of the craziest times in my life for many reasons. And a small part of why is because...I moved into my first apartment!!!
I've been waiting for this moment for a long time because I absolutely love home decor, like I've said before. Decorating a new space brings me so much joy. And this one is our very own! Over the summer (and even during last year, lol), much Pinteresting was done by me and I really took the time to formulate an idea of what I wanted our space - especially my bedroom - to be and to look like. I wanted to make it eclectic, yet cohesive and not overly cluttered. I also wanted to be practical in the sense that I didn't want to bring too much stuff. Moving out of my dorm room last year was extremely stressful and I hadn't realized how much stuff I really put in there! So I did try and incorporate, I suppose, some minimalism as well.
(I definitely made up for what I left in clothes. So many clothes.)
And while I was so extremely excited to get moved in and get started on this very new and very amazing phase of life, it was also crazy. Our place was honestly a bit disastrous on day one. It required numerous days of deep cleaning (I'm talking hands-and-knees-scrubbing-baseboards, people) and because of that I'm so thankful I had my mom with me. This has all been a big adjustment for me, a holy-crap-I-actually-have-to-live-on-my-own realization, and I couldn't have made it through to the point of just being purely excited without her.
Cleaning aside, our apartment is beautiful and I am just in love. My bedroom makes me so happy every time I walk into it. It is so bright - two giant windows let in so much daylight, and I'm talking really giant. Since it's an old Montreal building it has the highest of high ceilings, tall baseboards, and hardwood floors. There is so much character and I am so about it.
I've been moved in for about half a month or so now and my space is almost to the point where I want it to be. There's still a couple more things I'd like to do to my bedroom specifically, and as far as our entire apartment goes, just so many ideas that we all have (there's 5 of us) and want to implement. I'm sure it's going to be a year-long project.But I truly am comfortable, and actually s u p e r cozy in this new little home. This means that it's time to share some of its ethical and eco-friendly touches! My room is certainly a reflection of who I am with the way it's decorated, and as with what I wear, I also wanted my room to reflect my values. Therefore, I present to you a collection of ethical room decor tips that are ETHIGIRL tried and true!
One more thing before I get into the tips. I just want to be transparent with you all, because that's important to me, and tell you that my space is not even close to entirely ethical or sustainable. Many of the things in my room were purchased from places like IKEA or even the dollar store. This article, therefore, will not sugarcoat the fact that everything I own hasn't come from somewhere I'm proud of. However, what I am proud of is that I have - with the time and resources available to me - done my best to add as many ethical, sustainable touches as I've been able to. I write this to provide advice to others who wish to do the same.
TIP #1: Display Your Clothing!
Okay, so at this point I think it's pretty well-established that I love clothes. I don't think anyone who knows me (through either my online persona or in real life) would disagree with that assertion. Therefore, I absolutely have to include this tip because it's something I totally did: decorate with those beautiful, amazing, carefully curated clothes!
HOW TO DO IT
Buy a clothing rack, as pictured below. (Mine is from IKEA and I like it because it's got a shelf-sort-of-thing going on underneath the rod where you can also display and/or store things.) Get matching hangers (also from IKEA but probably thriftable?), I promise it'll make this decor look a million times classier. Choose your absolute favourite wardrobe pieces and hang them in an order that looks nice. Mine are colour-coded right now but I might change it! For inspiration just search "clothing rack" on Pinterest.
I also added some other special touches. First of all, I also hung my favourite necklaces, a thrifted bandana, and my purse on the end. I then picked up several wooden crates from IKEA which I keep my t-shirts in, and placed those on the shelf. Underneath, I placed my favourite pairs of shoes. I'm so happy with the end result because I love having all my beloved pieces in one place, including accessories! It's also incredibly practical, as it makes getting dressed in the morning so easy and elegant.
TIP #2: Display Experiences and Hobbies!
I am a big fan of spending money on experiences over things (except I also really like buying clothes...but I count that as an experience) because it's more zero-waste and, really, to get a lil ethi-DEEP in this post (I'm listening to sad indie right now which induces these emotions) what do we have at the end of the day other than good memories and the people with whom we shared them? Experiences are important.
But so is keeping them close, where you can see them. Printing out photos, hanging concert or plane tickets, preserving flowers you've received by pressing them, putting up birthday or thank-you cards...all of these things make for an absolutely gorgeous gallery wall filled with memories and times that make you happy to look back upon. Just use sticky tack and avoid damaging your walls (#rentalthings). I've got my gallery wall, but there is so much more that I need to add to it. I love the look of them, though, and I love all that it represents.
