Apartment Living

UDR Blog | A Part of Life

UDR Blog | A Part of Life

Apartment living is a lot more fun when you have a furry friend to share the experience with. Dogs can take a decent chunk out of your paycheck, so you need to make sure you budget for everything, including vet costs, food and more, before you bring a new pup home.

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UDR Blog | A Part of Life

Apartment living is a lot more fun when you have a furry friend to share the experience with. Dogs can take a decent chunk out of your paycheck, so you need to make sure you budget for everything, including vet costs, food and more, before you bring a new pup home.

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Apartment Living

Covid-19 Home Quarantine: New York City versus Taipei

Covid-19 Home Quarantine: New York City versus Taipei

Currently, both New York City and Taipei have 14-day quarantine mandates in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Home Quarantine In New York

Individuals arriving in NYC from a list of 30 high-risk states, or from abroad, must stay at home in isolation. Unfortunately, NY Times reports the enforcement is rather lax. People who receive the quarantine paperwork after arriving in Manhattan can freely go to parties, parks, and other social events with seemingly no restrictions.

Home Quarantine In Taipei

There are two ways to quarantine after arriving in Taiwan. Individuals can stay in government subsidized quarantine hotels, which range from budget hostels all the way to luxury 5-star hotels. The option has become so popular that there are online spreadsheets detailing availability, and calls to widen the program to all hotels. There are plenty of great blogs and vlogs documenting this process – plenty of folks break up the hotel room boredom by spinning up youtube channels.

The other method is the home quarantine, which will be our focus.

Day 0: Airport Arrival

Prior to your flight, you should fill out an online form detailing where you will be staying during your quarantine, complete with your passport info and cell phone. Once you land, your phone receives a text message linking to your completed home quarantine document. You show your phone at various airport checkpoints and local CDC officials near your “home” receive a copy of the document.

Gotchas: No Local Sim? Did Not Complete Form? No Problem

In case you didn’t properly research the process, you are still ok! You can fill out an electronic or paper home quarantine form upon arrival. The amount of airport / CDC staff to passenger ratio is quite good – plenty of people who can offer help in English or Mandarin.

For those without local phone numbers, the CDC has partnered with cell phone companies to sell you a subsidized data and phone plan: 30-days of unlimited data and 7 hours of voice calling for $35. The booth to buy these sims are conveniently placed in the pre-immigration area.

For those coming from the US, we recommend bringing two phones and carrying both. Your primary phone which will retain your US phone number – and a secondary phone to utilize your new Taiwan SIM card. That way, you will still receive calls and texts to your primary phone and old number, but CDC can call you and track your GPS on the second phone. You will also use the second phone to make local calls, use data such as Google Maps, and enable hotspot mode for your primary phone.

Quarantine Taxi And Getting Home

Normally, freedom begins once you clear customs. However, after you retrieve your luggage, they direct you to the subsidized quarantine taxis. Some choose to have family pick them up, which is allowed (5am for the JFK-TPE flight!).

The government subsidizes taxi rides and quarantine buses so that residents can quickly and safely arrive at home. For Taipei residents, the cap is $35 from the airport, a modest savings over what is normally about $50 depending on your location. However, the subsidy is substantial if you live in the eastern or southern parts of the country.

You don’t need to do anything to get the subsidy, the driver will take care of all that paperwork once you sign some form. The driver is also pretty concerned for his or her own safety, and will spray you once more from head to toe.

Home Free – For Now

By the time you are home (or at your Airbnb, until Sept 22nd), it’s time to download Uber Eats and Food Panda – two critically useful apps to help stock up on supplies, groceries, and food during the quarantine. It’s also a good time to get some rest – things will seem surprisingly quiet for the first day.

That’s because the official quarantine and fun begins on Day 1 through Day 14 (more on that later). Your arrival date is simply Day 0, therefore expect to stay 15 nights in your quarantine accommodations.

Published at Mon, 07 Sep 2020 06:11:10 +0000

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Apartment Living

7 Places to Get Custom Home Decor That’s Actually Affordable

7 Places to Get Custom Home Decor That’s Actually Affordable

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.

Custom home decor sounds like it costs a fortune, but it doesn’t always have to be that way. A crop of new-ish, direct to customer companies have changed the made-just-for-you game for the better. Sure, some of these offerings may still give you sticker shock compared to the cost of mass-produced, big box furnishings. That said, by eliminating the middleman—namely showrooms with “to the trade” models of sale, these brands have brought the cost of custom decor down without compromising on the quality that bespoke products are generally known for.

Most importantly, you get exactly what you want: hand-picked items that fit your aesthetic and the way you live, from fabric and material choice to dimensions and sometimes even cushion fill on upholstered pieces. Custom pieces can also be ideal for when you’re dealing with challenges in your layout or need to eke out extra room or storage in a small space. Whether you’re looking for linens and banquette cushions in special fabrics or sofas and window shades in very specific sizes, you can find something bespoke for less from one or all of the companies on this list.  

Looking to outfit a window seat, bench, or even a breakfast nook? Cushion Source should be your first stop. You can find styles in both indoor and outdoor fabrics in a myriad of colors and patterns, and pieces can be ordered in whatever seat length you need. Coordinating pillows are also available, and the site also sells custom drapes, bedding, table linens, and patio umbrellas. Custom bench seats and seat back cushions rated for indoor applications start in the low hundreds.

Thanks to BenchMade Modern, it’s possible to get a custom sofa in a matter of just four weeks—not four months. With 14 collections and over 100 performance fabric and leather options, you’re bound to find something that’ll suit your tastes. The best part? You can specify sizing in increments of five inches, so you can get as much sofa as you want or need in terms of both length and depth. You’ll even receive a life-sized printout of your design by mail to try on for size before you buy. Ottomans and chairs are available as well. Prices start around $1,500, but keep in mind that these pieces are made by hand in Dallas, Texas, and delivered free of charge right to your door. There’s also a risk-free, 100 day return period.

One thing that really makes a space look pulled together is custom drapery. In the past, however, options for bespoke drapes that didn’t cost a small fortune were limited—unless you sewed your own or brought material to a tailor. Enter Loom Decor. In addition to offering bedding, pillows, and outdoor pieces, this e-tailer sells custom Roman shades and curtain panels in over 400 different fabrics. Prices are reasonable and the lead time is, too. Classic linen drapery panels start at $198, and you can expect your order to ship within less than a month’s time.

This woman-founded company specializes in smaller custom furniture items like ottomans, stool cushions, and headboards alongside standard fare like curtains and pillows. The shaped cushions, including spheres and pyramids, are super stylish standouts. The quality is great—many of Stitchroom’s pieces are installed in restaurants and businesses throughout the country, so items should stand up to heavy use. Pillow pricing starts at $45, and seating starts at $125, while headboards are available for $250 and up. Drapery starts at $175.

This retailer prints fabric, wallpaper, pillows, curtains, table linens, and more on demand using eco-friendly inks and artwork from thousands of different artists. You can even upload your own designs for the ultimate in custom home goods. Two-foot by 12-foot panels of wallpaper start around $72. Spoonflower does charge a little more for rental-friendly peel-and-stick styles.

You already know this artist-forward marketplace for their stationery and wall art, including new framed canvases. Did you know they also offer some custom home decor, too? Check out their Little Mint shop for personalized chairs and pillows for kids. If they don’t offer exactly what you want, you can also order fabric by the yard and DIY whatever you like. Cotton canvas cushions cost $44, while chairs are $148 each.

Over the years Ballard Designs has built up a pretty robust and fairly reasonably-priced custom furnishings collection alongside their catalog business and retail outposts. Shop everything from benches and barstools to sofas and headboards. Ballard also can custom make bed linens, slipcovers, bedskirts, and even vanity stool cushions and covers (all in a variety of sizes and fabrics). A custom x-bench, the perfect solution for that blank spot at the foot of the bed, starts at $349.

13 Decor Trends That Will Rule the Rest of 2020

Danielle Blundell

Home Editor

Danielle Blundell is AT’s Home Director and covers decorating and design. She loves homes, heels, the history of art, and hockey—but not necessarily always in that order.

