From a very young age, I knew that I was a homebody. I preferred my bed to the playground, my books to bikes, my own company to that of other kids. (It’s either my own company or that of old people, which, again, is further proof of how I was basically a grandma from the day I was born.)

And because I was always in my bedroom, I’ve always found ways to personalize and decorate my space: DIYs, wall decals, sewing projects started but never finished–the works. I went through a yellow-wall, rainbow-accents phase (also known as the Lizzie McGuire era), and eventually graduating to a more toned down, all-white-with-one-accent-brick-wall style.

Not going to lie, when I first saw the One Room Challenge online–I was so jealous of everyone participating. I’ve been a voyeur of the ORC from the year it first began, and longed for the day when I finally had the apartment and the budget and the time to join.

I never thought that a pandemic was going to be the thing that would give me all three (time, budget, apartment)–but here we are.

And so for my first ever One Room Challenge, I’ve decided to jump in with both feet and decorate our…


Where We Are: Washington, D.C.

This is what our living room looked like for a few weeks after we moved to D.C. last September. Check out that coffee table I mean, Lowe’s bucket!

For those of you who aren’t following me on Instagram, let me catch you up real quick: In the last 5 weeks, I moved to D.C. semi-permanently (a long ways away from my homeland, the Philippines) and married my long-time beau and best friend.

This is our first real “together” apartment, so it’s a pretty huge deal.

The living room is where we spend the most time together. He comes home from work, and this is where we sit to catch up, unwind, watch Netflix/Prime/Hulu/HBO/YouTube, and sometimes (okay, most of the time), where eat dinner.

So it just makes sense that I spend the most time and effort to making sure that our Together Space is comfortable, cozy, and best reflects who we are.

Constraints Drive Creativity

Now, I’m a big believer that creativity thrives when faced with constraints–so I’m going to set myself a few:

  1. Design with purpose: I want to approach this One Room Challenge purposefully–to design our space with intention, instead of just “styling” for cuteness or trendiness. For example, those trendy, fluffy pampas grass? Cute AF, yes. But will I spend $30 on it? Heck no. We have a very limited budget, and I would like to spend those resources on things that will really make our living room feel cozy and comfortable, and unfortunately, pampas grass don’t help with any of that. (No offense to those who have it, haha! If you have the budget and it fits your goals, go fot it!) If I really, truly love the look, then I’ll try my best to find a way to DIY/forage for my own. My priority right now is purpose over trendiness.
  2. 80% of what I add to the room should be either thrifted, secondhand, or antique: As I mentioned, we are on a tight budget right now. Besides, we will probably only be in DC for about a year, give or take. And so as much as possible, I want to get everything secondhand, and only if I have to–be very mindful and intentional about what new pieces I do invest in. I’m actually preeeeeeetty good at scouring Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace, so I’m excited to take on this as less of a budget constraint, but rather, more of a creative challenge.

Those are the two major guidelines I’m setting for myself. I’m very excited but also rather nervous, because thrifting most of everything means that the end result will depend a lot on what is available on the secondhand market. I have a few ideas about what I like and what I’m keeping an eye out for, such as:

  • a tall mid-century modern floor lamp,
  • pink or blue accent vases/lamps,
  • a brass side table,
  • a brass/gold/wood arch mirror,
  • and an 8×10 rug with a light base and quieter/cleaner pattern

But there is absolutely NO guarantee that these things will show up on Craigslist or FB Marketplace. Oh, the thrill of the hunt!

The Additions + Projects I’ll Be Working On:

  • Adding a second couch and accent chair (these are already waiting in the wings; you’ll see them on Week 2)
  • Laying out a gallery wall on Week 3
  • Maybe DIY-ing an art piece or two for the gallery wall
  • Styling the brown couch, which I am not in love with (a kind way of saying… ugh)
  • Painting an old chair to turn it into a side table, if I don’t find a secondhand side table online
  • Maybe (just maybe) putting stick-on tile on the fireplace to brighten it up

The goal is to eventually end up with a cozy living room that my husband will be excited to come home to, and where we can enjoy cozying up once winter arrives (my first ever winter!).

Get more behind-the-scenes, real-time updates

Be sure to follow me on Instagram! This is where I’ll be sharing more real-time, behind-the-scenes updates throughout the next six weeks.

The ORC is a biannual design event. Over the course of six weeks, participants share their process as they transform a room. You may check out all the other guest participants here.

1 Comment

  1. First congratulations on the big move and apartment! I’m looking forward to seeing what you find out there thrifting.

Write A Comment