Home Tours

This Chicago Apartment Is Brimming With Gorgeous Greenery and Thrifted Finds

written by LAUREN BLUE

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becky tsivin home tour"
becky tsivin home tour
Source: @beckytsivin
Source: @beckytsivin

Becky Tsivin’s philosophy on home decorating is simple: Take your time. It’s that exact mantra that led to her warm, charming space brimming with vintage and secondhand finds. Every piece in her home is intentionally selected and has a story behind it, making her sun-drenched Chicago apartment genuinely one-of-a-kind. Her stunning finds are all nestled in a plant collection that puts greenhouses to shame, reminding us all that, yes, it’s totally possible to have an abundance of real plants in a small space. The charm doesn’t stop at her gorgeous greenery, however—the space is dotted with tons of trinkets and tchotchkes that add so much personality to the apartment. Keep reading for the full tour of Becky’s cozy, organic apartment and her advice for decorating a home you will love for years to come.

Becky Tsivin’s Chicago Apartment Tour

The details:

Name: Becky Tsivin
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Square Footage: 1,000 square feet
Rent/Own: Rent

Source: @beckytsivin

How long have you lived in this apartment, and what initially drew you to the unit?

We’ve lived here since June 2021! What originally drew me to the unit was all of the windows and abundant natural light—literally, the entire front half of our apartment is windows, which is amazing. It was also in an ideal location for us in the neighborhood we already lived in!

You’ve mentioned on social media that you like to take your time collecting pieces you love. How long did it take before your apartment really started to feel like home?

Yes! I’m all for taking time to decorate your apartment! I think on social media, we’re fed these beautiful images and videos of apartments and homes, and it’s so easy to fall into the rabbit hole of wanting that and wanting it quickly. But we don’t actually see how long it took that person to build their personal style and collection—because it could’ve taken years! I’d honestly say my apartment started to feel like a true “home” this past spring when we decided to paint and redecorate a bit! Painting the walls really took it over the edge for me and made the space feel more my style, cohesive, and harmonious!

Source: @beckytsivin

How would you describe your personal style, and how has it evolved over time?

I’d describe my personal style as earthy, vintage, and organic. I love greens, browns, and rusty reds (basically all earth tones)! I’d say my style was always leaning in this direction. Even as a teenager, I asked my parents if we could paint my room green, and it was such a lovely color that I still enjoy it today. It’s definitely evolved over time in the sense that I like to collect more trinkets and art, but ever since I lived on my own and had my first apartment, everything reflected back to this style, which is cool to look back on. I think it’s just gotten more sophisticated and refined over time as I’ve gathered more interior inspiration and gotten older.

Source: @beckytsivin
LEVTEX HOME
Yellow Decorative Pillow
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The Sill
Large Rubber Tree

3 colors available

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Urban Outfitters
Wooj Design Wavy Lamp

6 colors available

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Etsy | LilyShaaHandmade
Cowgirl Boot Wall Art
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The Sill
Dracaena Fragrans ‘Sol’

2 colors available

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Terrain
Matte Black Plant Stand
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We love the warm, earthy tones used throughout your space. How did you decide on this color palette?

Thank you so much! I think I’ve always been drawn to this color palette for some reason. I used to do photography in my teens and early 20s, and I’d always take photos of organic objects like plants and reflections! So it kind of just felt natural for that style to flow back into my home. It’s funny because I never “decided” on a concrete color palette—I just bought and found so many pieces that I loved, and they all shared a color palette because it’s what I’m naturally drawn to.

Source: @beckytsivin
Source: @beckytsivin
Source: @beckytsivin
Source: @beckytsivin

On the topic of colors, your terracotta sofa ties your living room together beautifully. What inspired you to choose a statement piece rather than something more neutral or basic?

I love that sofa so much and feel like it’s the gem of the room! It brings so much color into the space (and is honestly so comfortable I can’t lay on it late at night or I’ll fall asleep). When I was initially looking for a sofa, I was honestly open to any and every option. I just knew that I wanted to buy it secondhand. As soon as I saw the modular shape and color, I knew that it was the one! I thought it would go perfectly with my plants, and then I built the rest of my living room around it. Just a pure gut feeling. I knew since the sofa was more of a statement, I wanted everything else to lean a bit more neutral to complement it.

nuLOOM
Round Side Table
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INTERIOR DEFINE
3-Seat Chaise Sectional

10+ colors available

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Urban Outfitters
Curve Floor Lamp
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Urban Outfitters
Sherpa Storage Stool
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Threshold
Round Decorative Baskets
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Rizzy Home
Striped Throw Pillow Cover
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Tuft & Paw
Boucle Cat Cushion
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Etsy | Arteex
Vintage Horse Painting
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Source: @beckytsivin
“Take time to source things you love, and don’t be afraid to wait.”
Source: @beckytsivin

You have so many unique accessories and knickknacks throughout your home that speak to your personality. What is your approach to styling these items in your home?