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Published at Thu, 01 Oct 2020 15:00:07 +0000

2 Full Moons Will Be Rising in the Sky This October, Including a Halloween Blue Moon

Nicoletta Richardson

Senior Associate Editor, News and Culture

In her spare time, Nicoletta loves scrolling through Airbnb, doing at-home workouts, and nurturing her plant babies. Her work has appeared in Women’s Health, AFAR, Tasting Table, and Travel + Leisure, among others. A graduate from Fairfield University, Nicoletta majored in English and minored in Art History and Anthropology, and she not-so-secretly dreams of exploring her family lineage in Greece one day.

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Published at Thu, 01 Oct 2020 14:45:06 +0000

Apartment Living

These 15 Sofas are Small Space-Friendly and Stylish

These 15 Sofas are Small Space-Friendly and Stylish

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.

I’ve lived in a New York City apartment for over a decade, so I know a thing or two about squeezing a sofa into a small space—and coaxing it through narrow hallways and tight corners to get it there. (Who doesn’t remember the pivot scene from “Friends”?) And no, I’m not talking about dorm room-ready futons but full-fledged sofas, though you might spy a loveseat or settee in this mix.

Thankfully, I haven’t had to go the futon route since college, and that’s because companies have paid attention to the way people are actually living these days. Looking for a sofa for your small space? I’ve got just the thing. From mid-century marvels to bohemian seats, the fifteen options below are perfect for your teeny, tiny place:

Yes, you can maybe actually afford an Anthropologie sofa—at least this compact little guy seems within reach if you wait for a sale. There’s a 70-inch wide option for those of you working with really limited square footage, plus the deep, single cushion is perfect for kicking back and relaxing.

Buy: Denver Sofa, Starting at $1,998.00 from Anthropologie

2. Sven 2.5 Seater Leather Sofa

If you’ve been dreaming of a buttery soft, 70s-inspired tan leather couch, you don’t have to give that idea up because of your space constraints. Article makes this caramel stunner in a 72-inch wide footprint. I actually own the larger size, and I absolutely recommend it.

Buy: Sven 2.5 Seater Leather Sofa, Starting at $1,699.00 from Article

3. Leanna Tufted Loveseat

You can tuck this modern channel tufted loveseat into tight corners, and it’s oh so easy to maneuver around a central staircase in a walk-up building (speaking from experience). The gold-capped legs offer a small hit of shine, and the neutral velvet upholstery can hang with just about any style decor. The best part, however, just might be that sub-$400 price tag.

Buy: Leanna Tufted Loveseat, $399.99 from World Market

It’s tough to talk about small space sofas without mentioning IKEA. Everyone’s favorite Swedish retailer has a nice white farmhouse modern small space option for all you “Fixer Upper” style fans. Best of all, it’s less than $500 and currently comes in six different colorways!

Buy: EKTORP Loveseat, Starting at $379.00 from IKEA

Lest you think all the small space options on the market are clean-lined and boxy, Interior Define offers this shapely stunner for two, which features a curved back. At 60-inches wide, this option is futon-sized but feels decidedly more elevated.

Buy: Tegan Loveseat, Staring at $1,195.00 $1,015.00 from Interior Define

6. Avec Apartment Sofa with Brass Legs

7. Stone & Beam Lauren Down Filled Oversized Loveseat Sofa Couch

8. Chelsea Apartment Sofa

This pared-down option from Joybird has won my heart over with its good looks and fairly decent price point. It comes in a bunch of different colors and has a 365-day home trial policy. If you don’t like the way it sits, you can send it back and start over.

Buy: Chelsea Apartment Sofa, Starting at $1,993.00 $1,495.00 from Joybird

9. Caroline Chaise Lounge

On the hunt for a true space saver for your studio? Look at this cutie of a chaise, which is a perfect lounger for one and sports a subtle red ticking stripe. Push it into a corner or try it with a loveseat or another accent chair for an unconventional but super functional small living room layout.

10. Cavett Wood Frame Loveseat

Full disclosure: I’m not sure how Netflix and chill compatible this wood frame loveseat would be as your main sofa. But if your small space has a little extra room for a companion couch for guests, this guy would be a solid wingman.

Buy: Cavett Wood Frame Loveseat, $1,499.00 from Crate & Barrel

At just 60-inches wide and 35-inches deep, West Elm’s Andes Sofa comes in truly pint-sized proportions (though what you’re seeing above is a larger-scale version). Only trouble is that no fabrics are actually in stock in this custom size, but the amount of made to order color and fabric options available are well worth the six to nine week’s wait. Snag yours now while West Elm’s Friends and Family Sale pricing is in effect.

Buy: Andes Sofa, Starting at $1,299.00 $779.40 from West Elm

12. Emerson 78″ Flared Arm Loveseat

With its flared arms and exposed wooden base and legs, this red loveseat is all mid-century modern in style. Put one in your living room, and you won’t have to do much else for decoration.

This cane sofa is the Scandi meets boho sofa of my dreams. Yes, it’s a splurge, and you’ll probably want to pile on the pillows to make that woven seat back extra comfy. Make no mistake about it though—if you are looking for something sleek and stylish, this rounded ash wood design has that in spades, especially for its compact 65-inch frame.

Buy: Cane Sofa, $3,500 from Industry West

14. Otho 76″ Reversible Sectional

If you thought a small space couldn’t handle a sectional, think again. This traditional gray upholstered design has reversible sectional functionality, which makes it a great candidate for renters who aren’t in their forever spaces.

15. Novogratz Brittany 81.5″ Convertible Sofa

This major steal of a sofa is a little bit longer than the rest of the finds on this list, and that’s simply because it folds out into a full bed. If you can squeeze this style into your living room, you won’t regret having an extra place to put up guests when the time comes again.

Danielle Blundell

Home Director

Danielle Blundell is a New York-based writer and editor that covers interiors, decorating and organizing. She loves home design, heels and hockey (not necessarily in that order).

Published at Mon, 28 Sep 2020 23:15:15 +0000

These 3D-Printed Pumpkin Planters Will Get Your Succulents Ready for Halloween

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.

Listen up, plant parents. Halloween might look different this year due to the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dress up your children (we’re talking about your plant babies) for the season.

Florida-based Etsy store Print A Pot is selling a collection of 3D-printed planters that look like pumpkins. Made from a plant-based plastic, the pots become even more realistic once you transfer your succulents, making it seem as though they have oddly-shaped vines and stems.

The planters come in different colors and sizes. There’s the traditional bright orange, as well as cookies and cream, gold, and even wood, among others. As for sizes, the smallest pumpkin ($20) measures 3 x 3 x 2.5 inches, the medium one ($25) measures 4 x 4 x 3 inches, and the largest pumpkin ($32) measures 5 x 5 x 4 inches. You can buy all three options for $73, which would not only save you a few dollars but also turn your desk into a cute little pumpkin patch.

These gourds also come with a hole at the bottom to make sure your succulents don’t drown while trick-or-treating.

What will your succulent be dressing up as this year?

Published at Mon, 28 Sep 2020 20:47:04 +0000

Apartment Living

As NYC Exodus Continues, Sublets Rose 158% Year-Over-Year

As NYC Exodus Continues, Sublets Rose 158% Year-Over-Year

Summer months are historically great for real estate. This summer, however, has been a rough one, especially for landlords across New York City. The market has been grappling with high vacancies as New Yorkers flee to suburbs and other metro areas and companies extend their remote-working policies, which further hinders population inflow.

Citywide, median net effective rent in the month of August fell 5.2% year-over-year. Manhattan, specifically, saw a rent drop of 7.5%, from $3,284 in August 2019, to $3,039, as landlords offer more concessions in response to the high vacancies. Meanwhile, the median net effective rent fell 1.9% year-over-year to $2,795 in Brooklyn.

NYC Exodus Continues

As previously reported, this year we’ve noticed an unprecedented number of renters looking to sublet their apartments. The total number of sublet listings1 on RentHop went up 110% from April to May 2020 and has since been trending upward. In August, the total number of sublet listings increased by 9.8% month-over-month and is 158.2% higher than August 2019. This once again broke the record in RentHop’s 11-year history.

