Interiorssneak peeks

Newlyweds Breathe Color into a Miami Rental

by Garrett Fleming

Dating can be a challenge. Sure, technology keeps us more connected than ever before, but nothing can replace the one-on-one connection that fosters a relationship’s growth. I’m fortunate to have a heck of a guy who lives a few blocks away from me, but others aren’t so lucky. Up until a few months ago, the Tans were separated by thousands of miles. Nat Tan was living in Florida while his partner, and mixed-media artist, Juni, called Singapore home. Three years of Skype dates were starting to wear on the pair, and with their impending nuptials right around the corner, it simply made sense for them to finally live together in the same country.

“Having to date long-distance certainly honed our communication skills, but choosing our first home together over text and Skype was still a huge curveball,” the couple says. Throughout their apartment hunt, Nat would view each rental and then share pictures and floor plans with Juni over text and through video chats. It was Juni, however, who stumbled upon this Miami, FL rental that would eventually become their home. She had a gut reaction to the cheery space’s listing photos and immediately sent Nat out to take a peek. He, too, loved it so much that he cancelled all of his other viewing appointments and rented the place right there on the spot.

With a tight, post-wedding budget, the Tan’s had to be very careful when it came to picking out furniture and decor for their first home. To save money, Juni and Nat relied on a few clever, DIY tricks to get the look they wanted for less. As you’ll see, they’ve done an amazing job making IKEA pieces their own. The two are also self-professed homebodies, so creating a cozy and comfortable space was paramount. That coziness and ease doesn’t only benefit the pair — they cherish their time with friends, so they crafted an adaptable space ready for entertaining. They even made a dining table for dinner parties! Every room has gotten the Tan Family’s personal touch, but according to the couple, there is still a thing or two they would change if they weren’t renting. There is so much joy in the newlyweds’ home, I personally wouldn’t tweak a thing. And to think it’s only their first shot at decorating together. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Juni Tan

Newlyweds Breathe Color into a Miami Rental, Design*Sponge
The entire home is anchored by this brilliant Rugs USA piece. The couple bought it before they even had an apartment picked out. It was a bit of a gamble, but has since served as the motivation for incorporating brilliant colors into their home. The accompanying coffee table's "simple and elegant design" is what Juni and Nat like most about it. It's the first of many DIY moments you'll notice throughout the rental.
Newlyweds Breathe Color into a Miami Rental, Design*Sponge
Juni and Nat say the coffee table's two globes "remind us of the places we’ve been and the places we hope to explore together." They are from Flying Tiger and Corey Harris.
Newlyweds Breathe Color into a Miami Rental, Design*Sponge
Newleyweds Juni, Nat, and Mochi the cat sit on their chesterfield sofa from Anthropologie – a generous gift from Juni's mom.
Newlyweds Breathe Color into a Miami Rental, Design*Sponge
The couple utilizes this shelving unit to separate the dining and living areas. "The bookshelves hold many of the design and art books that Juni turns to for inspiration, as well as [the couple's] collection of cookbooks and children’s books." Above the sofa is the bulk of their art collection. The two pieces at the very center are by Mint & Ordinary's Janne Liew. Her calligraphy work depicts the couple's wedding vows. Juni and Nat are foodies, so these quirky pillows from IKEA and Gracesmiths were a must.
Newlyweds Breathe Color into a Miami Rental, Design*Sponge
"We had a lot of fun with our friends who helped build the table with us, and we’re sure we’ll cherish the table for many years to come," the newlyweds say. The lemon chairs are from Overstock, and Juni can often be found hunkered down in one, getting work done.
Newlyweds Breathe Color into a Miami Rental, Design*Sponge
I adore how colorful the couple's handwritten note is.
Newlyweds Breathe Color into a Miami Rental, Design*Sponge
Mochi loves napping here on the sofa's arms.
Newlyweds Breathe Color into a Miami Rental, Design*Sponge
Almost the entire apartment is a pliable, clean slate. The exception? This tan kitchen. The color and lack of natural light proved to be the most challenging aspect of the rental. Some washi tape and bold accessories, however, make it an eyesore no more.
Newlyweds Breathe Color into a Miami Rental, Design*Sponge
These soda bottles were used as bud vases at the couple's wedding.
Newlyweds Breathe Color into a Miami Rental, Design*Sponge
Anthropologie dishes add further color to the tan kitchen. Nat says, "Juni has been slowly growing a collection of colorful, mismatched dinnerware over the last five years. We enjoy using these beautiful dishes as we share meals together."
Newlyweds Breathe Color into a Miami Rental, Design*Sponge
It's not her usual taste, but Juni fell in love with the industrial lamp and how it contrasts with the artwork she painted for the bedroom. It was handmade by a local business in her home country of Singapore.
Newlyweds Breathe Color into a Miami Rental, Design*Sponge
The bunting above the couple's IKEA bed was used at their wedding, but fits in perfectly with the bedroom's color scheme.
Newlyweds Breathe Color into a Miami Rental, Design*Sponge
The matching IKEA side tables add a pop of color to the otherwise simple bedroom. The room was purposely "left quite plain and uncluttered to create a comfy retreat at the end of the day." Nat's sister gave the bunny-loving duo this Urban Outfitters ring holder. It keeps their wedding bands safe each night while they sleep.
Newlyweds Breathe Color into a Miami Rental, Design*Sponge
The bedroom's IKEA Tarva dresser, originally brown, got a DIY overhaul when the couple doused it in Rust-Oleum "Sun Yellow" and added Anthropologie hardware to each drawer. More artwork by Mint & Ordinary and Juni deck the walls.
Newlyweds Breathe Color into a Miami Rental, Design*Sponge
The one-bedroom apartment's floor plan.

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  • Congrats on your new marriage and your new apartment!You both did an amazing job decorating your apartment. I especially love the use of bright and inviting colors everywhere.

  • Are those washi tape “frames” around the artwork above the couch? I was just revisiting this idea in the D*S archives! I’m thinking about doing something similar in my new rental apartment.

  • That much bright color is not typically my style, but the photos of your rental just made me so happy! I love all the bright, colorful and interesting touches, and those assorted drawer knobs are too great!

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