Friday, February 25, 2011

7 tips for decorating walls without paint

While spicing up apartment walls with paint is a great way to add color, many young apartment residents are renting - myself included - and aren't allowed to apply Dutch Boy to the walls. Don't fear! There are other ways of snazzing up otherwise drab surfaces. Here's my top 7:

1. Try sticking up a couple of interesting mirrors on the wall. They add visual interest as well as reflect the interior of the room, making the space appear larger.

2. Create a photo wall. Print out some of your favorite photos and place them in different sized (yet complementary) frames. Then attach the frames to the wall, varying spacing and orientation. Instead of photos, you could also frame dried flowers, posters, or patterned paper or fabric.

3. Attach a piece of fabric or a curtain to the wall. This option allows you to add fun patterns to your apartment and can be easily switched out with other pieces of fabric or curtains.

4. Get natural. Adding varying heights and colors of plants and flowers to your apartment will give it a more nature-like feel and add instant color. Also, play up your windows. Arrange your furniture so your natural light source is the focal point. With plenty of sunlight and foliage, you'll hardly notice a couple of bare walls.

5. Put up stick-on wall art. You can find various shapes and patterns of stick-ons that let you personalize a wall while you're living there - and let you remove it hassle-free when you move.

6. Buy a screen. Screens come in a variety of colors and patterns and can add interest to any room. They're functional too. If you live in a studio apartment, they can be used section off a private area for your bed.
7. Add some interesting shelves. No one ever said you can't hammer some nails into the wall. Pick up funky shelving that will add appeal to your walls and will allow you to store items too.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Paint: Finding the perfect color for your small space

When you have a small space, paint color choice is key. Pick 1 or 2 colors to play around with: any more and your studio apartment will be overwhelmed. Additional colors can come through via fabulous accent pieces instead, such as pillows and artwork.

If you want the space to feel larger, opt for lighter paint shades; the hues will reflect natural light, making your apartment appear bright and airy. Darker colors enhance the feeling of coziness, but if they are if overused, they will also make the room seem much smaller than it actually is.

My room growing up had a light, kelly green accent wall behind my bed. It was attention-catching and played up the black and white photos I had on it. I loved that wall. Accent walls are great for defining a focal point in the room. Use either one of your main colors or a different shade of one of them to paint that special wall. Having an accent wall in a dark color, with the other walls a lighter color, can help you get that perfect spacious yet cozy feel.

Don't forget about your ceilings. If you have lofted ceilings like mine will have, your apartment will automatically have a more open feel. But don’t bum out if you have low ceilings. A light shade of paint with a hint of metallic will help heighten the apartment whereas a darker ceiling shade will compact the space.

Before you start dolloping paint on the wall, visit a paint store and ask for color chips. Take them back to your apartment and make sure to evaluate the color during the daytime and evening. If it looks great during both times of day, paint away!

For inspiration, take a look at HGTV’s studio apartment slideshow!

Image courtesy of HGTV

Friday, February 11, 2011

Let me introduce myself . . .

My name is Laura, and you could say I'm in an awkward interior design stage. A stage called college. I went from my bright and sunny, green-accent-walled bedroom at home to a dark, bunker-like dorm room that had a view of - wait for it - a cement wall. An egress window with a grate over it, folks. Lovely.

Now in my junior year, I'm out of the dorms (thank God) and into an apartment - ish. It's fully furnished, and while it's nice, it also has a cold, industrial feel: hotel meets apartment. Next year, I've committed myself to having a real apartment. My own furniture, my own style.

Now while I plan on still having a poster or two (I love my black-and-white European photo posters), gone will be all the command strip hooks that hold up nearly everything on my walls. Because I'll finally be in a place that actually allows an old fashioned hammer and nail. A big step forward I know. Another line of growth on the door jam.

I'm a 21-year-old with specific vision interior design vision in mind but on a college student's budget. I'd like to say that my apartment design will be, in fashion terms, that area between business formal and graphic tees and sneakers combo: i.e. hip, yet sophisticated. I believe I can create a chic and fabulous apartment no matter my lack of funds. I'm ready for this journey. It won't begin for a few months yet. But I'm looking forward to planning out my apartment ahead of time. I hope you'll join me. Get ready for fun DIY projects, awesome decor accents, and some occasionally witty lines by yours truly.