In our previous sublet reports, we highlighted that wealthy neighborhoods, particularly those in Manhattan, saw a steeper upward deviation from their 2020 average than other neighborhoods. This time around, the outflow from wealthy neighborhoods in Manhattan, such as Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen, seems to have reached its peak in July and has since died down slightly. The neighborhoods that saw the largest spike in new sublets in August 2020 vs. the first four months of the year were Yorkville (+643%), East Harlem (+464%), Astoria (+420%), Central Harlem (+327%), and Bedford-Stuyvesant (+300%). Most of these neighborhoods also saw a month-over-month increase in the number of new sublets from July to August 2020.

Brooklyn Replaced Manhattan as the Most Popular Borough

Grand Central was once the busiest hub in New York City. It’s now one of those eerily empty stops that make people wonder if New York City will ever be the same. According to CBRE via WSJ, only 9% of the office workers returned to their office after they were permitted to return to the workplace. This inversely drove rental demand in outer boroughs, as living in the city center and being close to work no longer justifies the rent premium many landlords ask for.

Bushwick was the most inquired neighborhood in August 2020, replacing Hell’s Kitchen. Meanwhile, Crown Heights rose to the second from the 8th in the previous year. Yorkville and Upper East Side, both used to be the most popular neighborhoods for rentals, had experienced significant changes in terms of renter inquiries.

1. As used in this study, “sublet listings” are listings created by apartment renters seeking to find a new tenant to take over the remainder of their apartment lease. In NYC, finding a subletter is widely considered the most effective way to get out from under a lease without paying the steep contractual penalties triggered by an outright lease break.

Published at Wed, 09 Sep 2020 12:50:11 +0000

Taipei Cracks Down On Airbnb Quarantines

We recently described the Covid-19 home quarantine process for various cities, including New York City and Taiwan. Today, Taipei Times reports that the city will no longer allow short-term quarantine rentals, citing dangers such as increased cross-contamination from large groups, and inadequate cleaning standards. Per usual, the punishment is both a financial fine and a public shaming – they will publish the names and addresses of landlords found to be in violation (sparing the guest it seems).

How Did They Know?

The government used their data analysis powers to identify about 80 or addresses that seemed overly suspicious. Each of these homes supposedly hosted 5 different groups over the past few months, triggering some red flags back at HQ. Also, keep in mind a local CDC official will visit your home early in the quarantine – eventually he or she figures out you are not all relatives or family friends.

What Is The Rule?

The rule is you may stay at an official quarantine hotel, booked accordingly, where each individual must stay in a separate room. The only exception is a parent caring for a young child; a husband and wife still must stay in separate rooms.

You may also stay at home, meeting certain conditions: either you are the owner, or you have a clear family, friendship, or employment relationship with the owner and are not providing compensation (company corporate apartments seem to be allowed – a loophole for sure).

A normal hotel is not allowed, as they do not have adequate procedures in place to enforce safety measures. There are simple things like knowing you need 3 meals a day, lots of extra water delivered straight to your room, and garage taken out regularly. They must also not allow the guests to leave their rooms at all, which means forgoing all of the other hotel amenities: lounge, gym, pool, restaurants, etc.

Worth The Risk?

Still, a search for “Quarantine Taipei Airbnb” still nets quite a few results. I imagine those disappear soon – or at least they do a better job concealing. It’s been a tough year for Superhosts everywhere, and while I don’t blame them for trying, I also agree with the government.

It is understandable that people choose to quarantine in an Airbnb – the entire family can stay together and keep each other company. There is more freedom to choose grocery or food delivery options. You can even have relatives stop by for socially distanced engagement during the 14-days (they shouldn’t use the bathroom apparently, unless you have a spare).

But with the extra freedom, there is much greater temptation to break the rules. Yes, the fine is significant for those who are caught, but in the end most government regulations and technology solutions still require a level of human compliance and good judgement. No one wants to be the cause of a major outbreak and ruin things for millions of others.

Published at Tue, 08 Sep 2020 00:35:46 +0000

Apartment Living

Daydream Destination: Mallorca

Daydream Destination: Mallorca

As I stare down the barrel of facilitating online kindergarten (lawd help me), my mind is wandering to any and all escapes. While I sadly cannot exit our current reality, I can dream about a far-flung destination. At some point during a mindless scrolling session, idyllic images of a beautiful sun-soaked location kept cropping up in my feed and I had to know more.

Daydream Destination: Mallorca Daydream Destination: Mallorca on Apt34

These incredible pictures are of a townhouse nestled in the village of Sóller on the Spanish island of Mallorca. Designed by Berrow Projects, the Canoneta Townhouse was built in 1910 by Parisian architects and Berrow has painstakingly updated the property to meld beautiful old-world bones with contemporary details and finishes that make this home feel both timeless and contemporary. All I know is that I’m totally smitten.

Daydream Destination: Mallorca on Apt34Daydream Destination: Mallorca on Apt34Daydream Destination: Mallorca on Apt34Daydream Destination: Mallorca on Apt34

Every detail of this island home is picture perfect. This custom kitchen features cement floors with radiant heating and a beautiful mix of custom oak cabinetry and honed stone countertops. The views out of those french doors have me swooning. I can see myself enjoying a morning matcha at that island right now.

Daydream Destination: Mallorca on Apt34

The house’s dining room offers a perfect indoor/outdoor feel with those large picture window french doors and oodles of natural light. I spy built-in bench seating at the end of the space. And I’m always a sucker for built-in shelving too.

Daydream Destination: Mallorca on Apt34

This townhouse has six bedrooms and six bathrooms! A main bedroom features a cast concrete soaking tub and a beautiful mix of concrete and geometric tiles to mimic carpeting. The continued use of warm oak softens the space. And again the views! What a dream.

Daydream Destination: Mallorca on Apt34

I love the cross hatch caning on the custom wardrobe cabinets.

Daydream Destination: Mallorca on Apt34

The bathroom is a beautiful, smooth homage to minimalism. I love the single basin for the double sink.

Daydream Destination: Mallorca on Apt34Daydream Destination: Mallorca on Apt34Daydream Destination: Mallorca on Apt34 Daydream Destination: Mallorca on Apt34

But let’s talk about this home’s incredibly garden. It features a lap pool and spa, sunken seating area and covered outdoor dining table along with an expanse of yard and established orchards of orange, lemon and other fruit trees. The townhouse gets its name, Canoneta, from the native orange variety that grows here and brought prosperity to the region in the late 19th century.

I think I could stomach homeschooling and a really uncertain future if I was sitting next to that pool, a Spritz in hand.

How about you?? Did I mention this house is for sale?!!! I have officially found my exit strategy.

For more Daydream Destination inspiration, CLICK HERE.

images courtesy of berrow project

Published at Fri, 14 Aug 2020 18:28:40 +0000

Two New Furniture Collections You Need to Shop Right Now

While it can feel a bit odd to get excited about any kind of shopping during these intense times, it’s clear we’re going to continue to need to stay home for the foreseeable future – I’m about to start homeschooling a kindergartner woohoo – and so there’s no better time to upgrade your space however you can. Thankfully, a couple of new furniture collections are making that much, much easier. I’m officially drooling! Scroll to get some much needed inspiration right now.

Two New Furniture Collections You Need to Shop Right Now on Apt34

First up is the stunning new collection that launched on Anthropologie late last week. Called the Artisinal Modern Collection by Lemieux Et Ciethis truly chic mix of everything from chairs, sofas and coffee tables to accessories, rugs, art, and even wallpaper is the brainchild of one of my longtime favorite designers in the home furnishings space, Christiane Lemieux.

Lemieux was the founder of DwellStudio – a collection that launched an iconic bird print bedding set – among a number of other items. DwellStudio was sold in 2013 and Lemieux has continued to have a hand in the home furnishings space – but I am so excited to see this comprehensive collection take a store like Anthropologie in a more elevated, elegant and design-savvy direction. As I scrolled through, I wanted virtually every single piece. I’m sure that was influenced by the beautiful editorial images you see here – I just want to dive right into this home. But that also doesn’t surprise, as Lemieux tapped my favorite stylist Colin King to style this beautiful shoot.

