Name: Michael Berger
Location: Hamilton — Ontario, Canada
Size: 1,100 square feet
Years Lived In: 2 months, renting
When it comes to making the most of a new space with a small budget, Michael is a master. He completely transformed a dingy old rental apartment into an ’80s-inspired boho glam space for very little money! How was he able to pull off such a stylish feat? Patience, creative thinking, and killer thrift shopping skills. “Know what your key words are for what you’re looking for online. And you need to dedicate a lot of time to it! I am looking in shops or online daily to find what I like…it’s a full time job!”
When it comes to rentals, sometimes there are limits on what can be done to the physical space. Luckily, Michael has a flexible landlord that allowed him to knock down a wall in the living room to create a larger communal space. This is Michael’s favorite room in the apartment because of how he was able to transform it with DIY determination.
After serious hunting around for the “right” furniture, he’s happy with how it all came together decor-wise; there’s a lovely layering of textures, color and design influences. Michael’s motto: “Don’t buy things out of necessity or desperation. Buy what you like, and if you can afford it, it’s much better to spend a little extra on a piece you really love than to settle because something is less expensive. More money always comes, but you might never see that piece you once saw and loved but didn’t buy ever again!”
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: A mash-up of Mid-Century, Boho and ’80s Glam.
Inspiration: Inspired by accounts I follow through Instagram mainly, I gravitate towards anything with rattan, brass, pink and rich greens and blues. I love a clean space with lots of layers and room for transitioning styles as I find new pieces and inspiration.
Favorite Element: While I’ve hand selected everything, I’d have to say my favourite element is the fireplace with the rattan disc chairs and my DIY textile art! I almost didn’t get the chairs, as it was a race for who could get there first, and I am so glad I did! I snapped up the electric fireplace for $20 and painted it navy for some contrast in the room. I am very happy with the results!
Biggest Challenge: I suppose the biggest challenge was the month of March before I moved in, driving back and forth almost everyday between Toronto and Hamilton to come here and paint EVERYTHING! We also had to knock out the wall in the living room to open it up to a usable size, and replaced all the light fixtures.
What Friends Say: They’re absolutely floored. It’s come a long way and I am very happy with the neighborhood and find my neighbours to be very friendly…when they see the space they can’t believe it!
Biggest Embarrassment: Not that I am embarrassed, but the only light I didn’t replace is in the kitchen, which is still a hideous track light…but it’s bright and useful for the space.
Proudest DIY: Definitely the art piece above the fireplace in the living room!
Biggest Indulgence: The sofa. It was one of the only new pieces of furniture I bought for the space.
Best Advice: Know what you want and be ready to make decisions in order for your space to come together more quickly; you’ll feel more accomplished and be happier in your space.
Dream Sources: Instagram, first and foremost, followed by occasional visits to Pinterest.
Save for the sofa and a few other pieces, most everything in his apartment is vintage and/or used. But some are used pieces from stores, so below you’ll find links to the new items.
Mirror – Vintage
Rug – Simons
Rug – HomeSense
Coffee Table – Vintage
Rattan Chairs – Vintage
Chair Pillows – HomeSense
Fireplace – Vintage – Painted w/General Finishes Milk Paint Coastal Blue
Dresser – Vintage Gibbard
Sofa – Elsa Sofa GFurn
Curtains – IKEA
Dining Set – Vintage
Vase – HomeSense
Acrylic Tray – PC Loblaws
Candlesticks – EQ3
Rattan Light Fixture – IKEA
Bar Shelf – Vittsjo IKEA Hack
Pink Wine Glasses – Anthropologie
Record Stand – Vintage
Record Player – Crosley from Urban Outfitters