Bringing Life to a Sterile Apartment

Anyone who has seen our home in Minneapolis knows I like color, bold color, jewel tones to be exact. Teal, Royal Blue, Emerald Green…they just make me feel good, full of energy! So what does a color-lover do when faced with stark white walls, white cupboards, brown drapes, and beige and brown furniture? Nothing, because we can’t change these things. The university provides us with our housing, which is incredibly generous and a huge money saver, but the very plain apartment itself is designed to suit anyone’s needs (as it should in this case).

I guess the apartment isn’t totally neutral—there is a big, beautiful canvas print of a mountainous lake (complete with jewel tones!) over the couch, and two ugly mismatched prints in the kitchen (they’d be fine separate, but together, they are quite offensive). The prints help, but a place this drab is totally uninspiring and sterile. It needs something to spice it up a bit. And we are getting there, slowly but surely.

After arriving in Astana, and after rearranging 60% of the cupboards to suit my preferences—haha!, I immediately started thinking up ways to bring color, life, and a feeling of home into the apartment. We needed some colorful pillows, some more boldly colored art, some photos of us, some plants! Finding such things is easier said than done.

01-11 Photo Wall

The photo wall makes my writing days a bit easier.

Photos of us I had on hand. I thought my husband might be missing my smiling face in the months we were apart, so I sent him a stack of great photos from our wedding. Using tape, I arranged them on the little wall between the desk and the fridge. These can also be seen from the living room since everything is open. It’s not much, but it breaks up the white monolith and gives me something happy to look at while writing.

We went shopping my second day here and got some pillows and geometric-print pillow covers for the couch. A bit of beige-grey, navy, and orange. They don’t really match the mountain/lake photo above the couch, but at least they are something. We later bought some bigger pillows, white covers unfortunately, which soften the brown and beige of the couch a bit.

Yesterday, I was finally able to find a houseplant and that has already done wonders for my psyche in the 12 hours it has been in the apartment. My goal is to buy more, many, many more houseplants. I don’t care if our apartment turns into a jungle. I seriously cannot believe how much life a little plant has brought to the surroundings. I can’t stop looking at it.

Things don’t change over night, or over two months. These little additions have helped though! It can only get more colorful from here!


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