Moving Diaries: What One Couple Spent When Upgrading to a "Grown-Up" Apartment in L.A.

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Welcome to Moving Diaries, where we ask people what they needed to buy or get rid of in a move, how much they spent, and what they learned. Want to be featured? Submit photos of your place and an overview of your move to, subject line "Moving Diaries." Today:

Who: Drew & Leonora, married couple (plus Pumpkin, the cat)
Moving from: A small one-bedroom (plus den), one-bath in Silver Lake (Los Angeles), California
Moving to: A three-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment a few miles away, also in Silver Lake, California.


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Living Room

West Elm Crosby Sectional purchased on Craigslist, $800

Moving to a bigger place meant finally getting some grown-up furniture. The one piece we were prepared to invest in was a new couch, and after visiting the West Elm store, we had decided on the Crosby sectional, which starts at about $2,000 (ouch). On a whim, we searched Craigslist, and as luck would have it, someone was selling the exact version we wanted, in practically new condition. She had advertised it at $900 but knocked it down to $800 because she "wanted us to have it." Craigslist is weird but beautiful.

Samsung 65" TV, bought on sale for about $600

We also wanted a real TV. We had a very small one in our last place and when we went to Best Buy to browse, they happened to be having a sale, so we ended up getting a TV that's probably larger than what we would have planned on. It ended up working out perfectly in the space and was a great deal, but we do think the sound is pretty sub-par. Maybe next year, we'll buy one of those cool Sonos soundbars.


Ikea Kallax Shelf Unit ( 2 ), $130


Another item we were thinking about investing in was a vintage credenza to hold the TV. After going to a few vintage stores, we weren't finding much under $800, so we decided to go the budget route and create a "credenza" out of Ikea Kallax units. It was a good move: They ended up working out much better because they fill up the room and offer storage space for records.


Vintage Rug, $200

We hit the flea markets to try to find vintage rugs, and wow are they expensive. We started talking to a rug dealer and when we explained our small budget, he pointed us to a rumpled up rug (from the 1920s, or so he said), and offered it for $200. (Maybe we were in luck because it was close to the end of the day?) It was very dirty and required a lot of vacuuming, but we're actually very happy with it.


Dining Room

West Elm Modern Dining Table, $473 ( after extra discount )

We didn't have a dining room in our old place, so we were really shocked to find out how much dining room sets cost. This West Elm dining table was a steal. We already purchased it on sale. After the assembly, we noticed that the workers had left a slight nick on the surface. I called West Elm and they offered me a further 10 percent reduction. We do have a regret, though, in not getting the larger, adjustable version. This one doesn't really allow for big dinner parties or holiday hosting.



Ikea Norraryd Dining Chairs ( 6 ), $390

These are only $65 a piece, but they add up if you want a full set! Overall, they look great in the dining room, however if you look up close you'll see flaws in them. But that's what you get with Ikea sometimes. Maybe in a few years we'll splurge on a nice, vintage set.


Professional Framing for LACMA Poster, $80

One challenge of moving into a bigger place is having to fill up the extra wall space. We decided to go ahead and get a spare print professionally framed for the dining room.


Norraker Bar Table, $149


This (along with the stools) was one of our more regrettable purchases when moving. We seemed to think it was absolutely essential to have a table in the kitchen nook, and so we hastily decided on this Ikea one. Guess what: nobody ever sits there. We would have been better off using a spare table and covering it with a cute tablecloth.



Ikea Bosse Stools ( 2 ), $100

Oh, and also we realized the stools we bought didn't match...but were too tired to return them.



Midcentury Lithograph from Etsy, $350

We didn't buy anything new in the way of bedroom furniture, although we are still wishing we had some extra budget for matching bedside tables (one day). We did decide to finally buy a piece of art we had been eyeing on Etsy for some time.

Ferm Living Rug, $135

We hung this rug on the wall in an attempt to try to muffle out some of the sound from our upstairs neighbor's TV. Didn't really work. Looks cute, though.

Crate & Barrel Jasper Rug ( discontinued ), about $250

Here's another regrettable purchase: This rug was on super sale during a random visit to Crate & Barrel and we were like, "wow what a deal," but now realize it's really way too small to act as a main rug in a bedroom. (Plus the cat has already destroyed it.)


Guest Room/Dressing Room

Vintage Lucite Mirror from Etsy ( free! )

I ordered this mirror for my vanity and it arrived damaged but still functional (there was a crack at the base). The Etsy seller got her insurance to cover the damage, which meant she was able to fully refund my purchase.

Vintage French Botanical Prints from Etsy, $61

One mistake I've always made on Etsy is to never really check measurements. I thought these would be full-size prints that would really transform the guest room. Turns out they're tiny, but still look great as accents.

Aerobed Blow-Up Mattress, $130

One thing we had to decide about the guest room was whether or not to buy some type of daybed/fold-out couch/bed. By the time we got around to it, we had run through a lot of our budget, so we opted for a blow-up mattress instead (which, for some reason, always transfixes the cat). It's on the roadmap to eventually put a nice bed in there.

Yamazaki Home Jewelry Rack, about $25

The only other thing needed in the guest room/dressing room was more jewelry storage. I have a small vanity, so there's not a lot of tabletop room. This minimalist rack holds basically everything.

Total Cost



Dining seating is really important. If you think you might ever host family for the holidays, have a large table option. Don't spend on seating that won't get used.

Don't be afraid to speak up if something you've ordered isn't right. You might get a discount!

Before buying retail, search Craigslist to see if you can find a used option.

We didn't buy too many "serious" pieces, but the stuff we did buy added up...a lot. Knowing what we know now, we would have spread out the decorative purchases over the course of six months or so.



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