From the discount futon and pinned-up Salvador Dali poster, to the loosely Eastern-themed bedroom, I have to admit I was pretty proud of my first post-dorm apartment. Looking back, it was kind of a disaster. If you’re just getting the keys to your first place, you don’t have to be like me. Designer Kyle Schuneman‘s book, The First Apartment Book: Cool Design for Small Spaces, shows you how people across the country created beautiful, functional spaces on a budget — and includes easy projects so you can live stylishly, too.
The book gives you a peek inside 10 very different first apartments, from an art lover’s teeny-tiny NYC pad to a Bohemian attic apartment in Atlanta. Each makeover includes how-to projects to help you get the look, like wall stencils, DIY headboards and ridiculously cute succulent book planters.
Make Your Own: Get the Full How-To for the Succulent Book Planters
“I wanted to do this book because I’m fascinated by how people live,” Kyle says. “Sometimes people don’t want to invite designers over because they’re worried about us judging their spaces. I’d rather make a statement and have you not like it than be ho-hum about it, because I think that life is too short.” That’s why he filled his 700-square-foot first apartment slash office with carefully-curated pieces he loved, like a live-edge coffee table and textural, menswear-inspired accessories, all on a tiny budget. He also disguised what he didn’t love, like the heater hidden behind the faux bois wallpaper panel. Read on to get his tips on creating a space that speaks to your style — completely from scratch.