Kind of like I mentioned earlier, I LOVE to move things around all the time. When I do my weekly reset on Sunday, I’ll take some trinkets or art and try them out in a new area to see if I like it better. Things are constantly being moved or switched out, and my friends always joke about it when they come over. They’re like, “We have to look around to see what’s new!” My collection of little trinkets and decor items feels so cohesive to my style that most pieces are interchangeable between my various rooms.

Source: @beckytsivin

Your home has such a warm, inviting energy. Do you have any advice for others looking to create a similarly cozy atmosphere?

A few pieces: 1. Lamps and ambient lighting are essential for me, and I think they make any space feel instantly cozier. 2. Collecting items that feel like you! This truly reflects in your space and makes it seem like an extension of you. Take time to source things you love, and don’t be afraid to wait. I think Instagram and TikTok show people the final results of a home decorating journey and not all the steps it took to get there!

Pottery Barn
Round Side Table

2 colors available

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Amazon
Antique Gold Tray
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Anthropologie
Twisty Tapers, Set of 3

8 colors available

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Anthropologie
Grecian Bust Pot
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MoMA Design Store
Night Light
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Anthropologie
Iris Taper Candle Holder
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You have so many fun light fixtures and lamps throughout your apartment, including a donut lamp and several hanging lanterns. How do these fixtures impact the vibe of your apartment, and why do you prefer them over overhead lighting?

Honestly, lighting is so so so important to me. I never turn on the big light unless I have light fixtures I love and that I can alter the brightness/color on. The “normal” big light makes me nauseous, which is why I have a ton of lamps. The cute ceiling light fixtures are a recent addition that I’m so happy with. Whenever someone asks me for home advice, the first thing I answer with is LAMPS! I think they make the ambiance and vibe of a home so much cozier and are truly so fun to style in a space. Plus, they have so much more character than the traditional overhead lighting in an apartment. I think that lamps are my weakness when decorating my home, and I have so many. My partner has tried telling me that the one thing we cannot house anymore of is lamps.

Source: @beckytsivin

So many pieces in your apartment are secondhand. Do you have a favorite thrifted find? If so, what’s the story behind it?

My favorite thrift find has to be my dining room table. It’s a gorgeous cream and green checkered table on a wrought iron base that is SO heavy. When I began to thrift for this apartment, I had so much trouble finding a dining room table and chairs. My mom and I went to the local Goodwill, and I walked straight into the furniture section and saw that table. It was kind of like a “hear me out” moment because it was in pretty rough shape. You could tell that it had been in a diner or restaurant because it was covered in marker, paint, and gum. I took the little purchase sticker off the table and brought my mom over, and she definitely seemed hesitant but was like, “I guess it’s kinda cool?” So I FaceTimed my partner and showed him, and he was like, “Well, you’re the one with the vision for it, so go for it.” LOL.

Everyone doubted me a bit on that one. The best part though was the table was 10 DOLLARS! My mom and I loaded it into her car, brought it home, and spent a few hours cleaning the iron, scraping the gum off, and removing paint, and it looked so beautiful in the end. I was thrilled. It is the piece I get the most questions about and is such a special find. It definitely reminds me to never doubt my gut instincts.

Source: @beckytsivin

We love that the table immediately catches your eye. How did this piece influence your approach to decorating the rest of your dining space?

Once I found that piece, it definitely became the centerpiece of the room, and all of my other decor and furniture was shaped around it. I knew I wanted something to complement the green but still make sense with the rest of my apartment, so I went with velvet Cesca chairs from Edloe Finch, and they are perfect!

Source: @beckytsivin
Society6
Checkerboard Table
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Amazon
Green Velvet Dining Chairs Set of 2

8 colors available

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Anji Mountain
Jute Rug

2 colors available

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The Sill
Large Bird of Paradise

3 colors available

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Pottery Barn Teen
Metal Framed Full Length Mirror
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Amazon
Painted Stoneware Planter
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Source: @beckytsivin
“Sometimes, it takes so long to find what you’re looking for, but the gratification you get once you find a perfect item is unmatched.”
Source: @beckytsivin

What are your best tips for sourcing thrifted items?

Patience, patience, patience! Sometimes, it takes so long to find what you’re looking for, but the gratification you get once you find a perfect item is unmatched. I also tell people to go often. It’s the same thing with Facebook Marketplace. You have to check often and set alerts to make sure you find things that are listed right away. I also think one of the biggest things is seeing the potential in a piece. For example, when I bought that table, it looked rough, but after some cleaning and time, it became a beautiful piece!

Source: @beckytsivin

When you aren’t shopping secondhand, do you have any go-to retailers you turn to for decor and furniture?

Yes! I love UO Home and have quite a few pieces from there! Etsy is also a huge source of inspiration for me, and I’m constantly adding little decor pieces into my cart there (and you can even buy vintage on there!!). I also like Ikea, Tuft + Paw for the cutest cat items, and Hay.

Your apartment gets amazing natural light, and you’ve definitely taken advantage of it with your large plant collection. Do you have any advice for decorating with plants and keeping them alive?

