I Can’t Stop Watching Apartment Tours on YouTube

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Graphic by yours truly. Screenshot from my YouTube homepage.

I spend all my spare time planning my move out of my parents’ house and back to New York City: I scroll on Facebook Marketplace for furniture, StreetEasy for apartments, and Instagram for inspiration. I’ve been planning this move for months now. My boyfriend and I decided that it made sense to live together; we can save money and finally reunite after almost a year apart. Since making that decision, I’ve become obsessed with the idea of “our apartment” — finding a place and decorating it. So it only makes sense that I’ve become addicted to watching apartment tour videos, too.

Looking into a stranger’s apartment is an intimate experience. They’re welcoming you into their home, which is something typically reserved for family and friends. You learn what their favorite trinkets are, the history of their home, and what brings the inhabitant(s) comfort or joy. Someone’s space offers a lot of insight into who they are as a person, including what they deeply value. Does it feel lived in (e.g. homey), or does it serve a certain purpose — whether that’s an aesthetic or function?

On YouTube, at least, most influencers’ apartments tend to fulfill a certain “aesthetic.” That’s their purpose. You’ll find a collage wall of pictures, postcards, and art prints. (You can buy a set of “aesthetic” collage kits on Etsy l o l.) They’ll paint their rental walls dreamy colors. Like, they need to take pictures somewhere (!), and during a pandemic, their home doubles as an office too!

I’ve noticed lesser-known YouTubers’ homes tend to have more character and be more functional. Still, no matter the YouTuber, there’s something fulfilling about viewing an apartment someone put together over days or months or years. Every detail is thought out. During a tumultuous period, these videos offered me a way into someone’s home — something we rarely get to do anymore. I haven’t met many new people, and those I have, I can only get a glimpse of their zoom background. I miss days of stumbling into some friend of a friend’s party and asking about a random tchotchke.

More than that, I miss finding pride in my home and looking forward to the future. Seeing independent adults’ sanctuaries offers me a glimmer of hope that I’ll get there soon, too. Because after I find a place, move in, and decorate it, I don’t know how else I’m going to fill my time. Maybe, I’ll stop watching these videos because I’ll be too busy living my life with my love. Here’s to hoping.

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