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Inspirational Design: Chairs for Your First Apartment

The chair is both the most basic and most essential piece of furniture. Literally, they are what keep us off the ground (or out of bed), whether at a table or in the living room. So, when shopping for a first apartment, there is one thing that will truly define the concept of your new space: a chair. Beds can be brought from home and updated with new bedding, but an old chair borrowed from your parents will hardly distinguish your first living space as your own. So here’s a rundown of some gorgeous new and vintage chairs that will bring personality to your first apartment and many future apartments.

Centerpiece Chairs: These are the type of chairs that you center a room around. You read in them, watch TV in them, drink tea in them; these are the chairs that you spend your home-life in. As such, they should be durable, comfortable, and have distinctive design that sets the tone for your new space.

Tullsta Chair: Ikea, $99

This chair isn’t the prettiest or most exciting, but it has clean lines, comes in a variety of colors, and most importantly is easy on the first apartment dweller’s budget. I’ve had one in green for several years, and can vouch for its comfort – I’ve accidentally fallen asleep in mine many times. All-in-all, it’s a great starter chair.

Airy Settee: Anthropologie, $298

With a bump in price can come a big bump in style. Anthropologie has a lot of great chairs that are attractive and unique, even if it comes with a whack in price as well. This settee is both cozy enough for one and big enough for two, making it a great alternative to a couch if you’re short on space. The metal frame might be off-putting for some, but realize this: the hand-woven, re-purposed cotton webbing makes it like a breezy hammock for your living room.

Acapulco Chair: GreenPointWorks, around $399

Another hammock-style chair bringing the comfort of stretchy webbing indoors, this little number updates a classic style of outdoor chair with velvety-soft leather cording. Add a throw pillow, and lounge in this baby all sunday afternoon. Additional bonus: these are handmade in Brooklyn, so your eco-conscience can be at ease.

When looking for a balance between style and price, vintage can be a great option. This vintage chair has a great classic feel to it, and the color would make it pop in any room.

Yellow and Cream Chair: Hot House Market, $130

Winston Wingback Chair in Grass Green: Katie Maennle, $1,450

If you have the budget for them, designer chairs are great way to contribute to your space’s design in a long-term way, combined with high quality construction. Pricier chairs are also often customizable; for instance, Katie Maennle herself will upholster this chair for you in any fabric of your choice, if the bold green isn’t to your taste.

Smoke Chair in Black: Mooi, price upon request

Speaking of designer chairs, this all-black armchair by Maarten Baas is another example of what shelling out big bucks can get you. It’s made out of burnt wood and finished with an epoxy resin that seals and strengthens the material – so don’t worry, it doesn’t smell like charcoal. While this veritable piece of art is probably out of the price range of any first apartment renter/owner who doesn’t have a gigantic trust fund, it’s a nice source of inspiration. Also, the same look could be recreated by painting and re-upholstering a vintage wingback chair.

Multipurpose Chairs: In small apartments, it’s often necessary to have extra seating available that doesn’t take up too much space, or that can double as footstools, ottomans, etc. Other chairs can double as dining chairs, desk chairs, and extra seating at parties. The key with these side chairs is versatility.

Hallar Stool: Ikea, $69.99

This handmade stool can perform as a seat, two seats, a lounger, an ottoman – you name it. It’s made out of seagrass, natural banana fibers, and cotton, giving it an earthy aesthetic.

Urban Chair: Ikea, $39.99

Ikea has a number a folding and stackable chairs that are reasonably priced, making them great as casual dining chairs or side chairs for a party. Personally, the Urban chair is my favorite, but they have cheaper options as well. If you’re short on space, they  can just stay stacked in a corner for when you have company over.

Reclaimed Firewood Bench: The Chicago Bench Co. Etsy Shop, $85.00

These benches have a cool rustic feel to them, and are handcrafted out of recycled firewood. If Etsy’s offerings are a little too pricy for you, any amateur carpenter could make something similar on their own. The firewood gives it a worn-in feel that’s much more aesthetically pleasing than other cheap lumbers.

Stool and Vintage Patio Chairs: Hot House Market, $25-$40 each

Again, vintage is always an affordable option that brings a retro-feel to your space. If you don’t have a local flea market, there are plenty of online vintage stores now that will ship your finds to you; Hot House Market is a personal favorite of mine.

Real Good Chair in Red: Blu Dot, $129.00

These red chairs are a bit pricey, but if you have the money then the quality of design is worth it. I especially like the dotted lines at the corners of the facets on the chair. The planar lines and bright color bring a modern aesthetic to any space.

Blocky Stool: Ohio, $205-$365

Another multi-purpose stool that brings an organic look with it. Again, these are a bit pricy, but gorgeous red oak  and douglas fir wood comes at a price. These can double not only as a seat or a footstool, but also a side table.

Obviously, these are just a few of  the many, many chairs that are out there, but they’re a good start for inspiration when decorating a brand new apartment. The collection of furniture that you start with your first apartment will likely carry on to many future apartments, and if there’s one thing you’ll need in the long-term, it’s a chair.


Beauty Technique: Newsprint Nails!

So I’ve recently been channeling my various anxieties into minute projects, and I finally came up with one that turned out well: newsprint nails! I originally found the idea from a comment on Jezebel. Basically, you can superimpose newsprint onto a base nail color for a nifty, literary look.

What you need: nail color of your choice, spare newspaper, nail topcoat, all the various accoutrements (polish remover, cotton balls, Q-tips, etc.).

I used American Apparel Nail Lacquer in “California Trooper,” Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Topcoat, Svedka vodka, and a copy of Philadelphia Weekly. In general, I think a neutral, opaque base color works best: think white, pale grey, or beige. But brights could work too if that’s your fancy!

Prep Work: cut small, approximately 1 in. x 0.5 in. strips out of the newspaper, featuring whatever words, images, etc. you want on your nails.

Step 1: Paint your nails with two coats of the base color, clean up, and let dry. If you’re like me, the “clean up” part involves going back over each nail with a Q-tip dipped in remover to make sure the polish is just on your nails, not coating your whole fingertips.

Step 2: One by one, dip each finger in Vodka, then press a newspaper strip onto the nail. Hold it in place for 30 seconds, making sure not to let it move (or else the print will smudge). Repeat for each nail.

Step 3: Wait about 10 minutes for the newsprint to dry. While waiting, enjoy some of the vodka (although preferably not the vodka you dipped your nails in).

Step 4: Top off each nail with one coat of top coat. Let dry, and enjoy!

Warning: if you let the newspaper move while applying it, this will be your result:

I’m not much of a manicurist, so mine are a little messy. But according to commenter “Snizzy-Snazz Bullets,” this is what they can look like when expertly done:

Photo Courtesy of Snizzy-Snazz Bullets’ comment on Jezebel.