Concrete Living

Jake and I got to head to NYC this past weekend to visit with my brother and sister-in-law and my precious little niece as well!  She’s amazing, of course!  They have a fantastic apartment that gets so much sun and natural light and really has a ton of space to work with.  I mentioned a bit about their living space in this post, but this time around I took in a few more notes about NYC apartment living.

The building they are in is constructed of concrete which is great because you cannot hear your neighbors basically at all.  I’ve lived in buildings around Boston (namely one condo my husband owned) where this would have been HUGE for us in terms of adding to the comfort of our every day lives.  Noisy neighbors are really the pits.  With this type of construction, however, comes a few challenges.

1. Hanging pictures and things.  Without breaking out the impact gun and concrete screws, I can basically only think of a few solutions.

Command Strips

I used these in our bedroom when I hung up our art wall like I talked about here.  They are really affordable, come in different sizes for different weights and you can get your art up really fast and simply with practically no tools needed.

  • Install a picture rail

Picture RailWith a little work, the right tool and correct masonry/concrete screws, you could install picture rail molding along the top of the wall and hang multiple pictures and art from there.  This looks pretty neat and definitely creative with the right types of hooks and wire used.

2.  Tall furniture.  Specifically, I’m speaking about media furniture.  My brother’s place specifically has a large wall which would be great to install a media center with storage and bookcases and the works.  Similar to this:

Media-PBThe problem I see is that at some point, some of that furniture should be anchored to the wall (especially with little hands pulling at things) and you’re back to the same problem you had with trying to hang pictures.  3M strips aren’t going to cut it with this furniture though!  Also, this one is from Pottery Barn for nearly $3,000.  I’m all for investing in pieces to make things functional and comfortable, but that’s outrageous.  If you were willing to go for it and anchor some pieces, however, Her Tool Belt created plans for a very similar system that only cost her $300.

Media-TraditionalThat’s pretty stinking amazing, isn’t it???  For $300???  Seriously awesome work!

Without doing all of that and building something that attaches to the wall, I think a longer media station that has some contained and closed storage for toys and games is a great solution. Maybe get the right tools to put up some floating shelves or bracketed shelves, but I some art would also look great.

MediaWall-ShelvesThat solution there is lacking some styling to assist in the vision, but that’s sort of what I’m talking about.  The Besta line at IKEA has some really great solutions that are incredibly cost effective and really durable.  I’ve had a piece in my office for a couple of years now and I love how easy to clean and sturdy it is.  I created a little layout that might work in my brothers apartment and would give them a ton of either cabinet or drawers (you can customize it) for toy storage.


Like I said, it’s affordable since that whole unit I laid out as shown is only $335.  The shiny lacquer door options also gives them a bit of a contemporary look, which is a little bit more their style.  I also created one with added height extensions to the shelving giving them even more storage or display space.  This brings the price up to $600.


Here’s some other great ideas that could work in a rental.


Media-3Do you have any tips to share on living in a concrete jungle?  What are your thoughts on investing in furniture or pieces while you’re renting?  I guess it depends on how long you’ll be there too and what your goals are.

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