Friday, April 22, 2011

Spring Flowers

Despite it being a cold, rainy day in Des Moines, I have spring on my mind. And what's more more spring-esque than some lovely flowers, eh? Not the nasty obviously-cheap silk ones or, worse yet, the abhorred plastic varieties. Nope, I'm going for flowers done classy - whether they're real or fake. Check out my tips below to incorporate some beautiful blossoms into your apartment this April!

Flowering plants
Might as well start with the real deal. Most flowering plants need to grow outdoors, but a few can thrive within closed walls, including African violets, begonias, kalanchoe, and orchids. Flowers will add life to your apartment and a dash of color too.

Dried flowers
Dried flowers can be a beautiful - and sentimental - way to add some floral touches to your apartment. They set a mood to the room that's old-school romantic, thoughtful, and warm. Below is the rose my boyfriend gave me last year for Valentine's Day in a green, hand-blown glass vase from the historic Jamestown glass making site. The key to getting great color is to hang the flower upside down to dry when you see the first signs of wilting appear and the base of the flower is "squishy." Hanging it up even earlier doesn't hurt. Tip: if you're in need of flowers to dry, stop by your local florist shop; they'll often give you flowers that are close to wilting for free.

Wall decals
Wall decals have gone from kiddie to classy. Decals with artistic designs, like the one below, add character and interest to walls. A little personal touch, if you will. They come in a variety of designs, sizes, and colors. The calla lily decal below is from an Etsy site and is available in several shades. Hint: try out this neat decorating idea - after you've stuck the decal on the wall, position a table with a vase on it directly in front of the decal so the sticker appears to be a flower inside the vase.

Photo credits:, Laura Johnson,

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Trendy Slipcovers

Like I mentioned in one of my previous posts, some of my furniture pieces are coming from my parents' house, including a chair, bed, and couch. In other words, my mom found an excuse to go furniture shopping. It's really a win-win situation, though. She wants new stuff, and I need furniture. Knowing that my couch didn't belong to some sloppy guy who dropped Cheeto crumbs between the cushions on a regular basis is also a plus.

But, well, the couch isn't exactly my style. It's navy blue leather and is what I like to call "cold leather." As in, you sit down and instead of having a warm leather seat or room temperature cloth cushion, your hindquarters are welcomed by an ice-cold, heat-sucking spot. O.k., that's an exaggeration. But really. It's a little brisk on the derrière.

My most likely solution this buns-chilling problem: a slipcover. But, problem: every slipcover I've ever seen is ugly or just boring. Here are some hip slipcovers and ideas:

I'll get to a couple of funky slipcovers, but first I'll address how to dress up a boring cover. After all, they're the most prevalent on the market and the cheapest. And, unless you plan on whipping out your sewing machine and crafting your own slipcover (which would be totally awesome!), you may have to settle with a solid-colored one. But that doesn't mean your couch has to be boring. Go throw-pillow shopping to add extra color. Best part? You can change up your couch's look more easily (and more cheaply) by just switching out the pillows.

While this slipcover isn't for a couch, it's a pretty funky print for a chair. Perfect for livening up a boring kitchen table and chairs. And it's a great price - only $49.95!

The slipcovers by Bemz are definitely my favorite. They have over 150 chic colors and prints to choose from. The prices range from $169 for solid colors up to $455 for some prints. Downside is that they seem to only work for Ikea furniture. You select the slipcover "size" by choosing the Ikea model of couch or chair you're wanting to cover.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Multipurpose Furniture

I stumbled across this apartment on Home-Designing's site today. Check out the photos below.

Talk about efficiency. It's basically efficiency defined. Bonus: an added touch of oo-la-la sleekness. Everything's built-in and every square inch is maximized. The stairs have drawers that double as drawers. The workstation functions as a desk and shelf area without looking like a, well, desk. Basically the whole apartment has functional surfaces that allow its occupant to go basically furniture-free besides adding a bed, desk chair, and couch to the living space.

Is your small apartment designed like this one? Probably not. But you can get some of its efficiency by incorporating the following into your apartment:

Yes, futons. Not the nasty college dorm one that your sloppy friend spilled Easy Mac on. A chic one. Futons have a nice, geometric symmetry about them that lets them be sleek and stylish yet take up minimal room. Bonus usage: a bed. A futon-turned-bed can be used either as your main sleep spot or a crash option for your friend.
Coffee tables
And by coffee tables, I mean big coffee tables. My boyfriend uses his for anything and everything. Storage, a desk, kitchen table, and, like the piece's namesake, a good cup of Java. Stick one of these items in your living room, and you'll find an array of purposes for it. Guaranteed.

Ottoman cubes
These guys are cheap and cute and double up as storage boxes! My best friends in college used their ottoman cubes in their dorm room to hide items they didn't want male friends who stopped by to see: mainly, ahem, feminine products. Hopefully, your apartment has a bathroom for those necessities (please tell me you opted for a place with a toilet), but you can still stash some items in these cubes. Think books, magazines, or your favorite chocolate!