My friend Becca moved back to Sacramento from Istanbul in January, and while I was visiting her we decided that I would be helping her look for furniture and decor on the super cheap- as in, craigslist and thrift stores- lucky for her, this is my specialty. Not only am I an interior designer, I’m also the biggest bargain hunter there is. Finding a good deal on a treasure hunt, either online or in person, is kind of a high for me.

Those close to me also know where they can go to get art for their walls, accessories, and pillows galore. I collect those things and have them stored in my guest room and lining the halls of my house. I’ve had a problem in the past with buying pieces of furniture and fabric that I have absolutely no use for, but know that I will find a place for them- eventually. Even though I don’t have any storage or a garage. I’ve worked on this problem, I swear.

So Becca rented an apartment that I wasn’t exactly over the moon about, because there’s absolutely no character to it whatsoever. It’s basically two square rooms, a kitchen and a bathroom. But, the good thing was that it was recently updated, so all the cabinets, carpet, and fixtures were new. I figured I can work with anything, after all, I did what I could with my apartment which was not only a spaceplanner’s nightmare, but a hot mess when we moved in.

Becca has… almost nothing. She had a coffee table, a chair, a bed, and a book shelf in storage. Everything else needed to be found and purchased, on a VERY limited budget. First thing I found was on craigslist- this teal, clawfoot sofa that was in Rocklin for $100. We went out there and I bargained with the guy to sell it for $60, and deliver it. Score #1.

I gave Becca the two orange pillows, then I found the embroidered one at Tuesday Morning for $10 and the teal one at World Market for $14.50.

The painting in the back is one of mine that I loaned to her, because everything is a loaner for Becca, our nomadic friend.

We came up with the color scheme for the apartment from these two framed photographs that Becca took while in Istanbul, which are my favorites. I decided on the teals and orange-y reds since Becca likes lots of color and I would never be able to use teal in my own house because someone who lives here thinks it’s the color of the devil.

I also decided that white walls are great when you have some kind of interesting architectural details, high ceilings, or big windows that let lots of light in or show beautiful views. This apartment has none of those things, so I chose two shades of gray to paint the main living areas, to offset the warm oranges.

I also loaned her the two big frames and mats for the pictures. They needed something substantial to be framed in.

We got two chinese lanterns at World Market for $20 or so for the corner to bring more overhead lighting to the dark apartment.

The first day of our thrifting extravaganza introduced us to the mascot of the apartment, Franz. I saw him staring at us from the bottom corner of a shelf at the Arden Goodwill, a big orange ceramic fox with green eyes for $3.99. It was my housewarming gift, and he’s been dressed in a myriad of hats and scarves ever since.

Franz sits at the entrance to the apartment to greet guests, at the feet of the coat/hat rack.

Another craigslist find was this console in West Sacramento that was $10. It holds a lamp Becca purchased in Istanbul, frames, and books.

Then there was the end table Becca bought at Ikea for $8, which holds some frames, a lamp we found at Walmart for $10, and an awesome lampshade I found a pair of on craigslist for $16-ish (shades pictured elsewhere).

When Becca went to pick up the lampshades, the person selling them also gave her these cute ceramic vases and light fixture covers. I placed them on top of the book shelf with one of her Parisian framed prints.

This isn’t a great photo, but I realized I didn’t have too many shots of the chair that Becca was given (along with the coffee table) from Dannah. I saw this pillow at Target when we were shopping for bedding one night. It was $7 (or so?) and I made Becca buy it because it was perfect and I was in love with it.

I also made her frame this picture she took in Istanbul that I love, in one of the frames Christa gave her.

(here’s a picture of one of the two lampshades)

Three of my favorite finds were this round black table we found at an antique shop that we bargained down to $36 with the vase thrown in,

and these two mid-century chairs I found on craigslist that I bargained down to $24. I’m in love with them- and they’re the heaviest chairs of all time.

I chose the darker grey color to be painted on the back wall of the kitchen, as a sort of fake out backsplash. It makes the plain white cabinets really stand out, much more than they did against the stark white walls.

The cluster of vases on the counter were from our first thrifting day when Becca became a thriftstore-vase-a-holic.

We also found this vase that we used to hold all her utensils, and then went to World Market and got all these painted ceramic bowls, tea containers and coffee mugs for the open shelves to bring color to the kitchen.

Moving onto the bedroom. Becca wanted yellow and grey, so that’s what we did. She bought these pillows at Target that we used as inspiration. Plus Sunshine Bear.

Her friend Lish gave her the Ikea dresser that we used as a bedside table,

so we found a small (and cheap) bedside table for the other side at Ikea. I found these matching lamps on craigslist for $30. Becca got these great vases (on both tables) and candles at a thrift shop on a solo excursion. She did well.

Stephanie gave her a dresser that we put in the corner with a lion painting (from B’s dad), and some of her favorite pictures (including one of my faves that I took of B & S in New York at the statue of liberty). We found the brown lamp at Goodwill for $10.

Becca had the great Alice in Wonderland print that fit into the color scheme perfectly, that she re-framed for above the dresser. I wanted her to do drapes for the window, but drapes and drapery hardware are expensive.

Opposite the bed wall, we used some of Christa’s frames for a Pearl Jam poster, an enlarged photo from Paris, a drawing of Becca that she’s planning on having framed in a larger frame,

and this amazing photo we found while going through her old frames that was behind a different picture, of her parents kissing on their wedding day.

Then there’s the bathroom, which we used as a resting place for the “leftovers” of frames, candleholders, and thrift store vases and dishes.

We got these cherry blossom stems at World Market.

Then there’s precious Murat #4, the beta fish we got at a feed store in West Sac. He’s the second mascot of the house, and was named after the three other Murats Becca made friends with in Istanbul. Murat is like Michael in Turkey.

This was the only wide angle shot I took. The other painting above the console is one that I gave her.

Franz gets a hat and scarf makeover every now and then. Becca’s friend Gage gave him this hat from Picnic Day that now adorns his head.

All in all, it’s a pretty precious little apartment. We had fun.