Yes! This was a huge must for me when I was looking to move since my previous apartment got even better light if you could believe it. I’ve had some of these plants for almost 10 years and some are actually passed down to me from family, so they are even older than that. My best advice is to know what type of light you have (i.e., east, west, south, north) and start your plant collection based off of that. I also find it helpful to set timers or alarms to keep me on track with a watering schedule if I need it. I try and tend to them as much as I can—dusting leaves, fertilizing, and making sure everyone is watered. Start small and build your collection as you get more confident in your plant-caring abilities.

West Elm
Mid-Century Media Console
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Ikea
TESAMMANS Pendant Lamp Shade
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Urban Outfitters
Paper Orb Pendant Light
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Threshold with Studio McGee
Still Life Framed Wall Art
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Urban Outfitters
Fruit Basket
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Kettle
Electric Kettle

10+ colors available

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Source: @beckytsivin

Speaking of plants, your desk is nestled between several houseplants and right in front of a window. Do you find infusing nature into your workspace inspires or motivates you?

Yes! I feel so calm when I’m working at my desk because it feels like I’m surrounded by nature and greenery, and the sun is shining on me. It’s such a relaxing space, which is honestly perfect for work mode. I’m someone who loves sunshine and natural light so much, so having my desk in a sunny and green spot is just everything and more!

Source: @beckytsivin
“I feel so calm when I’m working at my desk because it feels like I’m surrounded by nature and greenery, and the sun is shining on me.”
Source: @beckytsivin

You live with two precious cats. How do you incorporate all their pet necessities without detracting from your style?

The lights of my life!! I have some ~aesthetic~ pet items from Tuft + Paw, which my cats absolutely love. The quality is so good, and I love that they design pet items with pets and humans in mind. But I also have a ton of non-aesthetic pet items, like a huge tunnel and toys, which they are obsessed with. I think it’s good to have a mix of both—I wouldn’t want to take away from their enrichment and only have items that I like and that “fit” into my house. Of course, I tried my best to find items that matched my home a bit more. For example, their tunnel is brown, so at least it blends in a bit! But I for sure have some stuff that is “distracting” (if I’m ever taking a photo or video, I usually move it out of the way for a bit, but trust me, it’s there).

Source: @beckytsivin
Urban Outfitters
Wood Desk
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Wayfair
Upholstered Side Chair, Set of 2

3 colors available

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The Sill
Philodendron Pink Princess
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Hearth & Hand with Magnolia
Arch Table Lamp
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Tuft & Paw
Cat Bed
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Rooted
Alocasia ‘Frydek’
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The Sill
Monstera Deliciosa

5 colors available

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Amazon
Tiger Mini Book
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becky tsivin apartment tour
Source: @beckytsivin

Your bedroom has the coziest reading nook right by the window. Do you spend a lot of time relaxing there?

Yes! My cats love looking out the window, so sometimes I’ll sit there and people-watch or birdwatch outside my window with them. It’s such a cozy nook, and I think it really brings a serene vibe into my bedroom, which I love! I want it to feel like a space I can unwind in after a day of work.

Source: @beckytsivin

Are there any DIYs in your apartment? If so, what?

I wish I were more of a DIY-er! I feel like I need more space to be able to do that. There are some art pieces I’ve DIY’ed a bit and a shelf I painted and hung in my bedroom, as well as some lamps that I’ve placed on stands and such, but I’m not sure I’d call those DIYs—maybe just creative styling? The little shelf is probably the closest thing. It was in my parents’ garage, and I took it and painted it the same color as my wall, and now it houses some trinkets. I like how it blends right in.

Pottery Barn Teen
Boucle Swivel Chair

2 colors available

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Pottery Barn
Faux Fur Hide

2 colors available

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Wayfair
Boucle Round Storage Ottoman

3 colors available

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nuLOOM
Tasseled Area Rug
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Amazon
Sheer Curtain Panel

4 colors available

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Wayfair
Arch Wall Mirror

8 colors available

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Urban Outfitters
Glass Table Lamp

6 colors available

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Urban Outfitters
Ceramic Side Table

3 colors available

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Source: @beckytsivin
“I really want my home to inspire people to thrift and buy secondhand.”
Source: @beckytsivin

Is your apartment ever-evolving, or do you feel it has reached a point where you’re done decorating?

Oh gosh, this is a tough question for me. I feel like nothing is ever “perfect” or in its final form because I am such a “mover and groover,” as I like to say. I’m constantly moving pieces around and thrifting new decor or art. However, I’d say that most of my larger furniture (i.e., the couch, desk, and dining table) all feels relatively set in place. It took quite a long time for my apartment to feel more or less complete. I don’t think there will ever be a point where I stop decorating and collecting, but I’ve become more mindful of my purchases, especially at the thrift.

Wayfair
4-Drawer Dresser

4 colors available

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Etsy | MonEpoque
Zig Zag Floor Candleholders
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Pottery Barn
Faux Tulip Bundle

2 colors available

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H&M
Glass Vase

2 colors available

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Anything else we should know about you or your home?

I really want my home to inspire people to thrift and buy secondhand. I think it’s important (and unique) to have a home filled with secondhand and new pieces.