Two New Furniture Collections You Need to Shop Right Now on Apt34

I was just sitting in my dining room last night thinking I need to add a rug to anchor and soften the room. This dining room has officially convinced me. I think this handwoven Tukar rug would be perfect!

Two New Furniture Collections You Need to Shop Right Now on Apt34

The rounded sofa trend is here to stay and I am so happy about it. The look is the easiest way to elevate a room. This sofa is a beautiful option. I’m coveting that vintage-looking vase as well!

Two New Furniture Collections You Need to Shop Right Now on Apt34 Two New Furniture Collections You Need to Shop Right Now on Apt34

Her sculptural pieces in this collection are reminiscent of Brancusi – and I am completely smitten.

Two New Furniture Collections You Need to Shop Right Now on Apt34

While I would gladly add virtually any piece from this collection to my house, I’ve picked a handful of my favorites for you to shop below.

It appears Zara Home has also gotten the timeless modern design memo, as their newest collection has equally lovely neutral pieces photographed in yet another stunning space.

Two New Furniture Collections You Need to Shop Right Now on Apt34Two New Furniture Collections You Need to Shop Right Now on Apt34Two New Furniture Collections You Need to Shop Right Now on Apt34

I’m particularly loving the warmth of this space. The creamy walls, mix of wood tones and natural materials transports me to the countryside of Spain or France.

Two New Furniture Collections You Need to Shop Right Now on Apt34

Obsessed with this chunky kitchen counter – and the accessories from Zara are cute too!

Two New Furniture Collections You Need to Shop Right Now on Apt34

Did you notice the arched doorways throughout this house, painted with a black accent? Officially banking this idea for a future dream project.

Two New Furniture Collections You Need to Shop Right Now on Apt34

This is an absolute dream bathroom situation!

Two New Furniture Collections You Need to Shop Right Now on Apt34

If I could add a piece or two to my house that would make me feel transported to a space like this, well sign me up! Here are a few of my favorite finds.

images courtesy of anthropologie and zara home

Published at Tue, 11 Aug 2020 16:59:26 +0000

Apartment Living

Philly’s Old City is Immersed in American History & Local Culture

Philly’s Old City is Immersed in American History & Local Culture

Tucked into the tiny cobblestone streets of Old City lies Philadelphia’s most historic neighborhood. A part of the original city of Philadelphia, Old City is where some of the nation’s earliest and most important artifacts are stored. Tourist draws like the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence and the nation, bring visitors from all over the country, while locals delight in the area’s charming rowhomes, shops and restaurants.

Where is Old City?

Old City is a small collection of blocks on the Eastern border of the city, wedged up against the Delaware River, Chinatown and Center City to the West, and Society Hill to the South. The Northern border is on I-676, which divides Old City from the now trendy neighborhood of Northern Liberties. The Delaware River waterfront has undergone a slow transformation over the years, now including small markets, pop-up seasonal festivals and stretches of green space with a bike path. On the western border of the neighborhood, Independence Hall, part of the U.S. National Park Service and Independence National Historical Park, houses much of the city’s and nation’s rich history.


Old City is seething with history. Not just for the city of Philadelphia, but for the country overall. Independence National Historic Park is home to Independence Hall, a UNESCO world heritage site and part of the U.S. National Park Service and Independence National Historical Park. This is the birthplace of the U.S.A. Both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were written and signed here, and it’s where the Liberty Bell, U.S. Mint and countless other historical sites are kept.


What to do

History buffs have all the fun in Old City. Aside from the Liberty Bell and the rest of Independence Hall, there are also countless museums and sites to visit. American Philosophical Society Museum, National Museum of American Jewish History and Museum of the American Revolution (which has become increasingly popular since the launch of the Hamilton musical) are just a few of the cultural centers worth a visit in Old City.

Being at the center of many of Philadelphia’s most popular tourist attractions, Old City offers quite a few options for hotels including branches of Kimpton, Marriott and Aloft hotels. However, Old City offers a great quality of life even if you’ve never cracked open a history book.

Where to eat & drink

The food scene is varied and fun to explore, ranging from old, dark pubs to sophisticated fine dining dinners at restaurants like Fork. Arguably one of Philly’s best-known restaurants, Zahav, has won numerous regional and national awards for its delicious Israeli food served up in a cozy interior.

Locals and visitors in their early 20s often head to the bars in Old City on the weekends, spending their nights drinking and dancing into the early hours of the morning. Yet there are also quiet, completely residential streets in the neighborhood, offering a respite for young families and professionals as well.

Moving to Old City

Real Estate Snapshot

Old City is on the higher end of renting in Philadelphia. At $2,243, it’s about 36% above the city’s average. Over the years, Old City has become increasingly desirable. With mostly small townhouses and rowhomes, apartments are harder to come by, and when they are available, they tend to go quickly. If you’re decided to make the move, better start browsing through apartments in Old City now and choose your next home.

All to say that Old City costs a bit to live in, but for good reason. In spite of the numerous attractions that make tourists flock from all over the world to visit, the neighborhood retains a charming and local feel. Although it also has less of the necessities, like grocery stores, Old City is the perfect mix of quiet and vibrant streets.


Bordered by I-95 and I-676, Old City is easily accessible by car from the rest of Philadelphia, NJ, and beyond. Due to its location and bustling tourist attractions, there are frequent and well-maintained public transportation options here as well, including more than a dozen bus lines and two stops on the Market-Frankford public transit line. Old City is also a very walkable neighborhood, with a short stroll of around 20 minutes bringing you easily into Center City.

Schools & Employment

Old City has plenty of options for schools, from Olde City Day School and Amigos Spanish Immersion Preschool for early education all the way up to high schools. Constitution High School is a local public school that takes advantage of its idyllic location, integrating trips to local museums and sites for an immersive experience into American history, for children between the 9th and 12th grades.

Perhaps not surprisingly, lots of the Old City jobs are involved in local tourism. From work at the sites and museums to jobs for the surrounding parks and green space, in addition to hotel, transportation and restaurant jobs, there are plenty of employment opportunities for hospitality and tourism careers in Old City.

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Published at Tue, 01 Sep 2020 10:25:51 +0000

Chicago’s Best Neighborhoods for Renters

Chicago needs no introduction. Whether you’re already living in the city or are planning on moving here, you certainly know what to expect from one of the nation’s most bustling metropolises. From the historical jewels and vibrant streets of The Loop to the artsy atmosphere of the famed Wicker Park, there’s a little something for every type of renter in this sprawling business and culture hub. 

If you’re thinking about moving here or want to get to know the city a little better, here’s a list of Chicago’s most sought after neighborhoods, whether you’re looking for urban hotspots with high-rise apartments or residential havens with lakefront views. 

  • Number of large apartment buildings: 57
  • Number of apartments for rent in large buildings: 9,782
  • Average rent: $2,284
  • Average apartment size: 779 square feet
  • Median age: 32.2
  • Share of renters: 58%

It should come as no surprise that West Loop, Chicago’s proudest redevelopment project, takes the top spot in the ranking. This continuously evolving gem is what a reconversion success story truly looks like. The neighborhood turned a gritty meatpacking district marked by abandoned warehouses and factories into a trendy, lively area perfect for young professionals and families alike. West Loop is also the home of Restaurant Row, the cuisine heart of the city, and features the only year-round, closed market in Chicago. 

This central neighborhood comes with airy apartments, big-name tech employers, fine dining, vibrant bars and art galleries — the whole package. But these perks also come at a price, since the average rent in West Loop circles around $2,284, above the national and city average. 

  • Number of large apartment buildings: 87
  • Number of apartments for rent in large buildings: 15,212
  • Average rent: $2,068
  • Average apartment size: 818 square feet
  • Median age: 33.4
  • Share of renters: 54%

South Loop is a sight to see and live in. This historic downtown neighborhood is where you’ll find the famous Museum Campus, a beautifully designed culture hotspot that houses three of Chicago’s most impressive museums. But this isn’t where the culture trip ends, as South Loop is also filled with live music clubs, theatres, restaurants, and historic landmarks like the former car manufacturing hub, Motor Row. South Loop mixes all the markers of a young, lively neighborhood with the intimate feel of a residential area, including one of the city’s most famous green areas: Grant Park, also known as Chicago’s Front Yard. 

