I moved into my literal dream apartment about 6 months ago.
My previous place, where I lived for a whopping 5 years, was not so bad but it was a very dark rear unit, a little cramped and just very badly maintained. I love me a vintage Chicago apartment but if they’re not properly kept up, they can quickly descend into chaos. It didn’t help that my building manager was a total asshole slumlord. But I digress…
My new pad is freaking gorgeous, full of light, beautiful paint colors (I should know, I got to pick them out myself!) and has a fabulous, large front porch. As a vintage loving lady born in the south, I really can’t get enough of porches. Someday I shall have a big, beautiful, columned house with a glorious porch that wraps around the whole damn house and I shall be happy.
As soon as I saw this apartment, I started having makeover dreams of how I’d make the porch look beautiful. But since I moved here in November, it wasn’t really worth doing anything until spring.
Since I’m FINALLY having a housewarming party, I figured now was the time. *Cue the makeover sequence music…
On a cold, gross, rainy day a couple weeks ago, my boyfriend and bestie pitched in to whip this place into shape. I had ordered all the supplies on Amazon (plus a few extras from Jo-Anne Fabrics) and it was go time. Here’s what we did…
Put together insanely cheap patio furniture set – yes, $210 on Amazon for 2 arm chairs, a loveseat and a coffee table. Click here to see it. Update: it was $210 with free shipping when I bought it but looks like the price has gone up a bit since then – it’s now $219.99 + $9.99 shipping, but still a very good deal.
My friend, Danielle, thankfully took charge of mapping out where the hooks on the ceiling needed to go for the lights. I originally bought screw type hooks, but then we discovered the ceiling of the porch wasn’t wood at all, but some type of metal. So we got Command hooks instead and those worked like a dream. And the lights I got (these guys for just $16) have these handy little clamps on each bulb, so they were very easy to attach. And because there’s no power outlet on the porch, I got a long outdoor extension cord and used Command clampy things to keep it anchored along the doorway and up to the ceiling.
3. Ivy Screen
There had been an ugly and worn down wooden lattice on the front side of the porch attached to the iron bars. That had to go but I still wanted a little added privacy from the street. So I found this fake ivy screen on Amazon for $25. I was a little worried that it would look really tacky but it actually looks fucking amazing! We secured it with some green zip ties and added a little strand of fake lily of the valley flowers to finish it off.
Time to roll out the blue carpet! I scored a 4 x 6 outdoor rug on Cost Plus World Market for just $19.99. This was key for bringing it all together and making it feel like an outdoor living room instead of just a porch.
The furniture set just comes with white seat cushions, so I added some colorful throw pillows to the chairs and couch. I continued with the blue theme and then added in some pops of red-orange to make it more fun. The pillows were also really reasonably priced and bought from Cost Plus World Market. Check out the plain ones for $14.99 each (teal and red) and the sweet Italian scooter one for $18.74 I just had to have.
Just as if I were pimping out any room in my house, I had to add some decorative extras to make it feel homey and pretty. In addition to the items mentioned above, I added:
- Weathered looking wind chime from Jo-Ann Fabrics – I don’t recall the price but I think it was around $15.
- Wrought-iron style & colorful candle holders to go with the iron of the porch itself and the black furniture. I had the green wine bottle one already. The red one I got here on Amazon for $8.95 and the black double one was also from Jo-Ann for maybe $10-12.
- The white candle lantern thingy was actually left behind by the previous tenant, score! And the color block pillar candle was another cheapy from Jo-Ann.
- The blue tile table in the corner and the 2 matching chairs on the other side of the porch are from my previous patio furniture set that I bought like 5 years ago on Craigslist for $100.
I couldn’t just rely on fake foliage for that necessary touch of green in my outdoor space, so I decided to make a first attempt (ever!) at keeping plants alive. Luckily, the former tenant or possibly the landlord left behind some lovely mounted planter boxes, so I just had to buy plants and soil. Went to my local garden center ad for about $100, I got 5 herbs (basil, mint, rosemary and oregano), a bunch of flowers a hanging plant and a big bag of soil with fertilizer.
Before & After
So now for the big reveal! After adding it all up, I spent about $400 if you don’t include the plants. Now that’s a decent amount of money, but it’s not bad when you consider the fact that I’ve basically added a new, beautiful living space to my apartment. And I can’t tell you how much joy it brings me to sit out there and enjoy Chicago’s fairly limited window of nice weather in the comfort of my own home. Below you can see the before & after as well as a few more post-makeover shots.
Tell me what you think in a comment! What’s your favorite thing I did? Any ideas to make it even more spectacular?