Design and DIY

Designing an Apartment from Scratch (Using Mood Boards!)

September 24, 2018

Do you want to know the biggest challenge when designing an apartment from scratch? The waiting period before you can move in. It’s all fun and games when you walk through and then ultimately sign the lease. But nobody reminds you that someone else currently lives there and you probably can’t see it again until it’s vacant. Don’t make the same mistakes I did. Bring a measuring tape. Take lots of pictures. (Even if it’s the first time you’re looking at the place!) Because if you’re like me, it may be the only time! That’s right, my showing was on May 30th and I couldn’t get back into the apartment until July 2nd. For the average tenant this probably isn’t an issue. But I had nothing – no bed, no dining table, no office furniture. 

Which leads me to my next problem: I had to order all my furniture and have it delivered to our house before I left on July 13th, so that the movers could bring it to my new residence. Why? Because Fed Ex and UPS wouldn’t carry any large packages up to my second floor apartment. And although I like to think of myself as a strong, independent woman, I knew that these spaghetti arms just couldn’t lug a bed frame up several flights of stairs. My solution for designing a space that you haven’t seen in a month? MOOD BOARDS!

Mood Board Progression


With the threat of sleeping on the floor looming over me, I decided to start designing the bedroom first. And although I didn’t know the exact dimensions of the space, I recalled that the previous tenants had comfortably fit a queen-sized bed and two night stands. So that’s where I began. Scroll through the above slideshow to see my mood board progression. Want to know the reasons behind my choices? Keep reading!

The Bed

The perfect mix of coastal and mid-century modern, this Parocela Panel Bed from Wayfair comes in two colors and I had a heck of a time choosing between white and acorn! Ultimately, the acorn felt too warm and clashed with the dresser that was going in this room. So white was the clear winner!

Design Tip: White finishes keep a space feeling light and airy. 

The Bench

I could go on and on about this Paloma bench for the rest of my life! The quality is just amazing. (Did I mention that I’ve ALWAYS wanted an end-of-the-bed bench?) In my initial mood board, I chose the natural rattan finish. But when the black version went on sale for $199.97, I couldn’t pass up the deal! I completely revised my entire design around this bench and was surprised to find that it didn’t feel too harsh against the white bed. 

The Nightstands

I searched high and low for nightstands that had clean lines, storage, and a beachy feel. Enter the Julia End Table. They were everything that I was looking for and more! The wicker shelf added the perfect, unexpected touch of coastal cool. And so I had to overlook the insane price tag on these and just go for it. I knew nothing would compare. Not to mention they were a flawless compliment to the Paloma bench. To this day, they are one of my favorite purchases. #noregrets

The Rug

Did you notice that the rug changed in EVERY SINGLE mood board? I had the hardest time deciding on what to put on the floor! I knew I wanted something vintage which is why I partnered with my friends at Revival Rugs. They have a unique selection of handwoven Turkish rugs. Initially, I gravitated toward cream and beige colors to offset the dark grey carpet but in the end, this perfectly faded blue Oushak spoke to my soul. 

The Finishing Touches

A room reveal just wouldn’t be the same without the chance to support some of my favorite small shops! I was able to scoop up this vintage Hmong lumbar from my girl Cassie at Modern Clementine. (She just released her fall collection btw… I’m talking VELVET PILLOWS!) It adds just the right amount of texture and deep color to the space. And let’s take a moment to admire that Grotto Throw from Meridian NY! It was handwoven by a master weaver in Istanbul, Turkey and is the perfect addition to the boho bench.

Shop the Look


Overall, I couldn’t be happier with how the bedroom turned out. Especially since I had only seen it once prior. My best advice? Create mood boards in order to better visualize your space. (And before making any big purchases!) It’s a great way to ensure that all your pieces work well together. Stay tuned – a Mood Board course is on the way. 🙂 

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  • Reply Carly September 24, 2018 at 7:54 pm

    It looks amazing!! Where is the basket from?

    • Reply emilyeveryday September 25, 2018 at 8:35 am

      The big basket with the lid? It’s from homegoods! 🙂

  • Reply Liene September 25, 2018 at 7:36 am

    I am following you for a while. Love your style and item choices. I do however have one question? Where you create your mood board? What tools you use to make them?

    • Reply emilyeveryday September 25, 2018 at 8:35 am

      Hi Liene! I think I answered you in DM’s as well. I’ll be doing a course on how to make them so stay tuned. 🙂

      • Reply Kaya June 29, 2019 at 10:37 am

        Hi Emily! Is that course available somewhere? I’m looking for best moodboards tools as I’m moving to a new apartment so that would be really useful 🙂

        • Reply emilyeveryday July 2, 2019 at 10:09 am

          Hi Kaya! Unfortunately the course never came to fruition.

  • Reply Jai Blanchard October 3, 2018 at 9:48 pm

    I notice you use ALOT of Turkish elements in your decorating….. Did you know that your mom once dated a Turkish man who asked her to marry him?? Just think of the trove of treasures that could have provided!!

  • Reply Sara November 1, 2018 at 8:08 am

    Beautiful space! What is the paint color? Sorry if I missed it.

    • Reply emilyeveryday November 15, 2018 at 5:58 pm

      Hi Sara, it’s Sherwin Williams Requisite Grey!

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