I’d like to think there are three types of home decor people. There are those who are so particular in their aesthetic that they’ll go great lengths to capture a specific *vibe*, whether it’s seeking out authentic (or closely-duped) vintage pieces or dressing their living spaces to an IG-worthy theme (i.e. the millennial-leaning checkered rugs, the squiggle coffee table, etc.). On the opposite end of the spectrum are those whose abodes are barely sustained by the likes of former-roommate castoffs, Craigslist freebies or curbside treasures from the streets. Then, there’s the home decor person who is somewhere in the middle — like me — whose apartment has its fair share of frumpy hand-me-downs, which have served me quite well, but is now looking to zhuzh up my lived-in furniture with fun decor accents that add pizzazz, color, and, yes, quirk.
In the years since I’ve started caring more about my living space (thanks, pandemic), I’ve relied on Areaware — an online design destination carrying home goods, games, toys, and other oddities made by independent makers — to offer a dopamine hit whenever I wanted to upgrade my unit. The trick, for me, has been to treat myself in budget-friendly baby steps rather than embarking on wild, debt-defying shopping sprees.
Areaware has a little something for everybody. You can go as big as buying all three Chen Chen & Kai Williams “mask” mirrors for $90 each (a move I’m still very proud of) or you can ease into a slightly nicer version of a kitchen essential for a reasonable price, like these Bower Studios “tabletop tiles” for $20, which can be arranged as single coasters or flushed together as a trivet (excuse how busted mine have gotten — they have been very well-loved). My most recent acquisition are these Dusen Dusen salt and pepper grinders, sold separately for $49 each, but were bought together as a cute couple. You may think your apartment is drabby, but you’d be surprised at how much your guests will think you have great taste, simply by displaying these light touches of whimsy throughout the rooms. Areaware is my best not-kept shopping secret because I send those who inquire there for the best home upgrades, or for thoughtfully designed gifts. I hope you’re as delighted as I am by its wares.
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