South Loop’s eclectic atmosphere attracts professionals and families alike, and its proximity to college campuses attracts an ever-changing crowd of young residents who make the neighborhood that much livelier. While apartment rents here are above the national average, they’re only a hair above the city average, fluctuating around $2,068.

  • Number of large apartment buildings: 67
  • Number of apartments for rent in large buildings: 5,584
  • Average rent: $1,845
  • Average apartment size: 654 square feet
  • Median age: 36.6
  • Share of renters: 43%

As you might expect, this neighborhood named after a park should be at the top of your list if you live for the great outdoors. Lincoln Park is the biggest and most beautiful park in all of Chicago, with endless trails, luscious gardens and waterfront views. It’s also where one of the oldest free zoos in the country resides, along with a conservatory, a nature museum and a history museum, so you can spend days exploring its natural landscapes. But don’t fret if you’re an urbanite to your core since Lincoln Park also features one of the best shopping areas in the city.

When it comes to living here, the sophisticated residential areas should be appealing to families and professionals alike, since Lincoln Park mixes a community feel and some of the best schools in the city with some of the most vibrant nightlife hotspots. Plus, apartment rates here circle around $1,845, below the city average. 

  • Number of large apartment buildings: 25
  • Number of apartments for rent in large buildings: 7,290
  • Average rent: $2,580
  • Average apartment size: 814 square feet
  • Median age: 34.5
  • Share of renters: 34%

River North is the ultimate urban neighborhood. This sleek, upscale area is renowned for its dramatic skyline views, bustling arts and design scene, and the most lively nightlife in the city. The urban playground directly borders the downtown Loop area, so it’s the perfect spot for professionals of all ages looking for a walk-to-work (and then to the hottest new club or bar) lifestyle. River North is truly the best neighborhood if you enjoy living in a bustling “never sleeps”-type of place, since everything you might need to entertain yourself is a stone’s throw away and probably open late into the night. However, it’s not your best bet if you have children since it’s an ultra-busy urban area that can definitely get a bit chaotic. 

The many benefits of living in one of Chicago’s most upscale areas come at a cost, though, since River North has the highest rents among all of Chicago’s most popular neighborhoods, with a $2,580 average apartment rate. 

If you want to learn more about Chicago’s affluent Near North Side, which includes both River North and the Gold Coast, check out this dedicated neighborhood guide.

  • Number of large apartment buildings: 174
  • Number of apartments for rent in large buildings: 16,521
  • Average rent: $1,718
  • Average apartment size: 680 square feet
  • Median age: 34.5
  • Share of renters: 48%

The first thing you need to know about Lakeview is that it’s home to the world-famous Blue Man Group and the famous Wrigleyfield — you can definitely make some assumptions from there. This arts and entertainment hub is actually made up of a few smaller neighborhoods (East Lakeview, Central Lakeview, Boystown and Wrigleyville), all connected by a casual atmosphere and an eclectic entertainment scene. Whether we’re talking sports or theatre hotspots, vintage boutiques, or quirky local eateries, Lakeview has it all. And the fun doesn’t end there — as the name suggests, Lakeview comes with a 1,200-acre park with endless views of Lake Michigan, so you’ll be happy here if you’re an outdoorsy person as well. 

This vibrant, bohemian neighborhood also has some of the most accessible rents in the ranking, with apartments here going for $1,718 on average. 

If you want to learn more about Chicago’s vibrant Lakeview area, check out our dedicated neighborhood guides to West Lakeview and Lakeview East.

  • Number of large apartment buildings: 15
  • Number of apartments for rent in large buildings: 1,189
  • Average rent: $2,149
  • Average apartment size: 756 square feet
  • Median age: 31.7
  • Share of renters: 60%

Every city has that one young neighborhood where hipster culture seems to converge into an all-out explosion of great food and drinks, independent music venues and plenty of art and entertainment events to keep you busy 24/7. When it comes to Chicago, that neighborhood is Wicker Park. To put it quite simply, this Chicago staple is the place where you’re most likely to meet a famous artist on your way to getting your artisanal morning coffee, or in one of its many tightly-curated vintage shops. It’s also where you’ll always find something cool and Instagrammable to do, be it a packed indie rock concert or a thought-provoking art performance. 

Of course, the perks of living in a world-famous artist hotspot come at a price. Rents in Wicker Park are some of the priciest in the city, with apartments here renting for $2,149 on average. 

Thinking of moving to Chicago’s hipster haven? Check out our dedicated neighborhood guide to Wicker Park.

  • Number of large apartment buildings: 101
  • Number of apartments for rent in large buildings: 7,552
  • Average rent: $1,464
  • Average apartment size: 739 square feet
  • Median age: 32.3
  • Share of renters: 71%

Hyde Park is yet another Chicago cultural hotspot, but this one also comes with plenty of history and the most diverse makeup of residents in the area. Former President Barack Obama lived here, while the neighborhood is home to the University of Chicago, along with two of the four original historic sites in the city: the world’s first artificial nuclear reactor, Chicago Pile-1, and the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Robie House. Of course, if you’re a history buff, there are plenty more landmarks to visit. Hyde Park is also one of those well-rounded neighborhoods with a little something for every type of renter. Whether we’re talking parks, shopping districts, or entertainment options, if you move to Hyde Park, you’re set. 

Since this neighborhood is still up and coming, rentals are much cheaper than in other communities in the ranking. Apartments in Hyde Park rent for around $1,464, well below the city average. 

If you want to learn more about Chicago’s Hyde Park area, check out our dedicated neighborhood guides to Hyde Park and East Hyde Park.

  • Number of large apartment buildings: 67
  • Number of apartments for rent in large buildings: 5,584
  • Average rent: $1,845
  • Average apartment size: 654 square feet
  • Median age: 30.2
  • Share of renters: 51%

Park West isn’t as big or as well-known as other neighborhoods on the list, but it made it to the ranking for a reason — this delightful area comes with everything you might need from the perfect neighborhood. International bars and restaurants? Check. A big park and a lake? Check. Access to the beach? Check. Close to the Loop? Check. Essentially, moving to Park West means moving to a lively neighborhood big enough to accommodate all your needs, but small enough to still have a community feel to it. 

Living in Park West also isn’t as pricey as in other areas, despite its prime location between The Loop and Wrigleyville. Rents for apartments here circle around $1,845, below the city average. 

  • Number of large apartment buildings: 10
  • Number of apartments for rent in large buildings: 765
  • Average rent: $1,952
  • Average apartment size: 736 square feet
  • Median age: 31.6
  • Share of renters: 60%

Logan Square is your one-stop-shop for anything related to arts. This beautiful historic neighborhood comes with infinitely walkable streets, plenty of historic sites, trendy bars and shops, and even Michelin-starred restaurants. It’s also known throughout the city as one of the prime hubs for independent artists and musicians, so if you’re the type of person who enjoys art or theatre shows and indie music, this neighborhood should be at the top of your list. Living in Logan Square will make you feel like you’re part of its bohemian community, while the urban atmosphere will ensure you never get bored. 

As you might expect, apartments here can be on the pricier side, with rentals going for $1,955 on average. Still, it’s definitely cheaper than the more exclusive places in town.

If you want to learn more about Logan Square, check out our dedicated guide to Ravenswood, one of the neighborhood’s best places to live in. 

  • Number of large apartment buildings: 73
  • Number of apartments for rent in large buildings: 18,486
  • Average rent: $2,377
  • Average apartment size: 736 square feet
  • Median age: 36.9
  • Share of renters: 57%

Finally, if you’re the type of person who enjoys the finer things in life, Gold Coast is the picture-perfect luxury haven you’ve been looking for. This trendy neighborhood is the definition of high-end: exclusive boutiques, upscale restaurants, historic architectural jewels, and luxury buildings with breathtaking views. To put it quite simply, Gold Coast is the place where you’re most likely to meet a celebrity going about their daily business and feel like they actually belong in the same neighborhood as you. 

