Banner design by Helena, portrait by Eva


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Korea- Decorating on a Budget

When you're an expatriate for a short while, it's wasteful to splurge on furniture and art. Your ticket home is like your ticket to heaven. You can't bring your stuff with you.

That doesn't mean you can't personalize your place for cheap. My apartment is looking cute, for about 60,000 W (60 USD). Here's how:

Plant - 2.70$, HOME PLUS
Striped rug- 2$, dollar store at South Gate

Computer desk- approx. 30$, HOME PLUS

Candle- 1.30$, HOME PLUS. The holder was a gift.
Frames- 4$ for two, HOME PLUS

Dresser: 0$ (found it on the side of the road.) Same with my bookcase. It's spring!

Framed poster: 20$, HOME PLUS
Coat hanger hook: $1, at any stationary store

Grand Total: 61$ USD


Josh said...

I want to see that room up close!
This is a perfectly timed post because I've been staying up, scouring craigslist for deals. This is the season where university students anll abandon their cool pads and move back home with the parents, and they're all hungry to sell their 2 year old Ikea furniture for 20$ a piece. Today I'm picking up a coffee table for 60$ (1 year old, 140$ at Ikea) and a table and chairs for 100$(2 years old, 4 chairs sell at ikea for 23$ each, table sells for 290$).

I hope to have your feet on that cofee table soon.

MUD said...

Think of all the fun you will have "re-gifting" all these things to your friends there. They will lose you but have something to remind them of the time you were there. When I was in Vietnam I got tired of the same old stuff in the tent I lived in and made a trip to the local village to get some things to personalize the area. I went on R&R to meet my wife in Hawaii and while I was gone they moved. All the little things I had were either left there or taken by other members of the unit. It was kind of fun to see something of mine being used by other people in their areas. I don't have my TV near the bed. It is for two things, sleeping and I don't remember what the other was. OK, I sleep on the couch all evening in front of the TV. Great Post. MUD

John from Daejeon said...

Hi Eva,

Gald to see you posting again. I was a little worried.

I really lucked out with my pad. It was pretty well furnished already and not a barren wasteland. I did spend $330 to get a new bike to traverse the city and see the sites and also a larger refrigerater/freezer where I can actually store my purchases from Costco (waffles and half gallons of ice cream).

Anonymous said...

i love the dresser, i wonder if its an antique at all?

Eva Karrin McKinnon said...

No, the dresser is pretty new- not an antique. When scouring streets for furniture, in Korea, the way to know if something is up for grabs is by the big square sticker. Somebody paid 4,000 Won to put my tall bookcase out for garbage, not knowing I'd be lugging it home.

I love the dresser, too. I had just dragged it home in that shot. Now it has stuff on and in it.

Josh- I'm excited for you about your new apartment. Woo hoo!

Mud- That's so cool you lived in a tent in Vietnam! What a story to tell. Why was your wife in Hawaii?
/ For sure- it'll be nice to give some stuff away.

John- MMMM, ice cream and waffles. It's almost summer! Hurray!
PS: I've never been to Costco!

Paul A. Kroll said...

Damn Eva,
It looks like you have a pretty sweet pad of your own. Mine came decently stocked with furniture, but I too have turned to dumpster diving. I'll be walking on the street and see a nice dresser, or a nice picture...why let it go to waste? I can give it a good home :)

Jeff Mei said...

NIce apartment,
My wife and I are moving to Suwon soon and want to find a resource to look for apartments. Do you know any good websites?

Eva Karrin McKinnon said...


I'm really really sorry but I don't! I think your best bet is to move here and stay in a motel as you look for a place. I'm sorry I can't be of help. I have had a lot of foreigners contact me, saying it's impossible to find rental info online... maybe on Dave's ESL cafe or something?

Best of luck!!