After living in France with a host family and then backpacking the world for a year, I was ready for a place of my own. After all, I hadn’t had my own space in two and a half years! So I’ll admit- I got a bit, um… carried away.

I spent way too much money on my first adult apartment. Moving halfway across the country ain’t cheap- and neither is buying all new furniture, even on a budget.

But despite the money I spent, it’s still so nice to come home to a place I love.

Twenty-something Girls Apartment in Denver

I splurged on a few things: namely a $400 liquor cabinet and several very over-priced throw pillows. But besides that most everything was from Ikea and Target. I PROMISE.

And yes, I’ll admit my map obsession has reached new and ridiculous heights. Moving on…


The Kitchen

I love my kitchen. The backsplash of white subway tile, acacia cabinets, (fake) granite countertops… sigh.

Twenty-something Girls Apartment in Denver

Plus, my kitchen holds so many mementos my travels– a little mincemeat jar I bought in Dublin from an old man who said my Spanish was beautiful, a gorgeous blue and white fruit bowl from French Catalonia, a Spanish olive wood cheese board, white vintage bistro dishes I bought at a Parisian flea market.

Kitchen details in a Denver apartment

The mincemeat jar I bought in Ireland and a beautiful salad bowl I bought in Jordan. Why yes, I do love blue and white together.

I love to cook so my kitchen is fully outfitted with everything a chef might need, from a hand blender to Santoku knives.

I especially love to cook dishes from all different cuisines, so you’re equally likely to find me wielding a wok as you are battering up buckwheat crêpes. I also have lots of random ingredients like Iranian pomegranate molasses and Chinese black bean paste.

Working full-time? Please get yourself a rice cooker and Crock Pot. These two appliances have made weekday cooking so easy. My strategy is to double or triple a Crock Pot recipe on Sunday and then eat the same dish throughout the week.

Two of my favorite kitchen details are admittedly very Francophile: my mostly French cookbook collection and my French cheese prints, which depict some of my favorite cheeses from my time in France.

Kitchen details


My AMAZING bialetti which I use to make moka, or stovetop espresso, and my cute tea kettle.

Toast corner

My toast-making corner with three kinds of bread, French butter and blackberry and geranium jam. Toast is my fave.

I’ve been thinking of sharing a full-kitchen post soon- would you guys interested? I love to cook so I’d love to recommend my favorite products and show off all my wacky ethnic cooking utensils.

Where I bought everything: Crock-pot  // Rice cooker // 6-Cup Stovetop Bialetti // Tea Kettle // Chrome Toaster // Cheese Prints from Etsy


The Living Room

I honestly don’t spend a lot of time in my living room- I don’t really watch TV and the couch is stylish but not comfy.

Twenty-something Girls Apartment in Denver

My roommate is from Cleveland and I’m from Detroit, so we wanted to pay homage to our home cities with maps.

As soon as my map came in the mail all the way from Sweden, from an awesome start-up called Mapiful, my roommate ordered hers right away. The maps are beautiful quality and you can completely customize how zoomed in or zoomed out you are. Plus, you can have any location in the world custom-mapped!


Cleveland and Detroit have never looked so good together, am I right?

Twenty-something Girls Apartment in Denver

So trendy with an Edison bulb lamp- ha.

My most ridiculous home purchase was by far this aforementioned liquor cabinet. But I had to have it because it reminds me of Mad Men and I really want to learn how to mix drinks.

Sadly, so far every cocktail I’ve concocted tastes like dish soap- my bartending skills are still a work in progress.

Twenty-something Girls Apartment in Denver

My favorite little corner of the living room is this chair, backed by a 12-piece NYC map. Perfect for reading except not because the chair is totally uncomfortable. Denver_Girls_Apartment_Tour_3

Twenty-something Girls Apartment in Denver

Where I bought everything: Overstock Coffee Table // Edison Bulb Lamp from Etsy // Ikea TV Unit // Gold Urban Outfitters Side Table // American Furniture Warehouse Couch // Crate and Barrel Bourbon Cabinet // Mapiful Map Prints // New York City Map from Etsy // Cream Ikea Chair



I’m super lucky- my balcony is huge. When the weather’s nice (which it almost always is, because Denver) we open the doors and enjoy the breeze in the living room.

The chair below is my favorite chair ever- on lazy Sundays I often curl up there with a fluffy blanket and my Kindle. It fully reclines so it’s almost like reading in bed.


I also adore this little propane grill I snagged on Amazon for $130. So far we’ve only used it for lamb burgers and jerk chicken, but we’re planning on using it tons this spring and summer.


Where I bought everything: Propane Grill // Zero Gravity Chair


The Bedroom

My bedroom is super minimalist- it definitely needs more color but I am forbidding myself from buying anything else.

Twenty-something Girls Apartment in Denver

My bed itself is the most comfortable bed in the entire world. It has two mattress pads- one super soft one and one heated. The heated one has controls on both sides, so if there are two people in bed they can change their own heat controls. How’s that for creature comforts?

Additionally I really love having a white bed- it feels so cozy and clean and reminds me of a hotel.

Twenty-something Girls Apartment in Denver

I also love these floating shelves, which came with the apartment. They’re decorated very sentimentally with antique perfume bottles (one I bought in Paris, one in Michigan), a jewelry box I bought at a Denver thrift shop, a silver mirror and brush I inherited from my great-grandmother and a small wooden box my best friend bought me in China.

Oh and that adorable rosewood whale you might be eyeing? I impulsively bought that on Etsy for $45 during the height of my online shopping addiction.


Also sentimental- my eight-piece map of Paris. Love.


I’m also lucky to have a walk-in closet with shelves. Normally it’s more organized, I swear.

Where I bought everything: Ikea Leirvik Bedframe // Pottery Barn Duvet Cover // Ikea dresser // Ikea nightstand // Heated mattress pad // mattress pad // Paris Map // Yellow honeycomb pillow // Grey honeycomb pillows


The bathroom

Frankly there’s not too much to say here- but my bathroom is spacious and has a few cute details.

Twenty-something Girls Apartment in Denver

A monogrammed mug with makeup brushes- God I am so basic…


And a tray with perfume and jewelry.

So how much do you pay in rent?

I actually only pay $1750, which feels cheap after four years in Chicago. My roommate and I split it down the middle- she gets the bigger bedroom and I get the parking space. In addition to the apartment we also have a huge ski locker and laundry down the hall.

How did you decorate your first adult apartment? Did you go slightly overboard like me or did you hold back and save your money for more important things?

Mapiful provided me the Detroit map for review but everything else was purchased by me or my roommate. All opinions are my own.

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Ashley is a travel and lifestyle blogger who lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Since college she has au paired in Paris, backpacked the world solo, and lived in Uganda. Her work has been featured by Buzzfeed, Forbes, TripAdvisor, and Glamour Magazine.