Of course, living in the lap of luxury comes at a cost. Apartments in Gold Coast err on the pricey side, with their rents circling around $2,377, well above the city average. 

If you want to learn more about Chicago’s affluent Near North Side, which includes both River North and the Gold Coast, check out this dedicated neighborhood guide.

Still haven’t found the perfect place for your new home? Check out the rest of our Chicago neighborhood guides: 

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Published at Fri, 28 Aug 2020 12:56:30 +0000

Apartment Living

Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia: A Historic Neighborhood Layered With Elegance

Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia: A Historic Neighborhood Layered With Elegance

For many Philadelphians, Rittenhouse Square is the heart of Center City. It’s where the city comes to gather in nicer weather, picnicking on the immaculately kept lawns while dogs chase tennis balls and a fountain gurgles gently in the middle. Much of the city’s most high-end real estate lines the borders of this small square.

Shops and restaurants are crammed into the surrounding blocks, with a select few having the coveted position of being on the square itself. With charming rowhomes, well-maintained green spaces and one of the highest safety ratings, life in Rittenhouse Square doesn’t come cheap, but it’s one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Philadelphia for a reason.

 Where is Rittenhouse Square?

Rittenhouse Square is central to most of the city. It’s just South of Fairmount and Spring Gardens, two beautiful neighborhoods on their own, and across the Schuylkill from the beginning of University City and West Philly. Graduate Hospital and Fitler Square sit on the Eastern border of Rittenhouse Square while the Gayborhood and Old City are further East.


Named for the park that sits at the center of the neighborhood, Rittenhouse Square was the southwestern corner of the original Philadelphia. Before it expanded into the urban center it is today, Rittenhouse Square was originally the Southwest Square, one of five urban centers planned by William Penn when he initially designed Philadelphia. 


What to do

Living in Rittenhouse Square means living with status. It has a reputation for being the wealthiest neighborhood in Philly, and for good reason. Updated penthouses housed in historic buildings lining the square routinely break records for being the most expensive real estate sold in the city, and some of the city’s most expensive and sought-after shops and restaurants are found here.

Where to eat & drink

Parc is one of the few restaurants that landed the coveted location of being on the square. It’s a tourist draw, with visitors and residents alike clamoring for a table and often waiting hours before they’re settled into one. If you’re looking for one of the few outdoor seating options that overlook the square, you could be waiting even longer. However, unlike other tourist spots, Parc also happens to serve really delicious food. It features a traditional French menu and the higher price points to back it up.

Metropolitan Bakery, just a few doors down from the square, is a Philadelphia staple. This outpost fills the area with scents of freshly baked bread and rotating pastries every morning. An additional space next door to the bakery houses a wood oven and pumps out mouth-watering pizzas and sandwiches during lunch.

For date nights or any night when you just want to slip into something nice and hit the town for a fabulous meal, Friday Saturday Sunday is known for its shifting, seasonal menu. It’s a transitioned rowhouse, with a dark, inviting bar on the first floor serving award winning cocktails and a handful of dining tables on the second floor. The layout gives it an intimate, cozy feel, perfect for diving head-first into whatever delicious specials are available that day.

That doesn’t mean it’s all about the money, though. There are plenty of deals to be found in the charming rowhouses a few blocks off the square if you don’t mind sacrificing a bit of square footage, and neighborhood joints like the Black Sheep still serve beers for $5 each.

Moving to Rittenhouse Square

Real Estate Snapshot

Rittenhouse Square is known for being one of Philadelphia’s most expensive neighborhoods, and the numbers don’t lie. Rentals here cost about 35% higher than the city’s average. The premium is for location. Many of the buildings here are a bit older, though some have been beautifully updated.


Situated smack in the middle of the city, you can get just about anywhere from Rittenhouse Square. Buses lead to Western, Southern, Eastern and Northern neighborhoods in Philly, as well as the airport. It’s a few blocks from the Broad Street train line, which connects the north and south areas of the city.

It’s also a quick trip across the river to 30th St Station if you need to go a bit further afield. Local train lines bring commuters and residents out to the nearby suburbs, while Amtrak connects Philly to cities all over the East Coast.

Schools & Employment

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Rittenhouse has a wide selection of private schools, but it also has some great public ones. Greenfield School is one of them, an elementary school that has been given a boost in recent years thanks to parents stepping in and filling in some holes. For those who do want to go the private route, Independence Charter School offers an option for grades K-8.

Many people who live in Rittenhouse work in the nearby area. With its wide selection of schools, restaurants and shops, there is plenty of work in the hospitality, education and retail area. Mostly, though, people make the quick walk into Center City to head over to Comcast or one of the other large-scale corporation that has offices there.

Want to get a taste of this charming neighborhood? Browse through hundreds of available listings and choose your next apartment in Rittenhouse Square.

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Published at Tue, 25 Aug 2020 09:31:46 +0000

7 Gorgeous Green Spaces from Apartment Buildings to Relax In [Editor’s Picks]

Lately, weve learned just how important it is to love the home we live in and appreciate what we have. Especially for those who live in big cities, it’s even more important to be able to access a small corner of nature — be it in the form of a cozy patio, an enclosed courtyard, a comfy balcony garden or an exquisite rooftop terrace. 

So, we set out on a quest to find some of the most beautiful green spaces built into apartment communities in big cities all over the countryAnd now, were sharing some of the best so we can appreciate their beauty together. Let’s take a look! 

northshore pool garden

With lush and robust greenery, this leisure area at Northshore in the heart of Austin offers the perfect spot for respite. 

terrace garden

After working hard all day, rest your eyes and your soul by lying down in the shade of the trees or taking in some sunshine by the pool. 

leisure area northshore

It’s the perfect place not only to gather around the fire pit after dark, but also to sip a cup of coffee as you watch the sun come up. 

grill garden northshore

The Bowie in Austin, Texas 

rooftop garden bowie

Nature and modern amenities coexist in the heart of the busy city. Complete with a luxurious pool and edgy, poolside décor, here you can relax and enjoy the sunset after a hot summer day.

pool bowie austin

Grab a cool drink and kick back in the shade of the trees overlooking the beautiful city. 

green space rooftop

hwh pool

Luxurious living is defined by the amazing rooftop garden and leisure zone of LAs HWH. The elegant design of the natural area gives you peace of mind and a comforting place to relax with a glorious view of the city of angels.

hwh pool view

Take cover in the shade during the sunny days while working from home, or relax in the evenings with a good book by the pool. Clearly, this is an oasis in the middle of a concrete desert. 

hwh aerial view

parkside apartments rooftop

Enjoy a moment of peace relaxing in this beautiful enclosure. This gorgeous area of Birmingham’s Parkside Apartments is an ideal spot for the summer evenings when all you want is a chilled glass in your hand and the feel of the cool breeze on your face. 

parkside apartments firepit

piedmont house pool

This is an area complete with all you might need for the summer — from well-groomed greenery to a cozy fire pit, a lovely grill area and a refreshing swimming pool. 

leisure area

Plus, enjoy a barbecue and rest by the pool while being nurtured by some muchneeded sunshine — it’s really a dream come true.  

rooftop firepit piedmont house

towers rincon view

The minimalist design of Towers at Rincons relax zone is the perfect background for a peaceful retreat in the bustling city of San Francisco. 

rincon relax area

Here, you can get lost in your thoughts and contemplate the beauty of this world while gazing at the city and enjoying the water and iconic scenery. 

strata mission bay garden

A lovely space that combines natural elements in the landscape and in the design, Strata at Mission Bays recreation area offers its residents an open space to take in the sun and relax during a day off or after a busy workday. 

All of these areas combine both nature and modern design for the perfect balance of solace and city life. So, which space would you choose to relax in? Let us know your favorites and share your own green spaces with us by tagging us in your pictures. 

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Published at Fri, 21 Aug 2020 08:59:08 +0000

Apartment Living

The Best Blogs for Apartment Living

The Best Blogs for Apartment Living

The best places to get advice as a renter.

