There's a good chance you've seen Annika Hinds' bright, plant-filled Portland apartment on TikTok. The 22-year-old has garnered nearly 1 million followers and more than 11 million likes on the platform for her thrifty décor hacks, DIY projects and extensive plant collection.
"I think people on TikTok are really drawn to my hammock and my plants as well as just my kind of thrifty way of doing décor," Hinds tells CNBC Make It.
Hinds is a full-time student in addition to TikTok creator, and she works for a small business in the Southeast neighborhood of Portland, Oregon. She lives with her boyfriend in the 700-square-foot one-bedroom apartment, and together they evenly split the $1,400 monthly rent.
"All of my DIY projects and my decoration videos are on my TikTok," Hinds says. "It's like a little documentation of my growth here in this place."
The 'incredibly hard' apartment search
When searching for an apartment in Portland, Hinds wanted to stay within a rental budget of $700 a month. She pays for school out-of-pocket with financial aid and scholarships but had savings from working throughout high school.
"It is incredibly hard to find a place with good specifications if you don't have previous renter experience or if you don't have a good credit score," Hinds says.
Hinds and her boyfriend, who works fulltime at a grocery store, had applied to three apartments on their own to no avail. "We were declined because of the credit score of my partner," she says. It wasn't until her grandma cosigned with her on the lease that they were able to get approved for their current place.
"I'm so thankful for my grandma who was able to cosign with me on this place, given that it was so difficult, the process of finding an apartment," Hinds says.
Thrifting and TikTok
Most of Hinds' décor is either upcycled from thrift stores or freebies that she found on the side of the street. The most she's ever spent on her apartment is a $200 couch from Craigslist.
"Being surrounded by art in this city, it's really easy to kind of learn and adapt and get lots of inspiration ideas," Hinds says.
For example, once she was shopping and came across a store that was going out of business. "They had a dressing room with a mirror in it, and I asked if they were getting rid of the mirror, and they just gave it to me because they were getting rid of it anyway," she says. "And now I have a huge floor-length mirror for free."
Hinds found a $10 hammock at a thrift store and hung it in a corner of her apartment where she used to have a table. "It's like the best part of my place," she says. "I use it every day." Another popular thrift store flip? A $10 mirror that she sanded and attached gardening hoops to create a flower design.
The internet is also a great source of inspiration for projects: Hinds recently added tile to a tabletop, which is a trend that's "going viral on the internet" right now, she says.
Crafting can get pricey, but Hinds has a few tricks to keep costs low. "I try and be scrappy," she says.
Hinds likes to paint murals on the wall, for example, "to create a little bit of life in places of my apartment," she says. So, she buys sample size paint cans from hardware stores because they're cheaper than full size ones.
Hinds says that her "plentiful, fun and colorful" decorating style boosts her mood, which is important, given how much time she spent at home during the pandemic.
"I'm a believer that your space and what you surround yourself with really has an impact on your mental health," she says. "So, the goal of my space is to bring a little bit of happiness into my life."
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