Making our apartment a home

I recently wrote a blog post about Matt and I moving to a new apartment.

Pauline exploring Leeds
Exploring Leeds!

Every single year without fail since we moved to Leeds, I’ve always spent the month or two after moving, obsessing over creating a space that feels like home. This is then followed with the next few months of random outbursts of energy used to recreate the space.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been like this. My parents used to make fun of the fact that every time they entered my room, it would be totally different. Everytime is a bit of an exaggeration though…more like every week (not sure if that sounds any better ๐Ÿ˜†)

I didn’t know why I used to do this all the time. Now that this habit has followed me onto adulthood, I’ve realised that a huge part of why was because I just found it fun and therapeutic to do. Recently, however, it feels as though I’ve done it a lot because of a mixture of an existential crisis since turning 24 and to feel in control as we pass over 100 days in lockdown.

Friends have told me in the past that my personality type resembles Monica from Friends (lol) For those that have watched the show, in the episode where Chandler moves in with Monica and rearranges and cleans her apartment to do a nice thing for her felt like it was based on my interactions with Matt when he moves something out of place. ๐Ÿ˜‚

Monica cleaning in Friends

Needless to say, I’m not that bad. ๐Ÿคช

I have been doing a lot of rearranging and styling of different areas of our new apartment, however! I thought that it would be fun to write a blog post about what I’ve done to add to our new place.

Living Room

Wall mirror

This is where I’ve set up our little workout space. For more information about my workout set-up, I wrote a detailed blog post with links to everything here.

For the first few days of working out, I realised that I missed having a mirror to look at and watch my form. In our previous apartment, there were a few mirrors that came with the rented place which was useful when I was getting my morning exercise in.

IKEA LOTS mirror
IKEA LOTS mirror in the living room space

We didn’t have this here, so I decided to look around for a mirror. I wasn’t a fan of having a large mirror to just prop on the wall and I didn’t trust adhesives to hold a heavy mirror on the wall (speaking from experience here ๐Ÿ˜ณ)

We ended up going for these IKEA LOTS mirrors which are lightweight, adhesive mirrors that you can stick on the wall without damaging it. It was the perfect solution to the problem, as well as had the additional function of creating an illusion of a bigger, brighter space.

Mixtiles – Travel wall

Missing travelling, Matt and I were looking at our exisiting Mixtiles artwork and remisincing on our epic trip to New York in 2017. We decided that it might be a fun idea to get some more Mixtiles of our various trips last year!

Our NYC Mixtiles were mostly very Instagram-y, ‘candid’ (to an extent) photos. When Matt was choosing them as a gift for me, he wanted to stray away from “family photos-vibe”. This is exactly what we did again for our new set of Mixtiles.

Mixtiles Travel wall
Mixtiles Travel wall

I’m in love with our little travel wall. My desk faces it as I work from home and never fails to make me smile!

You can create your own Mixtiles here.

Inspiring art row

I bought this Steve Jobs artwork as a gift for Matt last year and got it framed. When we were looking at where to place it, I was keen to put it somewhere we would look at every day. Since we sit on our couch area a lot, the wall opposite this was perfect!

Seeing on its own inspired me to add two more (three is always a good number!) Similar to how much Matt loves “The Crazy Ones” quote, I loved the Rock’s “Be the hardest worker in the room” saying so I got that for one of our frames. I got this one from Redbubble.

Wall of inspiration
Wall of inspiration

The other was a piece of Disney artwork from this Etsy shop. Yep, it had to be Moana. You all know how much I love that film – everything it symbolises is just so inspiring for me hence it found a spot here on the inspiring art row.

Two of these frames are from Amazon, but they sold out recently so I got the last one from Wilkos.

TV with Ambilight

Unlike other apartments we had rented, our new one didn’t come with a TV. As we’ve been invested in various Netflix shows, films and just Disney+ recently, we decided to go for one that will last and is of good quality. I had come across the Philips 55 inch TV with the Ambilight for a while! So the light changes depending on what is going on the TV.

Philips TV with ambilight
The TV switched off

Matt was unsure if we needed that much of an extra TV, but knowing its a huge part of my personality to be extra, we got it anyway ๐Ÿ˜‚ So far? The best thing we ever bought! Movie nights have been so much more fun. Like, watching Endgame on that thing? Amazing.

Disney+ on our ambilight TV
Disney+ on our ambilight TV

IoTs – Philips Hue Bulbs

Matt had always wanted these bulbs, but we never really found a place for it. Our new apartment could get these coloured bulbs fitted so we decided to finally go for it!

