Hi, Annie. I’m sure you have suggestions for amazing things that can be done in an urban rental apartment without a ginormous budget. Right?
I moved in almost a year ago, and while I like to think that I have good taste, I haven’t really been able to put together a cohesive design/feeling for the place. In some ways I’m not sure where to start.
My apartment is quite spacious and has wonderful light…It’s also got lots of cream colored walls that are like blank canvases just waiting for something more interesting.
I like things that are unique, and possibly somewhat unexpected (a la my zebra ottoman, which I adore)…
Mostly, I want my home to be inviting, and having a feeling of warmth, elegance, and eclectic interest.
Thanks! – A.V.
Have no fear; “I don’t know where to start” is my middle name! (Makes monogramming difficult, though. Ba-dum-bum.)
Please start by moving that freestanding bookcase and CD tower to another room (put contents of both on the built-in shelves). I’ll wait.
Thank you. Now I’m going to cut to the chase. Considering that this IS a rental apartment, how likely is it that you’d ACTUALLY paint? It would have to be the WHOLE living space; I don’t want to chop it up with accent walls.
That’s what I thought. :)
So in a radical departure for bossy color, I’m going to recommend a solution that does NOT (gasp!) revolve around a new paint color. Instead, let’s introduce color through art and accessories, and bring in more black to tie in with your beloved zebra ottoman.
1. Hang drapes at the window.
I realize you have an A/C unit and a radiator to contend with, but we’re going to distract you from those horrible things.
I suggest a black drapery rod and solid blue – aqua, turquoise, light peacock, a blue in that neighborhood – ring-top drapes. They could be velvet. (Don’t install tie-backs as in the Pottery Barn picture above; let them hang straight.)
2. Create an office area in front of the window…
…by positioning a long, skinny table/desk facing the living space. Search “trestle table” – those will be skinny enough for you. When you’re seated, your back should be to the window.
Please look through Horchow for decorative chairs like these; no office-y swivel chairs, please.
(Say THAT 5 times fast.) These black spindle floor lamps from Lamps Plus would be lovely. Please note that we’re bringing in the black. I might suggest replacing those shades with larger ones.
4. Create an art wall over the sofa.
This is NOT DIFFICULT! It’s all about the framing. If you haven’t been collecting vintage frames for years, don’t worry.
Just go to Ikea and buy a bunch of frames, 5 x 7″ and larger. Since your end tables are brown, I’m going to go out on a limb and say buy black AND BROWN wood frames. (Bold!)
Next, think. Do you have anything meaningful that you’d like to frame? A postcard? A portion of a letter someone sent you? Not family and friend snapshots. And use mattes to give tiny pieces more presence.
…and this archival print from Imagine Studio…
…and this pigment print from 20 x 200.
Notice how each of these pieces has black or blue in them? That is NO ACCIDENT!
5. Replace your media armoire with a long, LOW media stand, cabinet, or chest.
You can move the current one – it’s kind of interesting looking, isn’t it? – into your bizarrely large front hall area.
Bonus suggestion: Don’t forget the pillows! Through Etsy (since you’ll already be on the site shopping for art), how about 2 black and white pillows on the sofa,
plus one big fat solid blue pillow on the sofa and another one on the chair.
Good luck, A.V., and keep us posted!