I Live In A 2-Bedroom In Harlem — Here's How Much I Pay In Rent

produced by Brianna Donnelly; appearance by Rachel Herron; edited by Sam Russell.
In Refinery29's Sweet Digs, we take a look inside the sometimes small, sometimes spacious homes of millennial women. Today, 26-year-old Rachel Herron shows off her Harlem 2-bedroom apartment.
When Rachel Herron first saw her boyfriend's apartment, she knew immediately that she wanted to move in. To clarify: not into his apartment, but definitely into the building.
"I really liked it primarily because utilities are included in the rent, and all the apartments were newly renovated," Herron says. "So when my lease was up around in my old apartment, I contacted a broker who was dealing exclusively with the building and I kind of let him know like, 'Look. If you get something that’s open, I definitely want to live there for sure.'"
Herron got lucky, and found a 2-bedroom in the building for a cool $2,480 (£1,967). She found a roommate (who, funnily enough, had messaged her about her old apartment initially), and set about filling the space with decorations inspired by her hometown. And for her relationship with her boyfriend? That's still a thing.
"It’s honestly perfect because I like my apartment more than I like his apartment," she says. "So it’s really nice if I’'m in my place and he’s in his place and he’s like, ‘Oh. Did you want to come over?’ I can say, 'No. I’m just going to stay here.' And if I change my mind I just have to get in the elevator and go upstairs. Or we can hang out for a while and then leave. Or we can spend all day apart and then be like, 'All right. It’s time for bed. Do you want to just come over and we can fall asleep?'"
Moving in might not even be an option at this point. "We both feel like we have such independence, which might even be ideal," Herron says. "Maybe we’ll just do it this way forever." Check out Rachel's space in the video above, and read on for her decorating tips.
Can you talk about the upfront costs of moving in?
"There was a non-negotiable broker’s fee just because of how many people like the building and how quickly places in that building went off the market. It was a 15% broker’s fee which was crazy and then first month and then security. And because we moved in halfway through a month we paid half month plus a whole month plus security and then the broker’s fee. So it was a lot of money upfront. I think we both paid $5,000 (£3,965) upfront. Something around there."
What about furniture? Where did you find most of your decor?
Kind of all over. My couch I got from Wayfair because I knew I wanted to put some money into something that was going to be really nice and not just a lazy couch for watching movies. Even though I love that, I wanted a statement piece for the room and encourage the rest of the furniture to kind of match which it really did. I put the couch in and everything just kind of fell in line. So I got that from Wayfair and I have a bar car that I got from Wayfair. And I think almost everything else is from Amazon Home, which is crazy. I didn’t even know they had that. My bed is from Amazon Home.
How did you find inspiration for your home?
"Honestly, I feel like the magic of Instagram is once you’ve liked a couple of pictures then all of a sudden your whole Explore page is nothing but photos like that. So honestly I just liked a couple of I guess I’d call it Swedish design-ish. Because they all kind of look alike to me but it’s very much my aesthetic and I would go on Instagram all day and all night and constantly save photos that I thought were interesting. So simple, wooden furniture design with nice accent pieces. Throws, pillows, things to warm up the space. Lots of greens. Lots of white, neutral wood and black. And then a lot of plants and candles. So that’s kind of where my head was and I kind of went from there based off mainly Instagram. I just used Pinterest for my lights."
Do you have any decorating rules or tips? Or what’s the best tip you’ve ever learned?
"My big tip is a combination of many tips. Don’t be afraid to commit to an idea and really have a thought about what you want the space to look like. And then add in your personal things to dress up that idea. So I’m in no way hating on an apartment that’s so personal with knick knacks and photos and things everywhere. That’s great. It’s just totally not my vibe. I think sometimes I’m afraid that my place doesn’t look as home-y because I don’t have a ton of pictures everywhere of my friends. I have pictures in personal areas. I have some pictures in my closet that only I see. Because they’re kind of for me. So having an idea and going for it and keeping your personal things where you want them and not being afraid to put them out if you need to. Like tastefully or having a private, personal corner room or space that’s just for you and it’s a nice little secret because it’s good to keep yourself entertained in your own space."

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