As well, so many people have so many fascinating interests and hobbies. Aside from slow fashion, of course, I absolutely love music. Like I mentioned moments ago, I am listening to some sad indie, which is honestly kinda my thing. That's what I tell people, anyway! I am always on the lookout for concerts, always saving new songs on Spotify, always listening to something while I study or hang out with friends or cook dinner. And I love my record player! Yes, that's right, I'm one of those new age Tumblr hipsters that has a record player and constantly posts Instagram stories of it. I'm that person. I accept it. But really! There is something so involved and exciting about going through the motion of taking out a beautiful vinyl record and putting it on and sort of being awestruck by the whole experience.
(p.s. - shameless plug - follow me here on Spotify)
Therefore, I choose to display my record player very openly. In my new room, I actually have it on top of a small wooden table that my great-grandfather made and my grandparents gave to me a couple of years ago. I think the whole look of it, the contrast of the new and the old, works wonderfully. I always keep one record displayed on top (usually whatever I most recently played). Feel free to hit me up for music suggestions.
Aside from this, however, you can display so many other things. I have a lot of friends who read all the time and display their books in a beautiful way, like my best friend Mollie, who brought a fraction of her library to Montreal with her and has used them to decorate her bedroom. She was kind enough to take some gorgeous photos for me, one of which is the feature at the beginning of the post, and one which I've added here. :) Thank you, Mollie! Or if you play a sport, choose an elegant way to display your equipment or medals. I say, take advantage of Pinterest, always. That's how I get most of my ideas.
TIP #3: Plants, Literally Always
Do I even have to say this? Everybody is obsessed with plants right now. But holy moley they are so beautiful and add so much elegance to any space. And what's more sustainable than nature?
If you go on Pinterest and Tumblr and look up dorm/apartment decor, like more than half of the photos will include at least one plant. Doing this will give you countless styling tips. And they're usually in super cute planters too. I love it. What can be easier than hitting up your local florist or plant shop and grabbing a couple houseplants? Even just one or two perched on a shelf really add a special something to any space. Oh, and also science - plants make oxygen! Yay for good air quality and reduced toxins and what have you! All good things! When I moved into my apartment my best friend bought me a beautiful plant with pink flowers that I repotted into a mason jar and I'm so in love with the result!
The only thing I would say is that those trendy succulents can get pricey, meaning it's not the most affordable to buy a bunch of them at once. I only have one right now because Duncan, my other plant, didn't make the trip from New Brunswick :( he'll come back with me after Christmas. In the meantime, however, a FREE way to get a new plant is to take the cuttings from an already-grown one! I have never tried this but apparently it works with succulents. So, if, say, your pal has a gorgeous aloe vera and they are willing to spare one of the leaves, allegedly you can re-plant it and have your own aloe vera! I've never tried it, though, so please do not sue me if it doesn't work for you. I also recognize that my given instructions may leave something to be desired, so please refer to this article to learn more, as it describes the process in detail.
TIP #4: Thrifting and Yard Sales Are Your Best Friends
Am I predictable yet? I feel that this a very on-brand suggestion for me, but of course I can't not mention my love and adoration for thrift shops! <3 As well as obviously being better for the environment, saving things from landfills, and just being super freaking fun, it's also just way more rewarding to find something really cool at a thrift store, yard sale, or secondhand shop. Why go to Target or Urban Outfitters and spend way more money, plus not have the treasure hunt experience that thrifting provides?
I have a number of thrifted decor pieces in my room. My favourites are my warped record bowl, which I found at a yard sale back in New Brunswick a few years ago, my ceramic terra cotta pot for Duncan plant (which contains Duncan, who is not with me, miss you love), a seal-shaped decor piece that I use to hold writing utensils, and a super cool vintage National Geographic magazine. I'm always on the lookout, wherever I go, for old, aesthetically-pleasing "coffee table" books. Does that make me a poser because I don't read them?Thrifting for home decor also gets fun if you are willing to be a bit crafty. Try taking something you find and turning it into something new! It can be so cheap. If you don't know what I'm talking about, just check out Youtube. TheSorryGirls, a Canadian DIY duo, often pick up seemingly random pieces from places like Value Village and then transform them into something elegant and beautiful. This video is one of my favourites.
SUB-TIP: Thrift IN your home. I have a very cool china plate with floral details that is not technically thrifted from a store, but I just sort of found it in my basement one time and now it's a thing I use to decorate or as a catch-all.
And there you have it! Four very simple and easy-to-implement tips that will instantly make your space not only more beautiful but more sustainable. That is something you can certainly feel good about. I will conclude by linking to Ethigirl's Pinterest account, which includes (amongst so, so many other wonderful things) a board all about apartment and room decor. Feel free to check it out!
I'm so grateful for what I have here in Montreal and so amazed that I have the opportunity to go to school, to live, and to truly thrive. It is something I try not to take for granted. I am so excited about what experiences living in my first apartment will bring and I will certainly keep you all updated on how this goes.
As always, with love and sustainability,