In all my years of renting apartments, I’ve learned a few tricks along the way – mostly that no painting is a mere suggestion (right?!?!) and that displaying things you love is a must. Artwork and pictures, decorative pieces that you can carry on to the next space – these all make for a little slice of home no matter if you rent or own. Take SMP Blogger BrideMichaela Noelle Designs’ one bedroom for example. It’s pure perfection and she’s spilling the details on her process from move-in to its current state of gorg all photographed by Ashley Slater.

In May of 2014, I packed my bags to move from California to Michigan to live near my boyfriend, finally ending the (extremely) long distance between us. I’m sure glad I moved, because we are now engaged and planning our September 2016 wedding! You can read all about it today on Style Me Pretty Weddings.

Thankfully my apartment is on the top floor, so it features nice vaulted ceilings. This makes the place feel so much bigger than it really is. I knew I wanted to highlight the height of the ceilings, so I made sure to consider that in my design plan by scouring the web for pretty curtains and some statement art. I started the living room design by pulling together a color palette I loved.

Settling on a seaglass, light blue, neutral and gold, I found some gorgeous fabric to make custom pillows. As a designer, I have my grandmother do all of my custom sewing and upholstering work. She’s an interior designer and seamstress herself, so we make a great team! She sewed my beautiful pillows and helped me find the material I recovered my bench with. The pillows sit atop my couch with a chaise lounge on one side, perfect for having friends over. However, this wasn’t my first couch for the apartment.

When I first moved in, one of the challenges I faced was being patient with myself and the decorating process. Being the Type A person I am, I was frustrated that my apartment didn’t come together over night. In an effort to move things along and be able to start watching TV from an actual sofa instead of a pouf (cute as they are– not so comfy!) I purchased a love seat from a local super store. I quickly realized that when my 6’3″ boyfriend came over to watch TV, the tiny love seat just wasn’t cutting it.

I needed a real couch, something more similar to a sectional, that would accommodate both of us. After selling my love seat, I purchased this Pottery Barn couch with a chaise and I love it! I learned a few lessons. First, good and functional design takes time. Don’t settle for a love seat that semi-works, but isn’t great in the long run. Second, you don’t have to fill a small space with tiny furniture. Funny enough, my current sofa is larger than the first one I had, but makes the room feel bigger!

Other design elements in the living room are the gold curtains, hung high above the windows to accent the ceiling height, a desk I found that fit perfectly in the corner for my workspace, a media console I painted with chalk paint to make it fit my farmhouse style better, and a gallery wall hung above and around the TV to help take the focus off the TV.

Open to the living room is the dining room and galley kitchen. In efforts to create the feeling of separate “zones”, I placed a tall bookshelf in the middle of the two spaces, along the wall with the windows. Without actually dividing the two spaces, it does provide a bit of a visual break. To provide continuity, I hung the same curtains in the dining room, found a beautiful thrifted buffet (great for entertaining storage!) and hung metal wall art above. I also changed out my dining room chandelier. Luckily, my property manager said it was fine, as long as I kept he old one to replace when I move out. The chandelier probably gave the room the biggest impact– it’s just my style, open and airy, and pairs nicely with the other pieces.

I wanted my bedroom to feel bright, cozy, sophisticated and soothing. I had a beautiful custom headboard made with nailhead trim, which took care of the “sophisticated” part. Next, I found the most luxurious bedding on the planet from Serena & Lily. It’s the softest and most gorgeous bedding I’ve ever seen.

Keeping in the neutral palette, I went with a gray duvet, layered with sheets with a nice magenta trim. Pillows are my favorite (you can never have too many!) so I decked out the bed with two euro shams in a fog blue/gray color, two standard shams that pull in the magenta, and then two fun accent pillows tying in the pop of color again. Since the headboard was visually heavy, I knew I needed something light above it. When I found this adorable “goodnight” wire sign, I knew it was perfect! The bedroom is finished off with a beautiful and plush rug, simple nightstand and thrifted dresser.

Finally, after over a year of living here, the place is done just the way I love it. And guess what? Because we’re getting married and moving in together this fall, we’ll be moving to a new, bigger place. Isn’t that how it always happens?! In this design journey, I’ve learned to take my time and really make sure I LOVE what I’m putting into my little home. That’s what makes a house a home anyways– filling it with treasures you adore.

Photography: Ashley Slater | Design & Styling: Michaela Noelle Designs | Bar Cart: World Market | Bathroom Painting: Evelyn Henson | Bathroom Rug: Anthropologie | Beautiful Morning & I Choose Joy print: Parris Chic Boutique | Bedding & Nightstand: Serena & Lily | Bedroom Curtains: Martha & Ash | Bedside Lamp: Lulu & Georgia | Bookshelf: 55 Downing Street | Cake Plate: Anthropologie | Chalkboard: World Market | Chandelier: World Market | Coffee Table: Lulu & Georgia | Couch: Pottery Barn | Couch Pillows: Michaela Noelle Designs | Desk: Vintage | Dining Chairs: 55 Downing Street | Dining Room Buffet: Bluedoor Antiques | Dining Table: Custom | Dresser: Painted Farmgirl | EAT Letters: Amazon | Floral Bed Pillows: Caitlin Wilson | Gallery Wall Art: Minted | Gold Curtains: Crate & Barrel | Gold Pouf: Lulu & Georgia | Gold Tray: World Market | Goodnight Sculpture: Anthropologie | Headboard: Three Strands Designs | Metal Plaques: Pottery Barn (similar) | Tea Time Print: Lily & Val | Wood Sign: House of Belonging