Controlling your lights using your voice or phone was something I never thought I would use that much, but it’s amazing how useful it is. ๐Ÿ˜„ Not to mention, hello! Purple! Lights! ๐Ÿ’œ

I feel like I’m Iron Man talking to my home, it’s awesome. ๐Ÿ˜†

Green additions

This wouldn’t be a blog post by me if I didn’t share a photo of some sort of plant. ๐Ÿ˜‚

Palm plant
Palm plant

New to our space, a palm and Ficus Fig – both of which I’ve had on my wishlist for a while. In addition to their brothers and sisters, they’ve fit right in and really have given the space a more tropical vibe.

Ficus Fig plant
Ficus Fig plant

I bought them from The Little Botanical.


Hanging plants

This isn’t necessarily anything new that I bought, but I thought that dressing up this part of the bedroom really transformed a corner space. It feels calming and just so pretty to look at whilst I’m getting ready in the morning.

The hanging plant and holder were from my purchase last summer at my favourite plant shop in Leeds, The Plant Point.

The plant corner
The plant corner


Motion lights

If there is one that I don’t like about our new place, it’s the fact that the bathroom light (which we can’t change with a Philips Hue bulb) is so bright. During the evenings or the middle of the night, we haven’t enjoyed the bright white light blasting into our eyes, waking us up.

Matt cleverly installed these lights that are a lot warmer and dimer underneath our bathroom cabinet. They activate when they detect motion!

Motion lights in our bathroom
Motion lights in our bathroom

Since we got them, we haven’t switched on the main bathroom light unless we’re taking a shower (which is when we want to bright light to wake us up!)

You can get these on Amazon.

Lululemon Bag

This Lululemon bag came with my Lululemon leggings that I ordered last year. I’ve had them before, but always gave them away. I’m so glad that I kept a hold of these ones though! They match perfectly with the bathroom’s aesthetics and are a perfect way to store and hide away unsightly toilet roll. ๐Ÿงป

Lululemon bag used to hide away toilet roll
Lululemon bag used to hide away toilet roll


This has to be the most challenging part of creating a space for me. I had never really “worked on” any outdoor spaces before, so this was a totally new challenge. Over the next few months, I know that I’ll be changing it up constantly ๐Ÿ˜‚ This is what has been done so far:

  • Two-tier hanging plant basket – I got this as a birthday gift from my colleagues (thanks Hannah and Rabia!) It is central to this small garden area of our balcony. It’s held up by quite a strong adhesive hook.
  • 50cm pot with 68cm saucer – Funny story about this one, I actually ordered two 25cm pots but ended up with one 25cm and another 50cm pot. Initially, it was annoying but I realised that my rubber plant was breaking through its pot so this larger one was actually perfect for it. The saucer is to help catch the water, but since it’s so large, I decided to use it as a little decorative space for smaller plants and where the LED lights run as well. It’s so pretty!
One side of our balcony with some of the most sun-loving plants
One side of our balcony with some of the most sun-loving plants
  • LED lights – completely solar-powered
  • IKEA shelves – for more plants!
Some more shelving for some plants. The dangling plant is actually an artifical one, I thought it'd be less stressful trying to maintain.
Some more shelving for some plants. The dangling plant is actually an artifical one, I thought it’d be less stressful trying to maintain.
  • Plants and plant tools
  • Artificial grass – the best part of our balcony. Bringing in a bit of greenery has made such a huge difference.
Bringing in a bit of nature on our city balcony
Bringing in a bit of nature on our city balcony
  • IKEA tiles – to cover the concrete floor.
  • Cover for a chair – for when it rains!!
  • Small table – This is technically one of those “work from bed” or “breakfast in bed” tables, but we’ve used it as our main table for when we eat outside. We love sitting on the grass (and prefer it over sitting on chairs) so this is perfect for it. ๐Ÿ˜Š

We mostly got inspiration from Pinterest! We created a shared board a few months before we moved in because we were that excited. Although we didn’t follow every idea or style that we found on Pinterest to a T, it was fun to do especially during the lockdown. With me being me as well, the whole thing was incredibly therapeutic. ๐Ÿ˜

Can anyone else relate to this? Or is it just me? ๐Ÿคฃ I hope that you found this useful!

2 responses to “Making our apartment a home”

  1. Wow, your place looks really cool. So many plants! XD I’m terrible with plants. I can only keep some alive.

    I do like rearranging stuff every so often. I know for a while during this whole thing I was doing that with my room. It was rather fun.

    1. My green thumb has improved over the year!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Discover more from a blog by Pawlean

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading