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Apartment Decorating Advice

by Kate Kemp

You open the door to your apartment. You like living here. It's clean... spacious...white walls....

....or at least this is what you keep telling yourself. Actually, you hate it. You have white walls because you can't afford paintings and it's spacious because you don't have any darn furniture. Everything in your apartment is a big, ugly, cluttered mess. You spend all your time away from home because your boring apartment is driving you insane.

Well, take a deep breath, and get ready to redecorate. Just take a minute to think about your home. When you open the front door of your apartment, what room do you see? The living room? A wall? Since the first thing you see is what you'll base your opinion of your apartment on, this is where you need to focus all of your decorating energies.

If you open the door, and the first thing you see is...a room:

Think about what you dislike the most... is it the:

a) Clutter? If you see a cluttered room, you'll feel cluttered. Sheran's article gives great advice (with pictures!) on how to get rid of, or at least hide, all of your junk.

b) Empty Space? You can find inexpensive end or coffee tables at Furniture in the Raw places which can be stained in the color you like... or covered with fabric that looks good in the room. Plants take up space, and they keep the air clean too! For some low maintenance plants, read Apartment Greenery for the Lazy Gardener.

You can also look through flea markets or garage sales for a some sort of conversation piece to draw attention away from what you don't like to see.

A bare wall:: Hang a painting there. Now, you're probably not going to be able to afford a Waterhouse original, but more than likely you'll be able to find a print of your favorite painting at an art shop in the mall or a gift shop. You should be able to find a poster for $12-$15.00.

Once you've found what you're looking for, you'll want to find an interesting frame. Custom framing is great... if you have a lot of money, but if you don't, you can find inexpensive frames at Target or MJdesigns. Poster sized frames are easy to find and simple ones are usually fairly cheap (depending on how elaborate you want them to be!) If you don't find anything that "speaks to you" and you don't mind rummaging, try looking at flea markets, antique stores or garage sales.

If your landlord forbids you from altering the walls in any way, shape or form... you should read Naked Walls - an article which discusses several non-damaging (yet effective) wall decorating techniques.

While you might not be able to give your entire apartment a makeover, you should have at least a few dollars to help you spruce up the first thing you notice in your apartment. Whatever it is that you see first should be organized, clean, and interesting to look at. You don't want to open the door to see a kitty litter box or a dirty desk.... you want to open the door to style.