Our Hand-me-down and DIY Apartment Decorated for Christmas

This is the second place Justin and I have lived since being married. Our first place was BYU married student housing. It was tiny. But, it worked for us and we spent two years there. Then, we had a child, graduated, and got grown-up jobs, so we needed somewhere else. (Also, I was tired of living in a college town for the past 6 years and having a 45-55 minute commute.)

So, we came to this wonderful townhome in Sandy, Utah. See what it looks like, here. But, it took us forever to find a town home (or apartment) in our budget that was good quality for us to rent. We weren’t in a position to buy, and spent hours upon hours searching numerous websites for any hits. It was a long and arduous process. But, we finally found the perfect place for us. Scroll down to the very bottom of the post to see how this process could be much easier for you in the future!

We are still very much so newly weds–in our 3rd year of marriage–and just barely making adult wages. The only furniture we actually bought ourselves is in our bedroom: desk, bed, and dresser. Everything else was generously given to us or made for us.

– couch with recliners hand-me-down from my parents
– chair with ottomon hand-me-down from my SIL
– two hand-crafted, custom-made bookshelves as hand-me-downs from my uncle and aunt
– TV hand-me-down from my SIL
– stroller, baby swing, carseat from my SIL’s and MIL
– kitchen table and chairs hand-me-down from my parents
– Mom’s old rocking chair that all my siblings and I were rocked in
– Gradma’s old dresser for Rhys
– crib from my parents
– floor rug hand-me-down from my parents
– gamecube hand-me-down from friends
– jean picnic quilt made by my mom

– Pensieve of memories from Justin
– decorations from treats, hand-me-downs, books, gifts from friends
– picture of Jesus with notes from our old bishopric
– Rhys’s banner from my mom
– FHE Activity Jar I made
– picture of the Jordan River Temple and poem from friends

Needless to say, we have been very blessed. And, although our home is a bit eclectic, I’ve done my very best to tie it all together. In doing so, my living room and kitchen have a wooden, country, burlap-y feel the it. I really like it. I really, really do. A lot of our pieces of furniture are old and worn, and could definitely use replacing, but they are special to us and reminds us what a great family we are blessed with.

This year, I have more room to decorate Christmas with. I also have a fireplace, and wanted to make sure to have stockings for my family. So, I did a little DIY’ing this year for Christmas, and I’m not a DIY’er in the least! I was very proud of my effort.

With a lot of help and direction from my mom, I made these beautiful stockings. I designed them, did the lettering, and most of the sewing. Mom definitely helped with positioning of the patterns, and doing the trim of the stockings. I’m very proud of my effort. They aren’t perfect, but that’s what I love about them. You can tell I made them and they were made with heart.

I made this cute little nativity and scripture advent calendar at a Relief Society activity. I love them and think I did a good job.

This nativity is half missing. When I was a young girl in my church, we had an activity and service program. We worked towards different gospel-related goals and service activities. Each time we completed a section, we were rewarded with a piece of the Nativity. They were all made by a member of our congregation. I had completed the entire program and received all the pieces of the nativity. However, that was 10 or so years ago. With multiple moves, I’ve lost many of the pieces. The “Joseph” figure is actually a shepherd figure without his crook!

But, my favorite part is the Christmas tree. My family had a tradition: every year growing up, my Grandma would give all the kids an ornament. That is most of the ornaments on this tree. Also, last year, my mother-in-law invited me to participate in a big ornament exchange she organizes. Every year, all the wives in her family, as well as close friends, create (it has to be DIY) two dozen ornaments, send them to her, and she mails everyone out a set of each. Click here for last year’s ornament I made. This year’s DIY will be posted later next week.

So, although our home is a bit eclectic and hand-me-down-ish, it is perfect for us. We are in love with it and it will definitely grow with us in time.

But, I’m a little jealous of NYC. There is a cool new site that can help you find the perfect apartment to match your wants, needs, and even personality, called Urban Compass. Urban Compass is a real estate platform that connects folks searching for starter apartments with the neighborhood that matches their personality and taste. This site would be a big hit in Utah if they ever expanded, and it would have probably saved Justin and I a lot of tears and arguments and stress the first half of this year. If you are anywhere near NYC or thinking of moving there or know of someone who is, I’d definitely check out their website!

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

  • How fun!

    I haven't done any Christmas decorating in a couple of years because I don't have my own place. I'm renting a room. It's kind of a bummer, but maybe next year.

  • You could decorate your room! That's what I did while in college. I had a mini, mini tree…like a desk topper, and window stickers.