With more than 600 million blogs across 1.7 billion websites, anything you need to know is most likely out there. The trick is knowing which sites answer your questions best, especially when finding the wrong information is just as easy.

Searching for apartment blogs can bring up an exhaustive list of results. Don’t waste your time combing through them. We’ve done it for you, by tracking down some of the best apartment blogs in a variety of important categories.

renter life

Living your best renter’s life

Covering all things relevant to renters, from finding properties to providing the 411 on any related topic, the combination of apartment listings with highly informative blogs, on a single site, is a winning combination for renters.

With a topic list that’s easy to navigate, lets you search for just about anything related to apartment living. From finding the right apartment through its tips and listings to decorating and even introducing your pets, you’ll feel prepared to do it all.

The apartment living section of the blog includes a great assortment of pieces that can help you feel at home in a new city as well as deal with the ins and out of apartment life.

Apartment Guide

Another apartment blog that does a good job of combining the search for a new home with how to live in it, is Apartment Guide. The tips and advice are practical and helpful.

While searching through the blog, make sure to check out the Renter Guides. This collection of resources covers everything from finding affordable housing to being a first-time renter. Resources also cater to a variety of different types of renters, which helps narrow down the information that’s relevant just to you.

Our Little Apartment

For those living a renter’s life on a smaller scale, check out Our Little Apartment. This blog covers successful living in a studio-sized apartment with sections on minimalism and decluttering, two essential needs for living small. The site also provides tips on saving money and living green, all within the framework of minimal square footage.

decorating and style

Decorating and style

Once you find the perfect place to live, the next thing to do is decorate. Apartment blogs are especially helpful in this instance since many people find themselves limited by space or the rules of their property manager.

Even if you can’t put holes in your walls, or paint a feature wall, there are still so many decorating ideas these bloggers are willing to share.

Rooms for Rent

With the tagline of “love the space you live in,” the design blog at Rooms for Rent takes a simplistic approach to decorating with themes like easy elegance. Posted every Wednesday, these blogs give you ideas that are less complicated to execute and are often inspired by the writer’s own style and experience.

Almost Makes Perfect

For some truly adorable, DIY décor ideas, visit the blog on Almost Makes Perfect’s website. The projects on this site cover everything from large wall pieces to how to tie-dye clothing. You can even find instructions for themed crafts to enhance an event or age-appropriate activities to do with kids. With helpful commentary on the best craft supplies to use, you’ll never run out of ideas for your apartment.

Apartment Therapy

Apartment Therapy offers blogs in a variety of categories, but the helpful tips and advice found on its style tab can really help inspire. Ideas range from specific color palettes to use, to strategies for designing your style in a way that shows off your personality. Coverage of specific products to buy, as well as those to ditch, also makes it easier for you to decorate.

best blogs for apartment living hammers

Maintaining your space

Even though most apartment buildings have maintenance personnel to help with the big things, other, smaller projects are often up to you. For those never having lived on their own, it’s hard to know what you can do yourself to maintain your space. Apartment blogs can help with quick fixes and tips on ways to live smarter.


Modernize is a site with blogs mostly geared toward those living in a house, but don’t let that dissuade you from its hidden gem potential. Many of the maintenance tips and advice on creating a more energy-efficient space can translate into apartment living.

The site even has an entire category dedicated to efficiency with posts on energy consumption, preparing for natural disasters and tips on lowering utility bills.

Bob Vila

While not specifically an apartment blog, Bob Vila has helped people fix things on their own for decades. His brand is reliable, and his blog is so helpful when it comes to apartment maintenance. The quick tips section features help on dealing with insects, picks on which cleaning tools are best around the house and even which pet hair removers really work. If you want to know more about how to clean, fix or solve a common at-home problem, Bob’s your guy.

person with tape measure

Nailing the how-tos

Most apartment blogs will have at least a few how-to posts, but some do better at including them than others. These sites offer a lot of informative content to help you live your best, and often safest, life.

The Spruce

The Spruce if full of valuable resources, but check out the portion of its blog devoted to home repair. Don’t let the title fool you into thinking it’s just about big projects and renovations. The “how-to” list of blogs includes things like finding a good plumber or what kitchen problems need addressing ASAP. While some of the informative blogs may require you to put in a maintenance call, the how-tos can help you better access the situation.

Apartment Prepper

It may sound like a funny name for a blog, but it always pays to be prepared. Many apartment dwellers are living on their own for the first time, and lack the experience in dealing with many situations on their own. This blog can help you prepare to stay cool during a power outage or figure out how to check on the safety of your hand sanitizer. Focused primarily on dealing with larger-scale issues, this site also has a lot of helpful information in dealing with coronavirus.

best blogs for apartment living about dinner party

Entertaining friends and family

Keeping things fresh when you have friends and family over is important. Many apartment blogs will focus on ideas related to the holidays, but what about everyday get-togethers? It’s good to have a few blogs in your back pocket that can really help make an impact, even at the last minute.

The entertaining section of the Apt. 34 blog is not only full of beautiful pictures but has functional articles that will make you the host with the most. Nobody ever wants to do the same old thing when friends come over. This blog spices things up a little. Serve a homemade cake for dessert or set a table that will wow.


With a meal planning blog that will keep you fed every day of the week, Kitchn will also help you impress your friends with your grilling skills or teach you to compose a complete meal where every course is perfection. There are even tips on how to throw a dinner party in your apartment. Stunning pictures of food will have your mouth watering the whole time you devour this blog.

Get all the tips and tricks with the best apartment living blogs

From living large to cooking to impress, the right apartment blogs will keep you in the know while you rent. You’ll not only find your perfect apartment and decorate it just right, but you’ll gain enough know-how to make your space comfortable and friendly, with everything in working order.

Published at Thu, 20 Aug 2020 13:00:51 +0000

9 Tips to Avoid Work From Home Burnout

This “new normal” sure can be stressful.

During this pandemic, about 62 percent of Americans reported that they’re working from home. Prior to the pandemic, only about 25 percent of employees worked from home. While people have been learning to adjust to the WFH new-normal — the constant access to work, children attending school or significant others working in the next room — as well as the often depressing news from a 24-hour news cycle, studies show those working remotely are feeling stressed and many report work from home burnout.

Here are 9 tips to reduce work from home burnout right now, as well as how to recognize it.

set schedule

1. Define your work hours and set boundaries

People have been working longer hours since the beginning of the pandemic. Set boundaries by writing up a work schedule and sticking to it. Unless you’re required by your work to be available at certain times, set your work hours and then shut it all down. Pretend you have to catch a train home. If you’re lucky enough to have a separate office with a door, close it and walk away.

2. Minimize distractions

Your mind is being overtaxed, and that leads to WFH stress. The refrigerator, the laundry, your children, that spot on the rug — all seem to be calling out. Oh, and there’s your inbox, your phone, social media. “Squirrel!” Try this:

Time in

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all just tell ourselves to ignore household chores? Easier said than done. One way to stay focused is to set timers. Try the Pomodoro Technique: Work for 25 minutes, then take a 5-minute break. Every four “pomodoros,” take a 20-minute break. Decide what you want to do during those break times. Tell others in the household that, unless it’s an emergency, you will have five minutes or 20 minutes for them at a particular time.

Stop multitasking

Numerous studies have shown that humans can’t really multitask, and that trying to do so actually leads to a decrease in productivity. So, if your TV is running in the background, turn it off. If possible, only read and respond to emails at set times during the day. You can’t write and research a report and check email at the same time. Seriously, you can’t.


3. Use technology to your advantage

If it works for you, there are apps that can remind you when you’re supposed to do something or help you create to-do lists. Keeping on task can help you feel in control and less stressed.

4. Reward yourself

Don’t wait to feel frustrated. Have something to look forward to. Promise yourself something enjoyable and set it on the calendar — take a walk at 2 p.m., read a novel for 20 minutes after finishing writing a report, call a friend at 3 p.m. — whatever it is that feels rewarding. You aren’t taking time away from your work. You’re actually energizing yourself for the rest of your day.

