by Kate Kemp
Anne didn't consider just how empty
her new apartment would look without
furniture. Sure, she had a bed and
a couple of couches... but where could
she put her trinkets? She'd budgeted
everything out - from rent, to car
payments, to grocery bills, to gas
money... but furniture? Where would
she find the money? There wasn't anything
left over for decorating.
Boxes. Boxes = places to put stuff.
After unpacking everything, she had
plenty of those. So out came all the
candles, sculptures, and figurines.
Sure it was a temporary solution,
but at least her apartment didn't
look so empty. Plus, she was getting
the most use out of the boxes before
throwing them away... a fact that
made Anne AKA "Ms. Environmentalist
Saving The World '99" very happy.
So I can tell you're thinking: "Boxes.
Yeay. How...brown." I know that
looking at bland boxes is not all
that aesthetically pleasing... even
if it is temporary. Anne's solution?
She called some friends over for a
box decorating party, and everyone
had a blast. If you have friends that
aren't afraid to be goofy, it really
is a fun solution.
Sound appealing? Then here's what
you should do. Invite your friends
over and tell them to bring as many
old magazines they can find. If no
one has any, check with libraries.
Sometimes they have magazine sales,
and most are usually under a dollar.
Also, check the book resale stores
in your area.
Now if you're REALLY broke, have
your friends also bring scissors or
exacto knives and rubber cement. Otherwise,
make sure that for every person you
invite, you have a cutting utensil
(check to see who's left handed),
a small bottle of rubber cement and
a box to decorate. You don't have
to have individual supplies for every
guest, it just makes it easier if
you invite over 3 people. This way,
no one has to wait for supplies, so
there's more time to get creative.
Now for the fun part. Get everyone
to completely cover the boxes with
magazine pictures. You'll be amazed
how different people choose to decorate.
Each box will reflect your friends'
Make sure when you are looking through
the magazines you stay open minded.
Don't restrict yourself to cutting
out fashion models (unless you want
to.) Look for patterns, colors, and
textures within pictures. Also, you
don't need to use scissors all the
time. You might want to rip out pictures
for a different look/texture.
If you want to get all sentimental,
you can have each friend create a
collage that represents a special
event between the two of you. Or,
you could keep things simple and go
with a color theme. Maybe one box
could be covered with all blue pictures,
one with all green and one all black
and white. It doesn't matter. Your
desire for creativity is the only
thing that could possibly limit your
Sound too complicated? It really
isn't. But if you need another option,
consider covering the boxes with material.
You can always find crazy prints and
textured materials on the bargain/scrap
tables at fabric stores.
If you've finished decorating the
larger boxes, and still have leftover
smaller ones, don't throw them away!
You can still use them. How? Well,
just think of how much more closet
space you would have if you stored
your out of season clothes in these
small boxes. Then, you can hide these
boxes inside of the larger, prettier
As I've discovered, boxes are great.
However, they aren't indestructible.
If they're not reinforced, they will
start to cave in. In order to try
to delay this inevitable misfortune,
crunch up the leftover magazine scraps/pages
or gather old newspapers and stuff
the box until there's no more room
to stuff. Then tape the box shut on
the bottom. That way, you have little
or no trash left over and a sturdier
surface to hold your junk.
Another way to get the collage boxes
to last longer is to cover the entire
surface with clear contact paper.
That way, condensation won't warp
the pictures, and they're less likely
to be accidentally ripped off of the
If you are still feeling arty after
the party, you can get that exacto
knife working and start making some
picture frames out of any boxes you
didn't use for make-shift tables.
Don't discard ripped boxes until you've
examined them first. Maybe only one
side of the box is ripped and the
rest are fine. You can decorate the
picture frames just like the boxes,
or you can glue dried flowers, plants,
or other materials on top of them
for a different look.
When you're done with it all, you
are still setting your things on boxes,
and storing things inside them, but
they're no longer unappealing to the
eye. So it's not exactly Martha Stewart,
but who cares? You will have gotten
the maximum use out of supplies rather
than just throwing them away, and
each completed box will be a constant
reminder of how much fun you and your
friends had together at the party.
You might even decide you like the
boxes better than real furniture.