My Inspiration Board + Apartment Rearranging

I’m one of those people who, as a kid, was always changing the furniture around in my bedroom – trying new arrangements, making my parents move various vintage pieces they had on hand into my space, etc. And as much as I love my current apartment and am super lucky to live in it, one thing that frustrates me is that its petite proportions make it difficult to change the furniture around in any major way.

But, I did recently make one change by getting rid of my vanity. I loved my vintage vanity (see the makeover I did on it here), and I still think it’s an amazing piece, but it wasn’t super functional (I never sat at it), and I just wanted a change – so I decided to put my desk in the spot where the vanity used to be. I wanted to make a little bit of a desk “nook,” and putting it there created a spot on the wall where I could finally hang an inspiration board (something I’ve always wanted). This arrangement didn’t last long, but before I dive into that, here’s a peek at my inspiration board (which I’ve also changed up a little since):

Those cute little postcards are illustrations of Zero George by Happy Menocal – I got them when we stayed at the hotel. They’re so pretty and such a nice reminder of a wonderful trip

Moving the desk to the corner left a hole where it used to be, like so:

I couldn’t really figure out what to put there – a small loveseat? A bookshelf? A big chair? The problem was that no matter what I put there, if it didn’t jut out from the wall (like my desk did before), it was going to be the dreaded “furniture lineup” – ya know, where it’s just boom boom boom – three pieces of furniture against the wall in a row. Having something just out adds dimension and interest and just breaks it up. For a reminder, here’s what it looked like when my desk was there, jutting out:

image by Liana Hayles Newton for Apartment Therapy

After much contemplating, I realized that the way the desk jutted out and contributed to dividing up the apartment was just the best arrangement – plus I kind of missed sitting at my desk and seeing out my window (rather than sitting at my desk and facing a wall). So, back went the desk.

Now what I’m left with is an empty space behind the desk, where the vanity used to be:

For a little bit I was considering getting this comfy linen chair in Petal (which I love), but overall it seemed like it might just jut out too far and not fit really well in the small space.

So, I’ve decided that the best option is…a new bookshelf! That shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows me and my obsession with bookshelves. At first I was going to go with the Ikea Billy bookcase, but I think it might be too skinny (width-wise), so I’m thinking of opting for the Ikea Hemnes, which is 10 inches wider and also a few inches deeper. I like that the Hemnes is on legs, but I’m not crazy about the white stain – kind of wish it was just crisp white, but I guess I could always paint it (I probably won’t though, hashtag lazy). Anyway, this is going to free up a lot of space on my Expedit that I can use for additional storage, so I’m psyched about that – plus I’ve been dying for a traditional bookshelf. Now I just have to figure out where to hang all that art that’s sitting in the corner (and the inspiration board, oops).

What say you? Any other ideas for that corner? Is it going to look weird to have a regular bookshelf next to the vertical bookshelf? Thoughts and ideas welcome!

photography by Jacqueline Clair

Leave a Comment

  1. Marine wrote:

    Hi Jackie, did you think about floating shelves? I kind of imagine well a very comfy club chair in front of your bed (to enjoy reading with good light!) and floating shelves above it – it would avoid for the space to feel too cramped or crowded. I’m looking forward to seeing the “after” pictures 🙂

    Published 3.8.17 · Reply
    • York Avenue wrote:

      I did actually! I’ve always loved Carolina Donofrio’s floating shelves ( https://www.instagram.com/p/BQ5tZD9DtAl/?taken-by=carolinecala&hl=en ) and wanted to do something similar, but I’m kind of concerned about drilling so much through the walls. I’ve already made so many holes in the opposite wall with my gallery wall rearranging, so I just figured a bookcase would be easier. But I did consider doing a gallery wall and a chair, or floating shelves and a chair…would be like a cute little reading nook 🙂

      Published 3.11.17 · Reply
  2. Lauren wrote:

    I like the idea of a larger bookshelf! In my last place, I had a Hemnes and loved it; donated it to a friend before moving across the country. I think it would work beautifully in your space – and agree, it would free up some of the Expedit. I like the idea of a reading chair too, but you will have the best sense of space and how you use the area.

    Since you built the inspiration board, what about leaving a shelf or two out of the set up, and having a larger space for the inspiration board to set into? Perhaps layered with some art? I had a vintage piece of heirloom glassware that needed more height, so I left one of the shelves out when I assembled the bookcase. It varied the interest for me a bit. For that large section, I bought a piece of foam board and had a frame shop dry-mount some wrapping paper to it, and then popped it into the space. I think the project cost $20.

    I’m excited to see what you come up with.

    Published 3.8.17 · Reply
    • York Avenue wrote:

      That’s such a good idea, but the inspiration board is gigantic – I think it would take up most of the bookshelf! I have no idea what I’m going to do with it actually, hah. Your DIY sounds great!

      Published 3.11.17 · Reply
  3. Elana wrote:

    Love it! You have such a great eye!

    Published 3.8.17 · Reply
    • York Avenue wrote:

      Thanks Elana! xo

      Published 3.11.17 · Reply
  4. TAC wrote:

    I’ve always liked a drop front desk like you have. Any details on it? Oh, and shelves of any kind in a small place are always a smart move. They can be changed constantly to help assuage that driving need for rearranging or simple facelift.

    Published 3.8.17 · Reply
  5. Gretchen wrote:

    I knew great minds think alike. I have an inspiration board as well. Similar color schemes to yours as a matter of fact. You just can never go wrong with PINK!

    Published 3.9.17 · Reply
  6. Gretchen wrote:

    Also, I really like the Hemnes bookshelf. It looks more classy than the first as it has more detail. Also, deeper shelves will be more pratical.

    Published 3.9.17 · Reply
    • York Avenue wrote:

      Thanks Gretchen! Love the Billy but you make a good point, it’s very slim depth-wise, and I like the detail on the Hemnes as well. And definitely agree on the pink 🙂

      Published 3.11.17 · Reply
  7. Laura wrote:

    Gorgeous as always, Jackie! LOVE the inspiration board! May I ask where the adorable little illustrated map of NYC came from? It’s too cute!

    Thanks! Have a great weekend!

    Published 3.11.17 · Reply
    • York Avenue wrote:

      Thanks Laura! It was actually from an event last year when I was photographing Bridal Fashion Week. Hope you have a great weekend too!

      Published 3.11.17 · Reply
  8. Sarah wrote:

    I always did the same thing (moving around furniture) and my parents eventually made me wait until the weekend so that my room wouldn’t be a mess during the school week, haha. Love the inspo board and can’t wait to see the final apt layout with the bookshelf!

    xo,
    Sarah
    http://www.dctoat.com

    Published 3.16.17 · Reply
  9. I’m always in awe of how much you’re able to fit into a small space. I’m ashamed to say my 1 bedroom is a generous 800 square feet and nowhere near as efficient as your apartment. 🙂

    Published 4.8.17 · Reply
    • York Avenue wrote:

      Aw thanks Anita! Some people like a more spacious look, which I definitely admire as well…for myself I’m kind of all about utilizing every inch 🙂

      Published 4.8.17 · Reply