We love searching for inspiration for home design, and Instagram is a perfect platform to find such inspiring people who pour their heart and soul into creating that place that truly feels like home. Today, we’re introducing Rachel Valente, @rachlvalente, whose lovely apartment has a calm, light and warm aesthetic. We’ve asked Rachel to share some of her experiences creating this design with us.
How would you describe your home’s personality?
My home is characterized by warmth, earthiness, and texture. It’s filled with peaceful and quiet corners, but still brought to life with lots of natural elements like wood, jute, and greenery that help bring the outdoors in!
What inspired you in creating this design?
I always want where I live to feel like home. Even as a renter living in 650 square feet, I want to find inspiration in every space. This was a big motivation for me when creating my space. I’ve always loved the desert and actually hope to move to Arizona someday! So, a lot of the design features in my home reflect the texture and tone of southwestern, neutral interiors and textiles. Additionally, since my husband and I share our little condo together, I also love making sure his style preferences (more industrial and rustic) are woven into different spaces, too! What results is a blend that feels very much “us” and creates a home we love and are proud of.
How did you put everything together? What were the biggest challenges?
I made a lot of mistakes at the beginning of my homemaking journey. This is our first apartment, so I felt pressured to start right away and to know exactly what I wanted right from the beginning. To eliminate a lot of this indecisiveness, I quickly learned to plan spaces by assembling mood boards, doing in-depth research, and identifying the key design elements that I actually loved. I scoured Pinterest a lot (and still do!) to find inspiration and, in many cases, to see what styles and design I could replicate with DIYs, thrifting, and a little creativity.
Some of the biggest challenges came with 1) being a renter and 2) being on a budget. It’s easy to look at Pinterest and Instagram inspiration and feel like there will be no way to achieve the same look unless you pay upwards of $2k per furniture piece. But this wasn’t an option for us, as newlyweds and recent college graduates. So, I invested time into styling resourcefully, sourcing the best low-cost options, and finding ways to be grateful and inventive with the limitations I had as a renter.
What is your favorite spot in your home and why?
Right now, my favorite spot is our dining room! I’ve been wrestling with finding that sweet spot as my design taste continues to evolve, and the dining room finally feels like a space that’s a step closer to that. I love the new pendant light, refreshed rug, arch mirror, and simple shelf styling that complements this space.
But my most favorite part? The three floating shelves were the first DIY I ever did when we first moved into our apartment. At the time it was such an accomplishment for us –– purchasing raw pine wood, selecting the right stain, and learning to sand and seal. It even took us close to two hours to install them! They have so much sentimental value now because they’re reminders of how far we’ve come in DIY projects and creating a space we love. I’m so happy we brought them back into this space to make it truly feel complete.
When it comes to your home, what do you think is always worth investing in?
I think renters especially have a difficult time justifying home purchases. I’ve received so many questions about whether or not you should really buy that sofa, or this sideboard, or that bed frame. People feel that pieces in their home need to be permanent, big life choices. In my opinion, something is worth investing in even if it’s not screwed into the floor. Purchases you make, even while renting, can go anywhere with you. If you love something, if it fits in your home, if it’s still functional, and you know there’s no obligation to be attached to it forever (because you could take it with you or give it away/sell), it’s worth the investment.
No one has ever gone wrong with investing in the right bedding. We recently received linen bedding and it has changed everything! Your home can be the prettiest home ever, but without good sleep it can’t be enjoyed to its fullest extent. I absolutely believe in the value of quality bedding and a cozy place to rest your head at night.
What’s your best advice for someone looking to bring their home to life? Any important dos and don’ts?
Bring your home to life with what feels like home to you. For some, it’s adding plants. For others, it’s dried florals. For me, it’s earthy textures and tones — but for you, maybe it’s modern, clean lines. Since design is so subjective, it’s hard to tell someone how to bring their home to life. Pursue what brings you joy, gives you peace, and feels like home.
- Seek inspiration. In nature, in coffee shops, in the patterns of your favorite breakfast cereal. Design is in everything — look for it in more than just Pinterest or Instagram.
- Be gracious to yourself. The process is long and challenging. Hardly anyone gets it right the first time, and that’s ok! Each faulty design attempt, each failed DIY is part of the crucial process in learning what works and doesn’t work. There is value in every season.
- Imitate every trend. You can be inspired by them but possess your own style and figure out what you love.
- Be hasty. If you always try to go after the first thing that appeals to you, you’ll end up buying a lot of things that don’t go together or you don’t need. Have patience in the process and take some time to live in your space, understand it, and gather inspiration that feels true to you.
At the end of the day, creating your home is such a beautiful journey, and one every person deserves to partake in. It’s my hope for you that, whether you rent or own, have a huge budget or a small one, have designed your whole space before or have never ever done it, you create a home you love.
We could not agree more. Thank you, Rachel, for sharing your story and your beautiful design with us!
All images courtesy of Rachel Valente.