5. Get regular exercise

Schedule time in your day — before, during or after work — to walk, cycle, run. Even better if you can do this outdoors. Besides the benefits of moving your body and getting your blood circulating, fresh air can help relieve stress and boost mental health.

Or try gardening. Studies show gardeners are less likely than other people to have mood disturbance, depression and symptoms of anxiety.


6. Try meditation

You don’t need anything special to meditate. Just sit quietly in a comfortable position. By concentrating on your breath or a particular sound — yes, “oooom” is a good one — you can lower your heart rate. Meditating just five minutes can help calm your mind and keep your body from getting into a stress response.

7. Stay connected

Even if you’re on video chats all day, it’s easy to feel alone during this time. Make it a point to connect with friends and family. If possible, and you’re comfortable meeting in person, take walks, have a picnic, go for a bike ride, play golf — whatever you can do while keeping at a safe social distance. Less inclined to go out? Meet up online or on social media.

Bottom line: Create a supportive network and interact with people you like and trust.

8. Sleep well

Your stress levels go up when you’re not getting enough sleep. According to the American Psychological Association, “Research has shown that most Americans would be happier, healthier and safer if they were to sleep an extra 60 to 90 minutes per night.”

Make a good night’s sleep a priority: Follow a routine, go to bed at the same time each night, keep your bedroom dark and cool, turn off TV and other screens at least 30 minutes before bed.

camping trip

9. Get away

A study by WorldatWork and PTO Exchange found that people are not taking their paid time off. Work-life balance, if it ever really existed, is all out of whack. While your favorite vacation spot may be closed to travel, there are still ways to get away both physically and mentally.

How to detect work from home burnout

If you’re having difficulty managing stress, you might start to burn out at work. The International Classification of Diseases defines burnout as an occupational phenomenon and not a medical condition, characterized by the following:

  • Energy depletion or exhaustion: You might have an inability to cope. You may have physical issues like stomach pains
  • Increased mental distance from or feeling negative and cynical about your job: You may find yourself distancing yourself emotionally from co-workers and feeling numb about work
  • Reduced performance: You may find it hard to concentrate, feel listless and not creative

Some of these symptoms are the same as those of depression, although depression does not necessarily cause burnout or vice versa. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed with stress, sadness or depression, get in touch with the Disaster Distress Helpline, call (800) 985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. Also, check with your employer about possible employee assistance program resources.

Moving forward

The WFH routine is likely going to be with us for quite a while. Even post-pandemic, many companies plan to allow employees to work remotely. These strategies for preventing work from home burnout can help whether you’re wearing your jammies or a suit while doing the 9-to-5 thing. Staying healthy is your No. 1 priority.

Published at Wed, 19 Aug 2020 13:00:44 +0000

Apartment Living

How to Safely Buy Furniture on Online Marketplaces

How to Safely Buy Furniture on Online Marketplaces

Online marketplaces are a convenient source for finding a bargain and buying affordable furniture and other home goods. Unfortunately, if you’re not careful during the purchase and exchange process, you might find yourself facing scams and dangerous situations. Here are a few ways to ensure your safety when buying furniture online.

Research the item

Online Shopping Safely Buy Furniture on Online Marketplaces

To prevent getting scammed, research the furniture you want before buying it. Search various e-commerce sites to see the price for a new product, then compare the seller’s price to store prices. If the product you’re eyeing is practically new, it should be discounted at least a few dollars from the regular retail price. Additionally, products depreciate in value depending on the condition.

Review how other sellers are pricing the same item on e-commerce sites. If you have a question about the product, message the seller to ask about its condition. Don’t hesitate to contact the merchant just because they’re likely a total stranger — a trustworthy online seller should be happy to answer your questions.

Check the seller’s profile

If you’re using an online marketplace on which sellers maintain profiles, ask yourself: Does the seller’s profile look legitimate? Are they providing very little information about themselves? Take a note of the seller’s reviews and, if applicable, friends. It is suspicious if they have a small number of friends, and it can also be suspicious if they have very few reviews (or lots of negative reviews).

Beware of any red flags regarding what the seller uploads to their profile. You may be dealing with a scammer if the merchant posts many spam links in public posts. If applicable, do a reverse image search of the seller’s profile picture to see if the person is using a picture of someone else. 

Inspect the product before purchasing

How does the furniture look in pictures? Before authorizing a payment, ask to see the product. The item may have signs of damage that the seller doesn’t show in photos. If the furniture is expensive, bring an expert — or maybe just a friend who buys a lot of secondhand furniture — for a second opinion. If the product is electronic, test whether it operates correctly.

Safely meet the seller in public

The safest way to meet the seller is far from your home and in a populated public space. Some people believe it’s safe to meet at a police station in front of security cameras. Other options include a shopping mall, restaurant, or coffee shops. Bringing a friend while meeting a seller in public adds another layer of security.

Use a secure payment method directly from the seller

Make sure to use a secure payment method. Sellers may ask for an indirect way of paying through a third-party site. The Better Business Bureau suggests purchasing your item using a person-to-person payment method.

Shopping online can help you find a vast selection of stylish furniture at reasonable prices. You can find many different styles of furniture from various eras, and if you’re vigilant with your safety and against fraud, online buying can be an unbeatable way to get a bargain. 

Published at Mon, 17 Aug 2020 13:30:49 +0000

A Five-Step Guide to Organizing Your Closet

Do you have a hard time picking what to wear and often find yourself impatiently rummaging through your clothes to choose the right outfit? A messy wardrobe can add unnecessary stress to your day, especially if your apartment is small without many options for storage. Decluttering and organizing your closet will help speed up the process of picking your next outfit. Save time choosing an outfit and enjoy the clothes you own by following these five helpful closet-organizing tips.

1. Declutter by category

Get rid of unnecessary clothes by following the advice of famed organization expert Marie Kondo. Kondo believes the best way to declutter is to focus on items that “spark joy.” From Kondo’s perspective, joy links to personal and intimate reasons – the “small details” of an item should make you smile. 

Organizing Closet

Kondo’s tidying technique, called the KonMari Closet Method, emphasizes sorting through your clothes by categories such as pants, tops, or dresses. First, empty your closet. Gather all of your clothes from one group in front of you so it’s easier to keep your loved clothes and eliminate other items. After organizing one category, go through the rest of the groups until you sorted through each one. Discard unwanted clothes in a bag for donation or sell them to a consignment store. 

2. Clean and wash your empty closet

After your closet is empty from sorting everything, make sure to clean it. Sweep, scrub or vacuum your closet, and air it out for deep cleaning. If you have storage bins, clean them too. If you want, you can listen to some calming or uplifting music while you clean to make the process go by faster.

3. Organize your storage space with organizers or bins

Use your vertical storage space to your advantage. Use a hanging shoe organizer to store more clothes. Storage bins on built-in shelves will maximize storage for – and organize – one of your item categories. 

Hanging hooks on your wall to organize your jewelry, belts, and scarves can also be useful when you have limited space. If you have extra space for a shoe organizer, rolling dresser, or a small armoire, add it to your closet to store small accessories.

4. Store your clothes and accessories by category

As previously mentioned, you should organize similar items together. Clothes and accessories in each category – pants, shirts, socks – should be with each other. 

Hang formal and structured clothes to prevent wrinkles. Save hanging space by folding thick garments such as jeans and sweaters. To get ready quickly, organize each category in the order you get dressed. If you’re a visual person, go the extra mile to color-code your closet.

Marie Kondo suggests two tips to make your wardrobe look aesthetically pleasing. Hang your clothes to face the same direction, and keep longer items on the left and shorter pieces on the right to create an upward sloping line.

5. Follow the “one in, one out” rule

These organization tips helped you clean your closet, but now what? Keep your closet clean and tidy by not hoarding new clothes (doing so also decreases the need for another massive wardrobe clean-out). Maintain your organized, spacious closet by always removing an item after purchasing a new one. 

With an organized closet, you can spend less time getting ready. Plus, a clean closet helps you maximize your wardrobe through different aesthetic and storage techniques, so you’ll feel happier with your apartment too.

Published at Tue, 11 Aug 2020 21:10:26 +0000